Alumna: Mathematics ’16
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 Living 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.
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.”