# Get to know graduate teaching assistant, Nkechi Nnadi

Nkechi Nnadi is a doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant here at Wayne State's Department of Mathematics. She specializes in topological data analysis (TDA). In addition to working with her advisor, Professor Isaksen, she also works with Professor Salch and the TDA Research Group, where they explore problems of TDA applied to fMRI. After completing her doctoral degree, she plans to become a math professor.

After completing her bachelor's degree in mathematics, Nkechi served on a one-year mandatory national youth service assignment and worked as a math teaching assistant at a community college in Abuja, Nigeria. She then studied for a master's n pure and applied mathematics before coming to Wayne State in the fall of 2019. So far it has been a thrilling and enlightening experience for her. She is still getting used to the chilly winters.

Nkechi thinks that math is a beautiful subject, although it may take some thought to discover that beauty. She used to do very poorly in math in elementary school. However, she eventually improved after a period of consistent after-school coaching from her dad. Then she had a math teacher in high school who taught circle geometry and probability computations so well that she decided to pursue mathematics in college. In her opinion, teachers and mentors are very valuable in helping one find their path. She is still learning to believe in herself and learning that persistence is key. She believes that if something is not working out at first, it helps to try it again with a different improved method.

Nkechi chose to attend Wayne State because the math graduate program suited her research and academic interests. She feels the math department at WSU provides the right balance of challenge and support, which encourages students to do high-quality work in an enabling environment. She values the opportunity that she has received to be a part of the WSU community. She is excited about learning more math and helping students appreciate it.