Xuexia (Helen) Wang—Alumni Stories

Xuexia (Helen) Wang 

PhD, Mathematical Sciences, 2008
Current job/field: Assistant Professor
Employer: University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Xuexia (Helen) Wang is one of a growing number of PhD graduates from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, having found her way to Houghton from Heze, China.

“I was interested in the work being done by Professor [Shuanglin] Zhang, who is an excellent scholar,” she said. “I was also attracted to the reputation of Michigan Tech and its location in a beautiful part of the country.”

Wang earned two PhDs—one from China in econometrics and one from Michigan Tech focusing on statistics. “I have always been confident in mathematics and like the area of statistics specifically,” she said. “I learned a great deal about my discipline through the training I received and the research I conducted.”

For her dissertation, Wang investigated ways to develop new statistical methods for detecting the susceptibility locus—a point in the gene that is susceptible to mutation—of the human genome for a disease. She wants to use this experience, and her education, “to serve on the faculty of a university where I can continue my work in statistical genetics and develop useful methods in searching for disease-related loci, and also to be a good teacher for my students.” She was a postdoctoral researcher in the biomedical division of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.

Wang describes herself as an optimistic person. She carries that optimism into the classroom and research lab, and also when comparing her home country with her adopted land. “I believe that the economy of US and China will be better and offer fruitful opportunities for both countries to collaborate on projects designed to improve the conditions of people worldwide,” she said.

When not in the classroom or lab, she enjoys swimming and playing table tennis. She also reflected on one of the new icons of American culture. “I once tried to sell a piano on craigslist. That website is full of shysters!”

Xuexia (Helen) Wang