Sivan Aldor-Noiman, GR’12, came to Wharton from a small statistics program in Israel, and found herself in a dynamic center of intellectual life.
“We have a weekly seminar, and they bring amazing lecturers from all over the world,” she said. “You find out what’s new in research, what’s interesting right now, what’s catching, and what you want to study.”
With more than 20 professors, the Statistics department itself produces a wide range of research. “It’s always growing, so there are very young with new ideas as well as very experienced professors who are the top in their fields,” she said.
In statistics there are two paths: theoretical and applied. Sivan works on applied problems — analyzing people’s behavior in call centers – predicting service times, how the agents behave, how the customers behave, how they interact with each other, and how to try to predict those kind behaviors
“It’s a real problem in the real world. If I solve it, I know someone else is interested in seeing this outside the academic world,” she said. “A very small amount of researchers actually work on this, so everything you discover is new.”
Her main advisor for the research is Prof. Larry Brown, one of the top statisticians in the world. “He’s amazingly knowledgeable. My problem is applied, and it’s not typical for him — his work is more theory-driven, but it’s interesting for him,” she said.
Her other advisor, Prof. Robert Stine, is more of an applied researcher. Like Sivan, he has more of an engineering perspective. “It’s a good balance among the three of us,” she said.
A Passion for Teaching
Named the Most Valuable Teaching Assistant for the MBA Program and the recipient of the Donald & Murray Award for Excellence in Teaching, it’s no surprise that spending time in front of the classroom was a highlight of the program for Sivan.
“Later in the program, you have to teach a class. As a lecturer, you have to make up an exam, make up a midterm – everything that a professor does,” she said. She worked as a teaching assistant, grading and holding office hours.
“I’ve loved teaching ever since I was young. I love seeing the students realize something and suddenly get it. That’s enough for me. Teaching for me is awesome — I get a real adrenaline rush from it.”
Posted: November 13, 2014