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Featured CSCS Minor Alumni

Is a Complex Systems minor for you?  It very well may be. Do you want to stand out from other job applicants?  Do you want to learn tools that will help you analyze the complex problems and challenges you will be faced with in the work force.  Do you want to expand your skill set and offer new and creative solutions to technical issues?  Do you want to strengthen your hard skills and expand your creative problem solving abilities?  Read on to see how CSCS Minor alumni have benefitted from their participation with the Center for the Study of Complex Systems.

Daniel Kaiser, Complex Systems Minor Recipient, Class of 2019

I declared a Complex Systems minor as a sophomore to compliment my major in Mathematics. I wanted to supplement my pure methodological work with applications and interdisciplinarity. I enjoyed the material so much I switched my career plans to continue my study of complex systems.

The courses offered in Complex Systems challenged my previous perceptions and skill sets learned in a wide variety of areas, including ecology, dynamics, sociology, and philosophy of science. By far the most useful skills I learned in undergrad came from my work in CSCS. I learned how to effectively work with people from different backgrounds than I and use our differences as an advantage instead of a hindrance (collective intelligence!). I learned concepts and methodologies, such as network science and agent-based modeling, that have informed research on interdisciplinary projects I have been involved in as diverse as ecology, political science, mathematics, and American history. From basic scientific and computational skills to researching and writing original published research - taking the Complex Systems minor has radically improved my collegiate education.

I am now pursuing a Ph.D. in Complex Networks and Systems from Indiana University. My prior work at CSCS has prefaced my work nicely and allowed me to competently jump immediately into my research. The connections I made with the well-known Complex Systems faculty at UM has helped get me started working with people on projects I’m interested in and good at. I expect my background in CSCS will only continue to benefit my career.


Dillon Patel, Complex Systems Minor Recipient, Class of 2018

"The complex systems minor was a key supplement to my education at UofM. I am a recent graduate (2018) of Mechanical Engineering and was involved with the CFE and CSCS while on campus. 

The CSCS curriculum allowed me to explore topics outside of my core engineering coursework, work with graduate students from multiple disciplines, and has already had a direct effect on my career. The broad course offerings encouraged me to take classes from different departments and gave flexibility when scheduling, especially since the majority of my classes were on North Campus. The faculty were extremely knowledgeable in their field and engaging, especially Professor Grim (CSCS 501) and Page (PS391). After taking these courses, I feel I had unique perspective on how to apply modeling to real-world situations.

I am currently a Mechanical R&D engineer at HP working on 3D scanning and computer vision. I have been able to directly apply the learnings and conceptual frameworks from PS391 and CSCS501 to the design and application of the systems I work with. As I progress in my career, I feel my CSCS coursework will only become more applicable."


Irina Mondescu, Complex Systems Minor Recipient, Class of 2016

"I joined the Complex Systems minor program in my junior year of college. I took several courses taught under the Complex Systems department. Each class was unique and the professors who taught the classes brought different viewpoints to the material. The classes that I took in my minor really emphasized learning over exams/grades. The professors encouraged us to ask questions and explore the topics that were most interesting to us in those classes.

These great experiences extended to my time with the professors and staff. I was part of a research group under Patrick Grim for two years, and I also worked in the center’s office. In the research group, we explored social networks and beliefs through a model. The project combined skills from different classes (statistics, programming, english/writing).  As an office assistant, I would often help setup up seminars for visiting professors and would sit in on their presentations. These seminars as well as the opportunity to participate in a research group with the center allowed me to see how I could use my knowledge from my complex systems classes.

Beyond college, my time at the CSCS helped me stand out in interviews. I noticed that many companies were looking for people who could bring new perspectives and ideas to the team. My complex systems minor helped me stand out from students solely from business or finance backgrounds."