College to Career

Curious about what happens after graduating with your degree? You can spend time googling career options but we think it might be easier if you browse through what remarkable things our alumni are up to.

These recent graduates are #goals and have some advice to share with you! Learn about their transition from college to a career, what their daily work life looks like and how they set themselves apart from the competition.

Check out our feature of the week below or view all features.

Meet Joshua Garland, '09 

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Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellow, Santa Fe Institute & Founder, Complexity Analytics LLC
BS, Mathematics: Colorado Mesa University 
BS, Computer Science: Colorado Mesa University
MS, Applied Mathematics: CU-Boulder
PhD, Computer Science: CU-Boulder

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

My days are usually split between two jobs. During the day I am an Omidyar fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, and during the evenings and weekends I run my data analytics consulting firm. As an Omidyar fellow at SFI, I spend my time applying, developing (and often bending) mathematical theory to describe and understand the complex world around me. The nature of this fellowship provides me with complete academic freedom and as such the “day-to-day” is often quite diverse and I regularly switch between fields---making each work day exciting and new. Some of the fields I spend my time contributing to include paleoclimate science, cardiac electrophysiology, dominance hierarchies and collective animal behavior. At my consulting firm, Complexity Analytics LLC, I work with a diverse range of companies in multiple industrial sectors (e.g., quantitative finance and social media) providing them with state-of-the-art data and mathematical analysis tailored to the demands of their company.

How did your experience at CMU prepare you for your career?

The one-on-one engagement with faculty, as a CMU student allowed me to get a handle on the material in ways that would not have been possible in a larger university setting. In addition, the capstone research project I completed as part of the Mathematics major equipped me with key skills I use as a professional researcher every day.

What was your transition like from being a student to your current career position?

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The transition for me was pretty seamless. As an undergraduate at CMU, I built a fundamental knowledge base around Mathematics and Computer Science. I was then able to build upon that base as I embarked into research as a graduate student, and I continue to leverage that knowledge as a full time research fellow today.

What do you think set you apart from the other applicants for your current position?

Determination, passion and work ethic. When I first heard about the Omidyar fellowship I knew it was THE job for me after I graduated. As such, I did absolutely everything in my power to make that dream a reality. I knew that in this application process I would be competing against the top scholars from all over the world, and so I worked incredibly hard day and night to prepare myself and be ready for this opportunity. I am not the smartest person out there by any means but I am willing to work as many hours as it takes until a job is done or a problem is solved, and I believe it was that drive and work ethic that got me where I am.

What advice would you give to incoming college students?

Don’t rush and enjoy every minute of it. I see so many students rushing through undergrad and cutting as many corners as possible so they can get out in the real world and get a job.  Take the time you have in college to be curious about the world around you and learn broadly. You’ll have the next 60+ years of your life for a 9-5 job. 

 

 

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