Department of Statistics Unitmark
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Frank Kovacs

What is your name?
Frank Kovacs

What is your expected graduation year?
2019

What are your expected major(s)/minor(s)?
Major in Statistics and Machine Learning, Minor in Mathematics

Where are you from?
Roseland, NJ

What drew you to the Carnegie Mellon Statistics program?
The people. I was unsure of what I wanted in college, yet I was always impressed by the quality of teaching and helpfulness of not just the professors but also the entire departmental staff. Everyone is committed to seeing students achieve their goals and will move mountains for you to do so. The Statistics department also values student work -- allowing students to assist in projects. Their commitment to the students creates an environment extremely conducive to learning of all kinds -- whether it be through TAing, class or research.

What has been your favorite Statistics class or project so far?
Class: 36-650 Statistical Computing. The approach taken was unlike anything I would have expected. Computing was no longer how to write code -- it has become a class focused on good practices and problem-solving skills. In treating programming as a mindset, I have been pushed in new ways yet ultimately appreciate it. The material is directly applicable not only to problem solving -- but general software development practices.

Describe any research experiences or internships that you've had. What did you like best about them?
Over the summer I worked with Carl Skipper for the Department. While I was nervous about doing R development, he connected me with many resources in the department to help me get started and eventually master many advanced development techniques. This was a central theme for every project I had -- people were always encouraging me to learn what I could and always pointed me to the correct resources. My team empowered me to explore new avenues to solve the problem and push myself in the best way possible. I was ultimately able to see the fruits of my labor in the department's servers -- knowing that even an undergrad was able to do amazing work.

What are your current plans for after graduation?
Graduate school or software engineering.

Tell us about any CMU student clubs or organizations in which you are involved.
Freshman RA
Teaching Assistant for 36-200 Reasoning with Data with Professor Nugent
Delta Tau Delta Fraternity

What advice would you give to an incoming student or new Statistics major?
Embrace it! You are in one of the best programs in the world -- take advantage of all it has to offer. If you are lost, your professors genuinely want to get to know you, especially in Stats. It can be very easy to get lost in other things -- but know that the department has your best interests at heart and know what they are doing. If you express interest, they will reward you and open doors.

How do you like to spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
I am a sports junky at heart and manage about ten fantasy football teams. (#RestoreTheRoar) In general: sports, bad TV and cats.

Which movie or TV character best matches your Statistics/Data Science personality?
Blair Waldorf. (Gossip Girl) Takes no garbage and is extremely resourceful in solving problems.
XOXO, Frank

If you could be any statistical distribution, which one would you be and why?
Non-central F Distribution. Tried and true, but with a new (lambda) flair!