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New Faculty Focus: Miaoyan Wang

In joining the Department of Statistics, she hopes to inspire students in learning about “numbers with context.”

by Katie Vaughn September 21, 2018

Miaoyan Wang

Title: Assistant Professor of Statistics

Hometown: Hangzhou, China

Educational/professional background:

Prior to UW-Madison, I held a postdoc position in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and I was also affiliated with Chan-Zuckerberg (CZ Facebook) Biohub. I spent 2016-2017 in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania as a Simons Math+X postdoc. I obtained my PhD in Statistics from the University of Chicago and BS in Mathematics (summa cum laude) from Fudan University, China.

How did you get into your field of research? 

I was always interested in mathematics back as a kid, and then I decided to pursue a career in statistics/data science because I wanted to study a field that is highly quantitative but has many applications to real-world problems.   

What attracted you to UW-Madison?

There are three things that attract me to UW-Madison: the faculty, the students and location. UW-Madison is known for excellent research in all areas, which is a great place for the interdisciplinary researchers. The students here are active, diverse and, for most part, they are a privilege to teach. Having been in both East and West coasts, I’d say Madison is my favorite place to live so far — it is a great mid-size city to work and raise a family. 

What was your first visit to campus like?

I visited the campus six years ago on St. Patrick’s Day. The temperature was low but the sun shined on the celebration parade. I was amazed by the beautiful scenes along the lakes. 

What’s one thing you hope students who take a class with you will come away with?

As an instructor in statistics, I believe my mission is not only to familiarize students with statistical theory, but more importantly, to foster a habit of statistical thinking. I would like students to come with critical minds and to be self-motivated. 

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties?

Statistics are not just numbers, they are numbers with context. 

Hobbies/other interests:

Hiking, outdoor activity. So far I’ve been to over 20 national parks, and I’m hoping this list will get longer in the next year or two.