PhD Spotlight: Lauren Cappiello

By Lauren Cappiello |
Lauren Cappiello
We had the opportunity to chat with Lauren Cappiello, recent Ph.D. graduate in Applied Statistics about her time as a student at UCR. Lauren shared her insight, experience, and advice on grad student life. 
1. What did you get your degree in, and what are you doing now?
I am in Applied Statistics and have accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at California State University, Sacramento! Right now I'm prepping to teach Introductory Statistics and Calculus (both fully remote!).

[Image Description: Mr. Glascott, from The Goldbergs, claps his hands together in excitement and declares, "Let's get to learning!"]

Pictured: Your attitude as you prep for remote teaching.

2. What are the top 2-3 things you did while at UCR that helped you finish your degree (and get a position in your field, if you have)? What was most helpful to you as a student here?
The best thing I did for myself at UCR was to diversify my experience as much as possible. Having interesting work to do outside of research kept me engaged even on days when my research was stalled. If I had to pick 3 experiences, I'd say teaching my own courses, consulting at GradQuant, and getting involved with the departmental GSA. These were also all great experiences to have under my belt when I needed to speak to my ability to teach and my willingness to engage in meaningful university service work. 
3. What did you like best about your graduate work? What did you like least?
My favorite part of my graduate experience was working with UCR students! From undergrads, to grads in other programs, to my peers in the Statistics Department. My least favorite thing was studying for my written qualifying exam. I probably dedicated a lot more time and energy to it than I needed to, but I was so freaked out about it! It left me feeling super burned out.

[Image Description: A close up of a baby reading a small book, eyes darting back and forth as if the book is extremely exciting.]

Pictured: You, studying for your qualifying exams 

4. Is there anything you wish you had done, or regret doing/not doing, while you were a UCR graduate student?
I wish I'd gotten involved in things sooner. It took me a while to take the time to connect with other graduate students and my first two years were pretty rough as a result.
5. What are you most looking forward to in your new position/post-graduate life?
I'm so excited for my new position - this is my dream job! I wanted to work in a diverse, student-focused public school environment and I wanted to be close to Sacramento... I still can't believe this is all coming together! My husband and I adopted a dog shortly after moving here and it's been fun to get to know our neighbors/neighborhood while taking her out on runs. 

[Image Description: A dog has its front paws up on a gate set up across an open door. He is wagging his tail and hopping up and down in excitement as another dog walks down a hallway to come touch noses.]
Pictured: True friendship in the making, key for any successful move 
6. What advice do you have for other graduate students at UCR about finishing their degrees, going on the job market, or life in general?
Try new things and say "yes" to unexpected experiences. I didn't think I'd love teaching, but I applied to teach a course anyway and it ended up being one of the best things I've ever done for myself. And if you try something and you don't love it, there's usually a way to make the best of it.