Department of Mathematics Meet & Greet & Pi Day Celebration

When: Friday, 3/12/2021 @1:00—5:00 p.m.

Where: ZOOM (Online/Virtual event) and Kahoot!

Direct link to the videos: Pi Day Trivia  ; Meet & Greet (Sysco)

What is the Meet and Greet?: This event is for all Undergraduate Math Majors, including Mathematical Biology, Math Graduate students, Departmental Faculty and Staff. The purpose of this social is to create a pleasant and comfortable environment among faculty and students. This year the Meet and Greet will be held in conjunction with the Pi Day Celebration event, hosted by our UH SIAM and UH AMS organizations.

This Spring the Meet and Greet will be virtual/online

This Information session is meant to introduce students to Sysco's employment opportunities (full-time, part-time, internships) and its culture. The speakers will discuss the following:

  • Speaker Biographies:
    • Which steps were taken to acquire their current positions?
    • What was their process like and what was involved in their preparation to find a position?
    • Which opportunities did they take advantage of that proved invaluable during the application process.
    • Perspectives on “life beyond the degree”
  • Their roles at the company
  • What a typical day looks like
  • About Sysco (goals, objectives, who they serve and what they represent)
  • Job/Internship overviews- opportunities/descriptions
  • Q & A Session

SYSCO Speakers:

Majid Latif (Senior Data Scientist at Sysco): "I currently function as an internal consultant at Sysco leading the technical development efforts in advanced analytics problems. I serve as a conduit between business technology and multiple business units to develop cloud based solutions for enterprise scale advanced analytical models and integration with customer facing technologies.

Grad school: the running joke of my life is that I speak Math as my first language then English. I have a passion for using math as a medium to paint the world. During my graduates studies, I developed a wide computational skill set in math modeling, optimization, applied statistics, and machine learning while tackling challenging problems within the biomedical, B2C sales, and engineering problem spaces."

Kayla Bicol (Associate Data Scientist at Sysco): "I come from a family of fishermen, countryfolk, and more recently nurses; however, I am an applied mathematician. It’s hard to be the family’s only mathematician because everyone wants their tips calculated and their kids tutored in Calculus. I still do those things, but now I currently work as an associate data scientist at Sysco, where I work on the amazing, agile pricing team of data scientists which are a subset of the Enterprise Analytics Team.

Before my time at Sysco, I lived in academia. At the University of Houston, I studied numerical analysis and implemented methods for computational fluid problems. I like to describe my research as making pretty pictures and videos of movement. For five years, I had the privilege and honor of being a mathematics graduate teaching assistant (and a 1-semester Business Cal lecturer) to the most hard-working, diverse undergraduate population in the US. In addition to teaching and research, I was a student leader of the UH chapters of the Society for Applied and Industrial Mathematics and the Association for Women in Mathematics, the latter of which I co-founded with my peers in 2016. My wonderful almost-decade time at UH resulted in the completion of BS, MS, and PhD degrees, the first of my family to do so (especially in the US).

Outside of academia and the workplace, I’m a ballroom dancing newbie, a world-class chef (in my husband’s eyes and stomach), and still the proud dutiful daughter of Filipino immigrant parents. In my spare time, I am a cheerleader/volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association (Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter) The Longest Day committee, Filipinx in Tech, and the Association for Women in Mathematics.

My calling in life is and always will be to make a positive lasting impact on the communities I serve."


 *Be sure to have your resume ready to submit for this event. I will be collecting resumes until Monday, March 22nd. Email me at:


(1:00—3:00 p.m.) Pi Day Celebration event (Trivia using Zoom and Kahoot!) Event will start at 1:30PM after assigning teams. Click this link to register for the Pi Day Trivia.

(3:00 PM) Introduction & Speaker Biographies

(3:30 PM) SYSCO Information 

(4—5 PM) Open Q&A  




Pi Day Trivia


Meet and Greet (Sysco)



1.) Engagement. Students should get very comfortable with video on. No video or engagement is pretty similar to sabotaging an in person interview. For students with a growth opportunity in communicative skills, preparation is important.

2) Technical skills to get a data analyst/scientist job. Most foundational is data mining and visualization; data frames and visualizations: This is the very pragmatic side of application vs theoretical projects. Also, "R" vs "Python". Python is typically preferred.

3) Github. "This serves two purposes: #1. It is similar to an Art Student's portfolio for proof of skills. #2. Familiarization with the open source community. There are many open source tools, and to know how to find and use them is essential. Do a data science project about a topic you are interested in, which highlights 3 key skills- a) data preprocessing, b) model building, and c) visualization <> . For example, a couple of months ago, I hired a theoretical math (abstract algebra) PhD. His PhD topic had him build maybe less than 1000 lines of code for his dissertation. But he built an analysis pipeline and predictive model on NBA stats for fun, and posted it on GitHub. He wanted a job and got one. This shows curiosity and the ability to apply his analytical skills to real-world problems outside of his PhD training."


 See below for our Spring 2021 Scholarship recipients:


   Charles P. Benner Scholarship    Tammy Lam   
   Charles P. Benner Scholarship Caleb McClure
   Charles P. Benner Scholarship Daniel Palacios
   Blanche B. Grover Scholarship Dalton Kozak
   Blanche B. Grover Scholarship Dhiraj Patel
   Blanche B. Grover Scholarship Sergio Sanz



Please see below for our FY 2021 PME Inductees:


   Syed Ali Hamza Abidi    Kristen J. Bean    Ana Lidia Chavarria
   Jennifer Ann Csicsery-Ronay    Tabytha Donnelly    Ashley M. Guerrero
   Omar Ashraf Harb    Matthew Holcombe    Shelby Langford
   Verónica J. Ledezma Monsivais      Carolyn Yen Nguyen      Travis M. Null
   Sydney Nutter    Dwija Parikh    Jasmine Danielle Sanchez  
   Shelbi Marigail Sturges    Elinor Wilson


Fall 2020 Meet and Greet