Outside of the Classroom: Community Service

Recently, several graduate students in the department have expressed interest in giving back to the community through volunteer work. Last Saturday, we kicked off the first department-wide service event at LifeCare Alliance.

LifeCare Alliance is an organization that serves older members of the Columbus community, and also operates the Meals-on-Wheels program in Columbus. Staff and volunteers at their distribution center pack and deliver meals to people’s homes, seven days a week. On Saturday, the theme of our work was apples: we were in the prep kitchen packing apples and applesauce into bags for individual households. By the end of the afternoon, everyone was a pro at counting to ten and stacking boxes. We also cleaned out delivery bags and prepared them for the next day’s deliveries.

We plan to continue to have regular opportunities for both students and faculty in our department to get involved, both with this organization and others. Check your email to learn about future events, and let the co-presidents know if you have ideas of new organizations we could reach out to and potentially work with in the future.

Student Profile: Vincent Geels

Hometown: Dayton, OH

Age: 28

Degree Program: MS in Statistics
Bachelors Degree: BA in History
Alma Mater: Grinnell College

The funny thing about my being in this program is that, if you had told me 7 years ago I would look forward to doing any kind of quantitative work in my future, I would have laughed in your face. I avoided mathematics like the plague as an undergraduate, and it wasn’t until several years after I earned my BA that I developed an interest in math, first through a free Coursera course on calculus, and from there through courses at a community college in Philadelphia and at Temple University. I now consider it a great privilege to be able to devote most of my waking hours to thinking and learning–very slowly, I’m talking slug’s pace here–about statistics.

Beyond my classes, I’m also a TA for STAT1350, which is super rewarding on a number of different levels. I get to try and convey core statistical ideas to undergraduate students in a meaningful way, and communicate with them on a level that hopefully gets them thinking about why these ideas are important, why we might be motivated to think about the kinds of questions raised in the study of statistics, and how the use of statistics helps shape our understanding of the world more than they may think.

Away from campus, I’m a big Philadelphia Flyers fan, because my main hobby is being disappointed and/or let down on a regular and consistent basis (Ha ha get it? It’s been a rough couple of years 😭). I also like biking around, making very bad electronic music, and hanging out with my cat, Ned. My girlfriend and I have had him for the past 6 years and I still have no clue whether or not he actually realizes I exist. Love that lil guy.