Have you ever repelled off of a summit? Can you barefoot waterski? These are just a few things that Megan Olson Hunt can do. She is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics teaching all levels of Statistics courses. She also acts as a consultant and data analyst for scientists (and many others) doing research. Check out this months’ Employee Spotlight for more fascinating facts about Megan Olson Hunt!
From Megan’s website, she graduated with her PhD in biostatistics from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to that, she earned two Bachelor’s degrees from Winona State University in Minnesota, spanning the areas of mathematics, secondary mathematics education, psychology and statistics. During undergrad, she had a great math summer research opportunity that took me to Rutgers and Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. For two years after undergrad, she taught math at high schools in New Zealand (Rotorua and Auckland for those of you in the know). She is originally from Eau Claire, WI and is glad to be back amongst the midwest lakes!
Position at UWGB: Assistant Professor of Mathematics (Statistics)
Summary of what you do: Teach all levels of statistics courses, both applied and theoretical; act as a consultant and data analyst for scientists (and many others) doing research; conduct theoretical research on missing data and high-dimensional data; serve the university in various ways, including through the Wellness Committee and the NAS Scholarship Committee
How long have you been employed: 1.5 years
Brief history of employment with UWGB: Started in the fall of 2014 after getting my PhD in April of that year
Three words that describe you: Conscientious, driven, goofy
Personal interests: Animals; rock climbing; photography; gardening; cooking and healthy, sustainable food; waterskiing; ecology/sustainability; snowboarding; being in/on/around water; hiking; camping
Random facts/interests: I have three dogs, three chickens and two pet rats. I look for any excuse to be around animals and daydream about being one of the lucky people who get to rescue and rehabilitate them. Animals bring out my silly side – I often sing to my pets and hold conversations with them (with me talking on their behalf, of course). Before moving to Green Bay, I volunteered for a retired racing greyhound rescue in Pittsburgh for five years and helped place hundreds of dogs into homes. Now I volunteer at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary a few times a month. I’m also on the Board of Directors for the New Leaf Market co-op that we’re trying to open in the Green Bay area.
– Are you messy or organized? Organized x 1000
– Best vacations you’ve been on? Entire north island of New Zealand, a train ride through Norway, Fiji and the northwest shore of Lake Superior (Duluth, Palisade Head, Shovel Point, Grand Marais)
– Do you have a favorite newspaper, blog? NPR and Al Jazeera for news; food blogs (particularly like My New Roots and The Raw Dessert Kitchen), Grammar Girl (blog)
– Do you have a favorite quote? Humans aren’t the only species on Earth, we just act like it.
– If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day? A person who can actually surf well
– If you could be anyone from any time period who would it be and why? Rory from Gilmore Girls, because who doesn’t want to live in Stars Hollow and go to Luke’s Diner?
– If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be? Get my workload under 12-14 hours/day (someday…)!
– If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? A salad with collards, kale, all sorts of veggies and fruit, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
– If you were an animal what would you be? Oh my gosh, how do I decide?! A bird – walk, swim or fly!
– If your house was burning down, what’s the one non-living thing you would save? My aunt’s artwork
– Least favorite food? Parsley and black licorice/anise
– Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I can barefoot waterski
– Tell us a few things most people don’t know about you: I played the violin and clarinet for 13 years (and would like to start again someday), I love running late at night, a few years ago I finally worked up the courage to go over jumps on my snowboard, I have a blog about small things people can do every day to help the environment, I’ve done a few sprint-length triathlons, I was on the Min-Aqua Bats waterski team and I’ve hiked 39 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail
– Top three life highlights? Climbing to the summit of Seneca Rocks in West Virginia, living and working in New Zealand (where I met my husband!), seeing through my goal of getting my PhD and becoming a professor
– What books are at your bedside? The Lady Tasting Tea (David Salsburg), The Canon (Natalie Angier), The Nature of Things (Will Curtis), A New Earth (Eckhart Tolle)
– What did you want to be when growing up? In first grade, I told my mom I wanted to be a school bus driver (I really liked my bus driver). Later, I wanted to be a violinist in an orchestra and photographer for National Geographic (except for having to go in caves). In undergrad, I knew I wanted to be a math professor.
– What is the first concert you attended? Pearl Jam
– What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery? A lot of land so it couldn’t be built on, and I’d turn it into a nature preserve and/or animal sanctuary
– What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years? The best way to solve a problem is to walk away from it for a while (the answer will come to you when you least expect it)
– What is your favorite movie and book? Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
– Which foods do you wish had zero calories? Espresso Oreo ice cream, donuts with maple frosting and cheese curds (of course)
– What phobias do you have? Claustrophobia
– What places have you lived? Eau Claire, WI (hometown); Winona, MN (undergrad); Manitowish Waters, WI and Piscataway, NJ each for a summer; Prague, Czech Republic for a couple of months; Rotorua, New Zealand; Auckland, New Zealand and Pittsburgh, PA
– What TV show/movie are you ashamed to admit you love? Blue Crush
– What was your favorite book, toy, or outfit as a child? A Pound Purry named Purrr
– What’s the one thing you can’t live without? Sleep (not just from a physiological standpoint – I really love sleep)
– What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Freshwater eel (it’s delicious)
– What’s your favorite thing to do in Green Bay? Go to the farmers’ markets, walk/bike/run on the Fox River Trail, sit down on the CityDeck and go to Luna and Kavarna
– Where do you see yourself in five years? Tenured!
– Where would you like to go on a dream vacation? Croatia; back to Norway; Maine; Savannah, GA; New Orleans; Vancouver and other south Pacific islands (Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu)