So I will be living in Michigan for the next few years…
by Willie Wong
This year I have had a little bit of sucess with my job search. At the end I sent in around 45 applications in total (though goodness for MathJobs, though a few applications were dealt with differently), from which I got 5 interviews which resulted in 2 offers, 1 rejection, and 2 “we cannot solve your two body problem so let’s not bother going through the motions”.
Starting mid August I will be affiliated with Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.
All in all, a pretty stressful 6 months (job season starts around mid September, and my decision was sent in mid March), and now a slightly less stressful few months of preparing an international move from Switzerland to the US.
I’ve noticed that it is somewhat fashionable nowadays for early career individuals who have found jobs to post their application material on their websites, to serve as a sample for graduate students and new PhDs who are on the market. I think it is a pretty good idea. This was my fourth time applying for jobs. (Last year I applied also, despite there still being time left on my contract here. In the current market that is something I would recommend.) And looking back on the previous research statements I have written, the ones I wrote for my first two times applying for jobs really weren’t that great: they are both too narrowly focussed and too technical. Of course, a chunk of this has to do with my maturing as a professional mathematician. But some blame must be put on the lack of “models” to which I can compare my writing. Similarly, until this year I think my approach to the teaching statement has been on the naive and flippant side, which again partly has to do with me not knowing any better. (And this is to say nothing of the excuse of a cover letter I wrote 6 years ago.)
So below I share my research and teaching statements from this year (no, you don’t get to see the awful stuff I’ve written in the years prior). If you find it in anyway helpful, don’t hesistate to let me know.
2014 Research Statement (please note that this was written around September/October of 2014; the field of research in which I work has seen already some very interesting developments since then, so don’t treat this in anyway as an up-to-date survey!)