#ElonGrad 2022 spotlight: Amy Moore, applied mathematics and statistics

In this series, Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences is shining the spotlight on distinguished members of the Class of 2022 from a wide array of disciplines.

Honors Fellow and Lumen Scholar Amy Moore ’22 will graduate with degrees in applied mathematics and statistics with a biostatistics concentration. She minored in dance.

Moore is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Mu Epsilon math honor society, Mu Sigma Rho statistics honors society and Delta Chi Xi dance honors society. Additionally, she was awarded the Department of Mathematics and Statistics’ Janie Crumpton Evans Reece and E. Kemp Reece Scholarship in 2021-22 and the Sherri Sparrow King Scholarship in 2020-21. She was named to the President’s List each of her semesters at Elon.

She served as president of Elon DanceWorks, a retreat coordinator for Campus Catholic Ministry and a teaching assistant for Honors Fellows in Elon 101.

How did you choose your majors?

I came to Elon knowing that I wanted to do something STEM-related for my major and initially was pursuing degrees in math and chemistry. After two semesters of general chemistry, I didn’t see myself pursuing a career in it and switched my second major to statistics. I chose to pick up the biostatistics concentration after a summer research program at Ohio State University in 2020 introduced me to the world of mathematical biosciences. I realized that I wanted to do research in that field as my career and thus I wanted to build up my biological foundations through coursework at Elon. I also grew up dancing, so adding a minor in dance gave me the opportunity to continue that on the side.

Tell us about your multiple research experiences and outcomes.

I participated in three different undergraduate research experiences. My main project at Elon focused on confronting gerrymandering in North Carolina using mathematical techniques for automated methods to create political districts.

Related Articles

I also pursued two summer research programs, one at Ohio State University where I studied the use of data augmentation methods to improve training data for machine learning algorithms, and the other at Virginia Commonwealth University where I studied eradication strategies for eliminating Yaws (a neglected tropical disease caused by bacterial infection) using an ordinary differential equations model.

With these three projects, I have had the opportunity to present at multiple conferences including the Mathematical Association of America’s Southeastern Sectional, the Joint Mathematics Meeting, Epidemics 8 and the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research. Recently, at the Richmond Area Mathematical Sciences conference, I was recognized with the Best Presentation Award in the undergraduate student category along with my co-researchers, Presley Kimball (Creighton University, Class of 2023) and Jacob Levenson (Washington & Lee University, Class of 2022), for our summer research project at VCU.

How did close relationships with your professors influence or encourage you?

Over the past four years, I have grown close with my research mentor, Dr. Todd Lee, and my advisor, Dr. Crista Arangala. Both have offered me tons of advice and guidance about opportunities for summer programs and graduate school as well as coursework at Elon. They have been my biggest supporters to cheer me on and remind me that my hard work will always pay off.

What are your plans following graduation?

Next fall, I am moving to Atlanta to pursue my Ph.D. in biostatistics at Emory University.

As you reflect on your time at Elon, what’s been most valuable to you?

One of the most valuable parts of my time at Elon has been getting to form close relationships with my professors. I know at other larger universities students have minimal opportunity to get individualized feedback from their professors, but at Elon, every single professor I’ve had knows my name and I was able to form great connections that have helped me to be a more successful student overall.

I also really enjoyed the priority that Elon places on interdisciplinary studies. In the spring of my first year, I took a class called “Cosmopolitanism in Latin America.” For our final project, we had to create a multimedia project representing themes from the class. My group was composed of a cinema and TV arts major, a music production major, a dance science major and myself. We created a dance film with all original music to describe and interpret the theme of “Boundaries and Borders.”

This project was a particularly memorable one because, while it was a lot of work, it really showed me how a diverse group of individuals with different talents can work together to accomplish something that a group of four identical individuals never could. I think that primed me to view all group projects from then on from the perspective that every member has different strengths, and if we use those strengths to our advantage the whole group will accomplish more.

What advice would you give first-year students?

I think my biggest advice for first-year students would be to always ask the dumb questions. It never hurts to get a concept re-explained and you never know if someone else in your class was wondering the same thing. Also, on occasion, a “dumb question” prompts a really interesting discussion that leads to something bigger.