Zuzana Manhartova ’16 just finished four years at Haverford, but she’s not finished with school. Manhartova is headed to London, England, to pursue a master’s degree in computational statistics and machine learning at University College London (UCL).
“The main goal of machine learning is to create algorithms that can analyze data and discover patterns and create predictions. Computational statistics is a field that takes traditional statistics and translates it into algorithms,” she says.
UCL’s one-year program combines methods from both the fields of statistics and computer science. For Manhartova, this means that, in addition to the work she had to undertake for her majors in mathematics and economics, she also had to take classes in computer science to fulfill the admission requirement for her graduate school. So she spent part of her senior year supplementing and reinforcing the basic computer science knowledge that she initially acquired as a first-year.
“Nowadays, almost anyone working in the field of statistics is required to use computer science to some extent,” says Manhartova, who believes her extensive mathematics education will help her in a program in which the majority of other candidates graduated with a degree in computer science.
Manhartova’s graduate program search was aided greatly by spending her junior year abroad at the London School of Economics. During her time abroad she not only became enchanted by one of the world’s most vibrant capitals, but she also received an introduction to UCL through a water polo teammate who had graduated from its statistical sciences program.
Envisioning her future career as a data scientist or machine-learning engineer, Manhartova hopes to advance algorithms that currently have a wide spectrum of applications—fraud detection and face recognition among them. After finishing her master’s program, she’d like to work in the industry for a few years to decide whether to return to school for a Ph.D.