"Being a language, mathematics may be used not only to inform but also, among other things, to seduce." - Benoit Mandelbrot
I am currently working with the World Health Organization in the Blindness and Deafness Prevention, Disability and Rehabilitation Unit. I completed my Master of Public Policy and MSc in Applied Statistics at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. I graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. There I also majored in Spanish and minored in Portuguese.
I was born with muscular dystrophy and have been using a wheelchair full-time since age twelve. Since a young age, I have found practical ways to address daily physical and social obstacles and have learned to anticipate solutions in a world designed exclusively for the ambulatory. It is a world that, in spite of my physical limitations, compelled in me a high level of curiosity and problem-solving ability that translated into a fascination with mathematics. I gradually became fluent in the language of mathematics and came to value its logic, organization and ability to communicate universal phenomena. My very personal experience with health-related limitations and my academic training have become deeply connected and, together, have compelled me to pursue a career confronting the universal phenomenon of marginalization.
I came across the quote above in a book by Benoit Mandelbrot as a rising high school senior working on my first research project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The project involved fractals, self-similar structures that give order to chaotic systems, a mathematical concept that Mandelbrot pioneered. This quote has stuck with me ever since because it speaks to the profound ability mathematics has to not only describe our world but also to change it, when used correctly.
I am a student of logic and language, with all three of the languages I've studied (mathematics, Spanish, and Portuguese) allowing me to have an even broader impact than I would have without this academic background. Ultimately, I want to spend my career utilizing mathematics and language to create and advocate for policies that benefit marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities.
At Oxford, I served as the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) Disabled Students Officer, an elected part-time executive position that represents and advocates for disabled students to the university and colleges. As an undergraduate, I founded Campus Disability Advocates, a student organization seeking to educate the university about disability issues. I also was an opinion columnist for the school newspaper The Daily Beacon, ran on unique student government campaigns, and was a member of various administrative advisory councils. You can find out more about my extracurricular activities here.