One of the most common questions I get about the GSM from prospective students is ‘What are the Professors like?’ My first response is that I don’t have a clue since I don’t go to class. (Just kidding guys, Stay In School Kids!) The real answer I actually give to those unable to escape my very long tirade, including those of you reading here, involve a certain Math Professor here at the GSM. Meet Professor Chih-Ling Tsai.
Professor Tsai teaches the much esteemed Statistics 203B, or Stats 2/Stats Too!/Stats Dos for short. This is an elective available to students during the winter quarter and is a continuation of building skills learned on statistical modelling. Professor Tsai himself is a very energetic old gentleman who emphasizes that he is not here to teach statistics and is instead here to teach you about life. If you think that that makes absolutely no sense, you are most certainly in the same boat as I was in the beginning of the quarter. But that’s before I got to know the guy. Professor Tsai enjoys practicing Tai Chi in the mornings and will often teach his students when they are stressed out. He’s always happy to meet with students in his office and to lend out his vast library of books across all sorts of intellectual genres. And during class times, there is always a story to be shared about how statistics can relate to life whether personally or professionally.
My own experience was an interesting one. First of all, I was out of the country over break and missed the first class. I also showed up to class 5 minutes late for the second one. Dr. Tsai did not approve. He enthusiastically explained that my slacking ways would not pay off in life and that I must put effort into every aspect of school and work. Fast forward to the first group homework and below is an actual picture of me:
Needless to say, I started off on the wrong foot. However, by going to class (on time) and seeing the Professor’s enthusiasm, I decided to put the effort in for the course. I went to office hours almost every week and rallied my teammates to collaborate on the homework assignments. I was able to manage my time and put my best foot forward. I ended up with an A- in the class which I had never thought I would achieve considering how awful I am at math. This just goes to show that passionate teachers inspire students to be passionate about the subject.
Blogpost by Li Meng (Class of 2016)