Back at ASU, she also participated in many of the outreach activities SoMSS promoted. Crow and a couple of her classmates created and ran an ASU Math Day workshop using catapults. Visiting high school students got to design and run experiments to understand the relationship between the catapult settings and the distance the projectiles traveled.

“I loved participating in all of the community engagement events that SoMSS hosted,” said Crow. “I got to work with students of all ages and help them see how awesome math can be, and it was always so fun.”

Crow is thankful for the many experiences in graduate school of presenting math to people who don’t understand math.

“The No. 1 selling point when I was applying to jobs was my ability to communicate difficult things to an audience that doesn't really know what I'm talking about,” said Crow.

“In grad school we got a lot of exposure to experts talking about their expert topic, and watching them made me really passionate about the accessibility of presenting math. Seeing seminars week after week of the different levels of people made me realize that you really need to focus on the audience. It helped me hone my skills at presenting, which I think is extremely important in industry.”

When asked to describe her “dream job,” Crow said she wanted a fast-paced job that allows her to work on different projects every day, and she wanted to help scientists in other disciplines understand how they can answer their questions through data.

Lauren Crow graduated this week with a PhD in statistics from the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. She and her wife recently moved to Philadelphia to be closer to family.

Crow now works at WCG ACI Clinical as a biostatistican for data-monitoring committees in clinical trials.

“I'm so thankful that I had that opportunity be part of the RTG program at ASU. It was the best decision, and it's gotten me my dream job. My first job is my dream job — I couldn't have done that without my PhD. It’s crazy to think about, it all happened like I wanted it to.”

We asked Crow to share more about her ASU experience.

Question: What is something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: I learned how to approach a problem when I have no idea what to do. I overcame the tendency to give up and just search for the answer, and now I can sit down and attempt to think through what I know and see how that can apply to the problem.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: My adviser, Dr. John Fricks, unknowingly convinced me to not give up when I was struggling with qualifying exams.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you would give to those still in school?

A: Find your team. I wouldn’t have gotten through without the help of my classmates, and I know I helped them along the way as well. Focus on collaboration way more than competition.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I enjoyed going for walks around campus, particularly down Palm Walk.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time for fun?  

A: I enjoy film photography and triathlons! I also like to go hiking with my cats.

Q: What do you think is most misunderstood about math by the general public?

A: I don’t think people realize that math is not as difficult as the world makes it out to be or how useful it can be. It is so helpful to use in everyday events.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would probably use it in my current research of understanding the causes behind motor-cargo transport breakdown in neurons, which occurs in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.

Rhonda Olson

Manager of Marketing and Communication, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences