Dr. Deniz Sezer

With consistent practice and engagement I believe one can always succeeds in the long run.

Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
University of Calgary

Deniz Sezer is an associate professor at the University of Calgary, Department of Mathematics and Statistics. She obtained her Ph.D in Operations Research at Cornell University. She spent three years at York University as a postdoctoral fellow prior to joining the University of Calgary. Her research is in probability theory and stochastic processes, in particular, Markov processes and applications.

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job?

Discovery

What are you researching and what excites you about it?

Probability models. They can be applied to every aspect of our lives. I work on diverse applications such as modeling financial markets, modeling wind, modeling social networks, population dynamics etc.

What types of professions can students graduating in your field enter?

Quantitative analysts for financial firms, banks, energy companies, government jobs, city planning, academia, in general any corporation which uses quantitative models and data to improve its operations.

Is your workplace male-dominated? If so, how do you negotiate being a woman in a male-dominated workplace and/or field?

Yes. Collaborating with men can be difficult at times. I feel that I face more resistance in getting my ideas accepted by my male colleagues. These issues sometimes arise when working with male students and postdoctoral fellows as well. I've been fortunate to find a few people who respect and understand my differences and my strengths. I look for opportunities to work with such people. I also look for opportunities to work with women as much as I can. Most of my graduate students have been women.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

I supervise women graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Some of these students come from the least privileged parts of the world. I find a lot of meaning to provide these students a path of growth in discovery and research. I also work with women undergraduate students and engage them in research.

What kinds of systemic support could institutions provide to help encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering?

Engage them in discovery and research at early stages of their lives.

What advice would you give to girls or young women who are interested in careers in science or engineering?

Learn about math and physics and never believe anyone who tells you that these are not for you. Math and physics can be intimidating at first but with practice one always gets better. Be aware that every individual follows a different path and rate of growth. Some gets results sooner than others. But what is important is long term learning. With consistent practice and engagement I believe one can always succeeds in the long run.

As a professional in science or engineering, who are your role models and mentors?

The women professors who taught at the university when I was an undergraduate student.