1. Razvan, tell us a bit about you. Why did you choose to pursue a PhD in Applied Statistics?
I was good at math in high school, so I decided to study something related to numbers. After my undergrad, I did my Master’s in Statistics and Finance. Following that, I worked for a bit in the financial sector, and found that it wasn’t for me. Then I got a summer job in a research hospital, doing statistical analysis for a genetic study. I enjoyed this experience and liked the environment. Now I’m doing my PhD in Biostatistics.
2. How do you plan to use your studies to achieve your future career plans?
I would like to work in a research capacity, so a PhD is a good avenue to explore my research interests and to get the first papers published.
3. What do you hope to do after you graduate?
Maybe apply for a postdoc, if I find a professor that I’d like to work with, and whose interests I share.
4. How did the ORCA Student Grant help you achieve your academic goals?
Funding for my graduate program is not guaranteed for its full duration, so winning enough scholarships or grants is important to ensure that I have enough funding to support my studies.
5. What do you do for fun, when you are not studying?
I enjoy casual entertainment like music, movies and video games. I also like to read and write, and try to keep physically active by going to the gym or swimming.
6. In 2013 you volunteered to help build the Holy Cross Romanian Monastery. Can you share with us your experience there?
When the monks from the monastery decided to buy their own property in the countryside, they relied on contributions from within the Romanian community to help with the purchase, as well as on volunteer work to set up the new place. I was just one of the many members of the community who helped the monks in taking this step.
7. Given the fact that you are one of last year’s winners, how did you find the application process for the ORCA Student Grant?
It was straightforward, simple, and the major part, I found, was writing the essay. It forces you to think about how your heritage has influenced your path.
8. What would you recommend for those interested in applying this year?
If you feel you have a chance, don’t be afraid to apply. I found that this grant is not as competitive to obtain as some of the other academic scholarships I applied to.
9. Lately you have been increasingly involved with ORCA Youth. How do you feel being part of such an enthusiastic group?
For a long time I’ve sensed the need for a youth organization for the Romanian community in the GTA. So when I found out about ORCA Youth, it seemed to fit the picture perfectly. They have a number of fun events, where I got to meet other people my age, from the same background. It’s a flat organization, where members pitch in to help with organizing the events. They can also try out their own ideas by creating new events for the group. Myself, I like ORCA for being a casual group I can go out with and try new activities.
Interview by: Anca Mitu