About Me

Hello! My name is Curtis. I am a graduate student at the University of Utah, seeking an Master’s in Statistics (MSTAT) and a Big Data Certificate. I graduated from Copper Hills High School in 2010, receiving a degree with emphasis in English and history. I was a member of the Debate team, and on the staff of Copper Hills’ literary magazine, Chasms. After high school, I took courses at Salt Lake Community College to fulfill my general education requirements, and graduated with an AS in General Studies in 2012. I immediately transferred to the University of Utah in the Spring 2012 semester, matriculating, studying economics. I also am a student of the University of Utah Honor’s College, pursuing an Honor’s Degree (H.B.S). I decided to double-major in the Fall semester of 2012, adding mathematics with an emphasis in statistics as a second major. I earned my Mathematics B.S. in Spring 2015, graduating magna cum laude, and earned my Economics H.B.S. in Summer 2015, graduating summa cum laude.

I was a math tutor at Salt Lake Community College for over two years until I was accepted for a University of Utah Hinckley Institute of Politics internship in Washington, DC for a semester. I worked an internship at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, one of the nation’s top federal lobbying firms, from January 7 to April 26 of 2013. In addition to obligatory office tasks, I viewed or attended congressional events (mostly congressional hearings) and wrote memos for lobbyists and their clients about those events. I worked with Excel documents, wrote and sent e-mails, and engaged in research both over an extended period of time and off-the-cuff. For eight hours a day, I performed the duties Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck pays their policy assistants to do. I then worked at the University of Utah as a math tutor in the Math Center and as a supplemental instruction leader, which involved me attending a class then preparing and running three one-hour group study sessions per week for the students enrolled in the class. From September 2014 to May 2015 I was an intern for Voices for Utah Children, then from May to July I was a summer research analyst. While at Voices for Utah Children, I analyzed U.S. Census data pertaining to the gender gap in earnings in Utah and writing policy papers presenting my results and policy recommendations. I first wrote the paper “Utah’s Gender Opportunity: An examination of the difference between the earnings of Utah men and women“, and the report grabbed the attention of local media outlets. For my Honor’s thesis, I followed up this report with an econometric analysis of the gender gap to identify what part could be described as discriminatory and why Utah’s wage gap is bigger than the nation’s. This paper, “Explaining Utah’s Gender Gap in Earnings; An econometric analysis of the differential in pay between men and women in the nation, the Intermountain region, and Utah,” was published by Voices for Utah Children. I now teach a basic statistics course at the University of Utah, which provides me a tuition waiver and a small yet livable income.

I feel that I have made a lot of accomplishments in my life. I have good grades in school, both in high school and college. On the ACT, I scored amongst the top ten percent in the state on the English portion. I have numerous debate recognitions and trophies, some including a certain level of prestige. I have been published in the award-winning high school literary magazine Chasms. I have been recognized by the National Federation of Music Clubs and the music organization, AIM. I graduated with emphasis (chords) in English and history. I received Salt Lake Community College’s Pepsi Scholarship, graduated from SLCC with an A.S. in General Studies among the top of my class. I was accepted into the Honor’s College at the University of Utah, and have made the Dean’s List every semester I was eligible (as in, took enough classes). I was awarded the University of Utah Department of Economics’ Rasmussen Scholarship in 2013, paying for my tuition and fees at the University of Utah for the 2013-14 academic year, then earned a tuition waiver from the Economics Department and a cash scholarship from the Mathematics Department for the 2014-2015 academic year. I was also competitive in the University of Utah Math Department’s Undergraduate Problem Solving Contest during the 2013-2014 academic year; I have written winning solutions for the Contest. The next year, I ran the contest and traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend MathFest, on behalf of the University of Utah.

I enjoy writing and reading. My favorite genre of fiction writing is science fiction, and I hope someday to be a published science fiction writer. However, I also enjoy reading and writing intellectual material (I read journals for fun; I picked that up from Debate). I enjoy studying politics, economics, history, and psychology and sociology, and have a deep desire to understand the world around me, then try to learn new things about the world and tell others what I learned through writing. I also try to get involved in politics. I love to play strategy games, of all varieties: video games, role-playing games, miniature wargames, and so on. I also enjoy making video games using GameMaker: Studio, and I am looking to improve my game design skills and perhaps earn a decent side income.

Some books I would recommend include 1984, by George Orwell; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, by Douglas Adams (including And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer, which I do consider a legitimate extension of The Hitchhiker’s Guide); the entire Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins; Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series; Dune, by Frank Herbert (I also enjoy the sequels to the novel); and I would also recommend to those who love sci-fi two wonderful story anthologies, The New Space Opera and The New Space Opera 2, edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan. I also purchase The Year’s Best Science Fiction, an anthology of science fiction, published annually and edited by Gardner Dozois. George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series (the book series upon which the HBO series Game of Thrones is based) is one of the best series I have ever read and I highly recommend it, even if you have seen the television show. My nonfiction recommendations include On Classical Economics and A Conflict of Visions, by Thomas Sowell; You are Not so Smart, by David McRaney; Irrationality, by Stuart Sutherland; Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith; Das Kapital, by Karl Marx; The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli; The Signal in the Noise, by Nate Silver; and Proofiness, by Charles Siefe. My musical tastes are diversified, but some current artists I prefer include Coldplay, Keane, Snow Patrol, and the Dave Matthews Band. I also love to listen to jazz. However, I feel that the “best” music is classical music. I have a strong affinity to piano music from the Romantic period in general, Rachmaninoff in particular.

I consider myself a creative individual, especially in areas such as creative writing. I love to think up and tell stories. I also feel that I am talented in a wide area of skills. Hopefully you will be impressed by my portfolio and find it an accurate reflection of me and my abilities.