Vicky Yang, '13
Wuhan, Hubei, China
BS, Mathematical Sciences & Physics
Why I Chose Math:
Vicky started off college as a physics major. In her freshman year, she took a few math classes focusing heavily on proofs that piqued her interest. That was when she realized she was a math major. “Math is the ‘purest science,’” she says. “If you know the language, you can write out an equation, and things make sense.”
Vicky is from Wuhan, Hubei, China. As a high school student, she spent much of her time doing origami. In fact, much of her love of math stems from her love of origami. “If you want to design something complex, you need to study the geometry of polygons,” she says.
For her math modeling class, her team had to apply math as they would in the real world: approach a problem, make assumptions, and simplify the problems. She finds that way of thinking highly “interesting.” Linear algebra was also enjoyable, because her professor proved every single theorem he taught. “He didn’t tell us; he guided us through the process of analysis,” she says.
The summer after her sophomore year, Vicky worked on a project on geothermal energy. Her work involved partial differential equations, computational math, and numerical approaches. The distance and material of the pipes are two factors that influence the design of the pipes and how they will transfer heat. Vicky’s goal was to study these factors and create the most efficient system for geothermal energy and allow pipes to both effectively release and absorb heat. To do this, she used a simplified 2-D model and solved heat equations.
Vicky takes part in the Social Dance Club, the Ballroom Dance Club, the Society of Martial Arts (for taekwondo), the Chinese Student Association, and the Society of Physics Students. In 2010, she participated in the William Lowell Putnam Competition. Vicky also volunteers as a research assistant in the social psychology lab on campus.
Vicky plans to attend graduate school to gain the experience necessary to apply the knowledge one has learned toward a job.