In celebration of the 20th annual Student Research Week (March 27-31) at Texas A&M University, the College of Science is taking five with five different people involved in various aspects and stages of innovative research at Texas A&M and beyond. Today's segment features Raanju Sudararajan '17, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Statistics.

Sundararajan's research area is time series analysis, which he's using to model earthquake occurrence patterns. He works directly with Texas A&M statistician Mohsen Pourahmadi, who describes him as innately curious and hard-working.

"He has that willingness to kind of try things, even though some of those are way outside his comfort zone," Pourahmadi said.

To Sundarajan's surprise, one of those leaps of faith has turned out to be one of his greatest learning opportunities during his at Texas A&M: teaching.

"I really enjoy teaching, and I'm glad the department gave me the opportunity to teach undergraduate students," Sundarajan said. "I was very nervous initially, but lecturing undergraduates has turned out to be something very exciting, and I look forward to it every week."

Texas A&M Science Communications touched base last spring with Sundararajan to get his take on all things Texas A&M, research and graduate student life while filming for our 2016 "Learn From The Best" and "I Chose Texas A&M Science" video campaigns.

What are your current research interests?
"My primary area of interest is time series analysis, and I am working on methodologies for analyzing multivariate time series data. More specifically, I am working with non-stationary time series data.

"The world of time series is a very interesting part of statistics. It has lots of applications in areas like finance, economics and seismology, to name a few. One application I've been working on is in seismology, where I am trying to model earthquake occurrence patterns using time series analysis. I'm also trying to model changes in the financial market of the stock market using time series methods. It's a part of statistics with lots of applications."

What are some of the challenges of researching these areas and how do you overcome them?
"I feel that every step or stage of the research process is challenging. From identifying the correct problem to determining whether the problem is of significant importance to various fields, whether it has good applications, coming up with a computationally efficient method or algorithm to address the problem, providing numerical justifications, establishing theoretical results -- every step of the research process is challenging in its own way."

Why was statistics the right fit for you academically?
"I always liked mathematics, and I always wanted to make a career out of it. Statistics seemed to be a good choice, because it is essentially applied mathematics. I feel like I've made the right choice in my career."

Why did you choose to pursue your graduate studies at Texas A&M?
"In my view, the College of Science at Texas A&M is home to some of the best science departments in the United States. In my case, the Department of Statistics has been consistently ranked as one of the best graduate schools in statistics in the country. It is home to some prominent names in the field of statistics, and the fact that I would have the opportunity to talk to some of them was pretty exciting."

What have you enjoyed most about your research experience in the College of Science?
"When I first joined the program, I did not have a lot of ideas about what area I was going to specialize in. During my first year, I had the opportunity to talk to several professors about their areas of interest. More importantly, I had the opportunity to take several research-oriented courses where I was involved in course-related research projects. I feel that really helped me decide what interested me and what I wanted to research. I feel there are plenty of opportunities for students to explore the research avenues here."

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Now in its 20th year, Student Research Week is a friendly competition that highlights both undergraduate and graduate research at Texas A&M, one of the country's top research universities. The weeklong celebration fosters an environment for students, faculty and administrators to learn about student research at Texas A&M and also gives students an opportunity to win numerous awards and cash prizes. To learn more about the week's schedule and specific events, see this recent feature article or go to http://srw.tamu.edu/.

For more information on graduate programs and related research opportunities in the College of Science, go to http://www.science.tamu.edu/for-graduates.php.


Contact: Chris Jarvis, (979) 845-7246 or cjarvis@science.tamu.edu

Jarvis Chris

  • Raanju Sudararajan '17

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