Kippes, Kayla

Tell us about your education and/or career path since graduating from UMW. What is your current role? How did your time at UMW prepare you for your career?

I am currently going to NC State University to obtain my Master of Statistics. I also work at Vericast as a Marketing Scientist where I set up statistical experiments to serve ads and explore/write code to improve our methods. My time at UMW prepared me for my career because it allowed me to explore what I was most interested in while also preparing me for after college. A lot of professors cared about where I was going next which was very helpful in the transition after graduation.

Tell us about your involvement in undergraduate research with math faculty. How did you initiate that experience?

My undergraduate research with Dr. Denhere was my favorite part throughout all of undergrad. It started with me coming to her and asking her to be my advisor on the research and presenting my idea to her. We spent all fall and spring semester meeting with each other, bouncing ideas off of each other and putting together my thesis (plugging it right here, check it out “Using a Distributive Approach to Model Insurance Loss”). The best part was that it was something that really interested me which made it that much more exciting.

What class or UMW experience did you have that has been surprisingly useful to you in your career path?

I think the overall critical thinking that you gain at UMW, specifically in the math department has been surprisingly useful in my career path. I feel that I’ve accelerated quicker and accomplished more in my job and also grad school because there were always instances in undergrad where I was challenged to think outside the box or look at something in a different light. I’ve applied that to what I do now, and it has been really helpful.

What was your favorite or most challenging math course?

The most challenging math course I took was Real Analysis I & II. However, I will say that it was the most exciting because it was so neat to prove almost every math/calculus concept you had learned up that point!

What non-math skill did you acquire at UMW that has been helpful in your life after UMW?

Communication is an important skill I learned at UMW that has helped me in my overall life. I learned to speak up for myself by communicating my thoughts and expressing my ideas but also learned how to listen to other’s in order to come up with a solution.

What advice do you have for a current or prospective student?

Advice I have for current or prospective students is don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid to try out that class or express that “crazy” idea that you’ve been holding onto. A quote that I heard recently is by Neale Donald Walsch and he said, ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.’ I love this because not only does it speak to me personally, but you really never know what you’re capable of if you don’t give it a chance.