Meet Vivak Patel, PhD’18

How was your experience in the PhD program in Statistics?

My time at the department was an important period of intellectual and professional growth that would not have happened for a person like me without two key features of the department: the support to freely pursue topics within and outside of statistics, while also fostering a culture of curiosity amongst the students. The combination of those two features allowed me to carve my own path, learn from my colleagues, and achieve the high standards required by the department.

Did you feel that the environment in the department was inclusive?

While all departments across the country need to work towards greater diversity and inclusion, my cohort had people from nearly every continent. And as the only American in my cohort, it was a unique opportunity to truly learn about each other and our collective histories.

Did you feel that you had enough support within the department from faculty and staff to assist in any needs you may have had?

Yes, without question (even when I was not deserving of it).

How were your job prospects after graduating, and what are you doing now?

I am currently an assistant professor of statistics at UW Madison.

Are there aspects of your degree program that have been particularly relevant or useful in your job hunt or current work?

While the training is certainly integral to my current position, the less obvious things were equally important: learning how to advise from observing the faculty, learning what it means to be a colleague, and learning the more social aspects of being faculty.

Is there anything else you would like to add for prospective students to know when applying to the program?

The PhD is a complicated experience. The attraction of the department is not just the great faculty or the incredible city of Chicago, it is also the unique culture within the department that will continue to pay dividends no matter what path you take.