Rafael Garcia Chavez, Computer Sciences, Math & Statistics

Rafael a the WI state capitol
Rafael Garcia Chavez in Madison at the Wisconsin state capitol

Year in school (and/or when you expect to graduate):
Junior – (May 2021)

Monterrey, Mexico

Which major came first? Or did you decide to pursue them both at the same time?
I initially wanted to do statistics and math, but I started getting involved in computer science through the statistics major requirements. I liked programming a lot and all the problem solving it involves so I decided to also major in CS.

Why are you pursuing degrees in these areas?
I really like the potential that computers and math have. I think that math, statistics, and CS go very well together. Particularly when combined, they have a lot of applications in artificial intelligence and data science. Statistics and math provide the models necessary for computers to “understand” and analyze things, and I just think that it is awesome when a computer is able to do certain types of decisions.

Do you have career plans? If so, how do you think these degrees will help you in the future?
Hopefully, one day I’ll become a data scientist and/or work in AI related projects. I’m particularly interested in AI’s potential in the medical and biological fields. I think these degrees are perfect for such projects and more. I like how AI can be applied in many different fields, from actuarial science to cybersecurity. I think that these degrees will help me apply mathematical and computational models to almost any problem.

Has it been difficult to get classes for both majors?
Surprisingly, I haven’t had much problems finding classes for these majors. I sometimes even find classes that are cross-listed for all 3 majors. The high number of overlap will allow me to finish on time if everything goes as planned. The only catch is that I have always had to take summer classes in order to finish on time.

Has there been anything surprising about your path through these two degrees? Have they worked together, or not, in unexpected ways?
They have worked together mostly as expected, but the more I get involved in the majors, I discover that they are connected in even more ways than I imagined, which I like a lot.