Student Profiles: 2017-2018 Student Co-Presidents

Zaynab Diallo (right) and Chenxi Zhou (left)

Zaynab Diallo 

Hello everyone,

My name is Zaynab Diallo, and I am from Dakar, Senegal. I am a second year Ph.D. student in Statistics, and this year I have the honor to serve as one of the co-Presidents for 2017-2018 academic year. Before coming to The Ohio State University, I lived in Iowa for 5 years and graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S in Mathematics and Statistics.

People often ask me why Statistics of all the majors in the world? Just last week, I requested my STAT 1350 students to write a statistics related question on a piece of paper and bring it to recitation as part of their midterm preparation. The goal was to get them to think about the material and figure out how they would formulate a question from a concept they do not understand. One student decided to ask me instead why I choose Statistics (my fault for not being specific enough on the nature of the questions). Even though I didn’t respond to the question for the interest of time, it made me laugh and also brought back memories.

I fell in love with Statistics after I took a course in Mathematical Statistics at Iowa State University during my junior year while I was hunting for math-related majors. I think at that particular point of time, I wanted something more tangible than Math. I also wanted a major that was less broad and that would lend me a good job. Statistics will get me the latter (eventually), but I was so wrong about the breadth.

As far as the research area is concerned, I am still at the exploration stage. Two courses that I really enjoyed were Applied Regression (STAT 6950) and Applied Bayesian Analysis (STAT 6570) because there was a final project involved in both of them, and they allowed me to apply what I was learning in theory.

One of the things I love the most about being in this program is being a TA and working in the tutor room. The interactions with the students keep me motivated. Even though recitations feel like a monologue sometimes, I am witnessing students’ growth every day. My hope is to teach one day, so being a TA in the department is a very good opportunity. One thing that I like less is grading. 🙁

Outside of the department, I like going to the movies and watching Senegalese dramas on YouTube. I also hope to start reading novels again and take Taekwondo classes by the end of the year.

I know I have been all over the place throughout this post, but I want to end with this:

This year I have taken one step out of my comfort zone to become one of the co-Presidents alongside Chenxi. I am always open to talk to any student on how to enhance their graduate school experience in the department. My office is Room 404 in the Math Building (MA) and my email is

Thank you all for your attention. 🙂


Chenxi Zhou

Hi everyone, my name is Chenxi Zhou, and I am a third year Ph.D. student in statistics. Originally I came from Zhengzhou, Henan Province in China. I came to the United States in 2011 for my undergraduate studies at OSU and majored in both mathematics and economics in the honors program.

In terms of research, I am broadly interested in statistical learning, high-dimensional statistics, and optimization in statistics. Currently, I am working and reading with Dr. Vincent Vu on some interesting problems. Also, I am attending the Statistical Learning and Data Mining Reading Group and serving as the student coordinator. If you are also in this reading group, with probability equal to 1, you will see me there and receive emails from me.

As a graduate student, one responsibility is teaching. I love teaching and communicating with other people. I am teaching two sections of STAT 4202 recitation this semester.

When I am not doing statistics, I am keen on swimming, jogging and muscle building, one corollary of which is that you can see me at RPAC very frequently. Besides that, I also enjoy trying food of different countries, and Columbus is such a big city that you can find all kinds of food you can think of. I especially love Chinese Szechuan food which is famous for being very spicy. I am also a big fan of Japanese food (ramen and sashimi in particular), Korean barbeque and Indian and Thai curry. If you want restaurant recommendations of these food, feel free to contact me!

Now my office is Cockins Hall 305E, at the opposite side of our computing lab. If you have any question, please do not hesitate to stop by my office or email me at Wish everyone a great semester!