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Graduating PhD Student Spotlight: Su Chen

Graduating PhD Student Spotlight SCSu Chen

PhD in Statistics, The University of Texas at Austin (Summer 2020)
MS in Mathematics, The University of Texas at Austin
BS in Applied Math, Zhejiang University
Dissertation: "Bayesian Variable Selection and Hypothesis Testing"
Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Stephen Walker
Research Interests: Bayesian methods with applications in machine learning and data science

Describe your research.
The general topic of my research is Bayesian variable selection and hypothesis testing, with focus on theory and methodology.

What is the impact of your research?
One important theme of this work is to develop computationally efficient methodologies that also enjoy frequentist justification in the sense of strong convergence. In my opinion, the world of statistics should not be polarized as Bayesian and frequentist, and I am fascinated with work that can perhaps bridge the gap in between.

What research-related accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
The paper “Fast Bayesian variable selection for high dimensional linear models: Marginal solo spike and slab priors” I coauthored with my PhD advisor Prof. Stephen Walker was published in Electronic Journal of Statistics in 2019. I also gave a presentation at 2018 ISBA world meeting on this work.

What did you do before you entered the SDS PhD program?
I earned my B.S in Mathematics from Zhejiang University in China, and my M.S. in Mathematics with focus in Actuarial Science from UT-Austin. I am an Associate of Society of Actuaries (ASA) and had experiment working in an actuarial consulting firm before I stated in the SDS PhD program.

What brought you to SDS at UT Austin?
I only applied for one PhD program in statistics which is UT Austin. I always knew I would come back when I graduated with my M.S! I really enjoy the city of Austin and UT campus, it feels like my second hometown.

What is your favorite thing about SDS and/or UT-Austin?
The people, of course. I have met so many amazing people at UT, people who have been my teachers, mentors, role models, friends and extended family. They have inspired me to reach higher and dream bigger and helped me grow in various ways. I am so grateful to be part of the SDS community and a member of longhorn family.

What are you hoping to do after graduation?
Starting this fall I will join Rice university as a teaching faculty. I will be teaching project-based courses where students can solve real data problems brought in by industrial sponsors, research institutions and community organizations. I am looking forward to all the challenges and I will keep learning and growing in this new role.

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Read more about Su Chen at SDS:
SDS Graduate Students 

SDS Annual Report 2018-2019

SDS Annual Report 2017-2018


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