Name: Joel Therrien
Program: Mathematics with Concentration in Statistics
Hometown: Kelowna, BC
Undergraduate Research enriches academic experience
Why UBCO? Coming to UBCO allowed me to save costs by living with my parents here in Kelowna while still attending a great university. As well, my older brother had graduated here so there was some familiarity.
How did you choose your program? After I took Statistcs 240, an applications-focused Stats course, I realized that I loved being able to apply the lessons learned in class to real-life data of my own choosing. I did an end of term project where I used provincial exam data from the Ministry of Education to compare the performance of students with socioeconomic indicators.
What has been the best part of your program or UBCO experience so far? Being able to sit and talk with different professors and get involved in research with them. There are also great opportunities in terms of the Undergraduate Research Program. I received an Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Award to study landscape composition and breeding birds. I developed a model that connected breeding bird populations across the United States to land-cover zones. Undergraduates at most universities don’t typically get to do this sort of self-directed research.
What is the coolest course you have taken or most interesting thing you have learned? Simpson's Paradox. I had never heard of this until I took Statistics 240. Simpson’s Paradox occurs when data appears to show a trend when you look at different groups independently, but when the groups are combined, the trend disappears or reverses. This can be applied to university admissions, medical treatments, hospital admittance records – virtually any set of data.
Would you recommend your program to others? Absolutely; no matter where your interests lie, statistics is applicable.
Are you involved in any campus activities outside of academics? I work as a Teaching Assistant for various Stat courses; it feels great to be able to help students and contribute back to the system that helped me learn.
What are your plans for the future? Work for a year, and then a master's degree.
Last reviewed 4/8/2015 1:37:40 PM