When Andreea Rada learned she had won the President’s Medal, she wasn’t surprised.
“I think it’s great, but I worked hard for it,” says the 30-year-old native of Romania. “I have two kids and I came from another country. And I was studying with 17- and 18-year-olds when I was 28. But I adapted.”
What did surprise Rada, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Mathematics degree is the difference between the mathematics program at Carleton and the one in her homeland.
“Science is very common in Eastern European countries,” Rada explains, “so I earned my first degree in mathematics in Romania. But there, it is purely theoretical, a high-level math, which doesn’t help you as an undergraduate student to get anywhere. Your brain is just full of all sorts of weird formulas. Here, when you graduate, you know how to apply it.”
As an immigrant who does not have a strong command of the English language, Rada decided to study statistics at Carleton.
“Math is a universal language,” she says. “And Carleton has a strong program in statistics, so I started here in 2005.”
Now, Rada works as a demographic officer with the Canada Border Services Agency and plans to pursue an honours degree in statistics.
“This is my first job ever. I got the job because I have this degree, so it was a very smart idea. I am doing stats, surveys, demographics and a lot of things that have to do with math. And I absolutely love it.”
As a mathematician, Rada expected to work with mathematicians in a purely science environment. Instead, she is working in a human resources environment, analyzing such information as how many people will be retiring.
“It is very interesting how this science is appreciated in a multicultural, social sciences environment. And this is an opportunity for me to learn communication skills.”