Becky Spencer-Strong

Alumna: Mathematics ’16

Becky Spencer Strong

Becky Spencer-Strong ’16 struggled with math in high school. But at Towson University, that struggle led to success as her love of math translated to two prestigious internships and acceptance into a top master’s program computational analytics.

“The math department at Towson University is relatively small, so all professors go out of their way to help you,” explains Spencer-Strong. “All of the opportunities are there. You just need to say yes and go after them.”

Living in the residential learning community for STEM majors, Spencer-Strong enjoyed the strong focus on academics. “Everyone did their homework together, and there was even a classroom in the residence hall,” she says. “One of the main benefits was connecting more quickly with classmates.” Spencer-Strong parlayed her positive experiences into a resident assistant position, and in 2015 was named Resident Assistant of the Year for the Towsontowne Area and was recognized for creating and implementing a positive body image initiative.

All of the opportunities are there. You just need to say yes and go after them. ”

Becky Spencer-Strong

Her strength in math resulted in two key internships. At Carnegie Mellon University, she joined students from Princeton and Harvard in the Summer Undergraduate Applied Mathematics Institute to develop a model to simulate call option prices of the stock market. At the National Security Agency (NSA), she conducted reverse engineering and binary data analysis to achieve a detailed understanding of the information security functions of multiple commercial applications. Spencer-Strong declined a job offer from the NSA to pursue her master’s on the west coast.

“The University of San Francisco offers a one-year intensive program for 40 to 60 students in analytics (big data) with intensive on-the-job training and research projects at companies like Uber, Twitter and Google,” she describes. “Big data is a hot field, and Silicon Valley is a great work atmosphere. I plan to remain on the west coast for some time.”