Ray G. Abney

Graduate Student

Program: Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics
Anticipated Graduation: Spring 2023

What degree are you pursuing and why? I’m pursuing a PhD in Applied Mathematics because I want to do work in mathematical physics. Since I was in the ninth grade back in 2002, I knew I wanted to study physics in college. I started UNCC in 2006 once I finished high school, first majoring in physics; and I eventually realized that, if I wanted to do serious work in physics, I needed to have a doctorate degree in the subject. UNCC’s Department of Physics and Optical Science offers a PhD in optics, but not in general physics, which was what I wanted to get my PhD in. However, UNCC’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers a PhD in Applied Mathematics; and in pursuing a PhD in this particular program, I can study mathematical physics.
How would you describe the Math Department to someone considering a master's program? For a student considering an MS in Mathematics, this math department is a fine choice. There are a number of professors, many professors, who study many different subjects in mathematics. A student interested in pursuing an MS in Mathematics ought to be able to find a professor to work with. And the professors care about their students. The professors build up their students.
How valuable do you feel this degree will be to your career? This degree will be instrumental for me. I want to do work in mathematical physics. More specifically, I’m going to be doing work in inverse problems. While I can do a lot with the MS in Mathematics I have and the MS in Applied Physics I have, I didn’t solely focus on inverse problems in pursuing either one of these degrees. But as a PhD student pursuing a PhD in Applied Mathematics, this time I am focusing primarily on inverse problems and mathematical physics. And on top of all this, in general, a PhD is essential for anyone who wants to do serious research in academia.