Talking BIG Jobs: BIG Jobs Live Interview Series

A live interview series with mathematicians working in business, industry, and government.

Explore careers in business, industry, government, entrepreneurship, and non-profits (BIG) in this web series.


Talking "BIG" Jobs with Dr. Stephanie Fitchett, Data Scientist at Transamerica

This interview will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 3pm EST, 1pm MST.

Register to participate in this conversation.

Join us for a conversation with Dr. Stephanie Fitchett, data scientist at Transamerica, an insurance and financial services company based in San Francisco.

Webinar registrants will learn how Dr. Fitchett's background as a mathematician has informed her career and her current work as a data scientist at Transamerica.

Steph will be interviewed by Katie Waddle, one of our 2020 hosts.

This is the second of a new live web interview series co-produced by SIAM and the AMS. The webinars are for graduate students interested in learning about career possibilities in BIG settings (business, entrepreneurship, industry, government, nonprofits, etc.). This is a great opportunity for those who like to connect with others, communicate, and ask great questions about careers.

Our guest

Stephanie FitchettStephanie Fitchett is a mathematician and statistician who has worked in academia, government, and industry.  An undergraduate abstract algebra class and an encouraging mentor led Steph to graduate school, and she spent her early career as a faculty member in the mathematical sciences, largely in an interdisciplinary honors college.  She studied statistics during a sabbatical and eventually left academia for a position as a statistician at Sandia National Laboratories, where she consulted on a wide variety of projects across the Labs.  More recently, she has worked as a statistician at a small environmental consulting firm, and currently as a data scientist at Transamerica, an insurance company.  Steph earned degrees (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.) in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska and an M.S. in Statistics from Colorado State University. 



Will you be at Joint Mathematics Meetings 2020 and want to attend the interview live? Please join us! There are a limited number of first-come-first-served seats available for those wishing to attend the interview in person. The interview space will be closed once the seats are all taken, or when the interview starts, whichever happens first. No one will be able to enter after that time. If you’d like to watch the interview in person, please arrive by 12:45 p.m. local time. The interview will take place in the Exhibit Presentations space of the JMM exhibit hall across from booths 723, 725, 727, and 729.


Our hosts

Sarah MinucciAt the 2016 SIAM Annual Meeting in Boston, Sarah Minucci listened to Susan Sohler Everingham talk about her career as a mathematician at RAND, Inc. This experience changed the way Sarah thought about math and the opportunities possible for her. Later she contacted Professor Everingham, who encouraged Sarah to conduct more "informational interviews" whenever she met people whose jobs sounded interesting or heard them talk at conferences. Through broadcasting these interviews, Sarah wants participating students to know that they do not need professional training to seek out their own opportunities to learn about industry, government, and other career paths. Her hope is that these interviews provide exposure to unfamiliar careers, and that she can encourage students to think in new ways and to pursue their passions after graduation.

Sarah is a fourth-year PhD student from Nashville, Tennessee, studying applied math at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Her research is in mathematical biology, focusing on mathematical modeling of the immune response to lung damage due to mechanical ventilation. When she's not at school, she can be found running, baking, or trying out a new coffee shop.


Katie WaddellCaitlin (Katie) Waddle went to The University of Chicago, where she received a strong mathematical background. She then earned a Master's degree in education, and became a high school teacher in San Francisco. Caitlin has always been interested in the narratives that people have about themselves - how other people view themselves and their worlds. After eight years of teaching public high school Caitlin decided to consider other careers. She is now in the Master's program in mathematics at San Francisco State University and is currently applying to PhD programs for next fall. She likes the idea of working in a team of people on a more concrete project and is interested to discover what job possibilities exist for someone with a strong background in math.

Katie Waddle is in her second year as a Master's student in mathematics at San Francisco State University. She returned to studying mathematics after 8 years teaching high school math at a small public high school for immigrant students in San Francisco. She holds an undergraduate degree in math from The University of Chicago. Originally from Minnesota, Katie loves graph theory, teaching students who don't love math yet, and long distance running.

This interview was produced by AMS and SIAM as part of the Tondeur Initiatives. These career-focused collaborative activities by AMS, MAA and SIAM are made possible by Claire-Lise and Philippe Tondeur and supported by the BIG Math Network, which has additional resources at

Previous Interviews

Dr. Sumanth SwaminathanSumanth Swaminathan Co-founder and CEO, Iterex Therapeutics Dr. Swaminathan's initial foray into industrial mathematics was an appointment as technology consultant at W.L. Gore & associates (2012). Here, he led a team of interdisciplinary PhDs in leveraging predictive models to optimize technology operation and development. Following this, he completed a fellowship at the Data Incubator NYC and moved onto a role as Chief Data Scientist at Revon Systems Inc. This role focused on the development, testing, and deployment of triage prediction models for identifying at-home flare-ups of chronic lung and heart disease, which led to Dr. Swaminathan's current role as cofounder and CEO of Iterex Therapeutics. Here, Sumanth is responsible for innovating company products and developing/executing company business strategy. Dr. Swaminathan earned his BSE in chemical engineering from University of Delaware (2005) and PhD in applied mathematics from Northwestern University (2009).

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