Personal attracted me and things that I learned encouraged

Personal
Statement

I am applying to the PhD program in Statistics at Warwick University
to pursue further studies, to research, and eventually to have a career in statistics.
My interest in statistics dates back to my undergraduate years when I realized
it is much closer to real life. One of my deepest fascinations is the applications of
statistics in a wide range of areas, to investigate and solve problems. Having
earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree, my career objective is to be an expert
in statistics through the PhD program and become a highly qualified professor
to help build a well-educated society, and qualified workforce for the future in one of the most demanding field in the
world. Thus, I have the intention of pursuing a doctorate degree at Warwick
University to achieve my long-term goal.

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My undergraduate years were the first steps for me
towards the synthesis of theory, statistical methods, and
applications through advanced levels of classes. Statistics always attracted me
and things that I learned encouraged me to learn more. The most important
factor regarding my impression in statistics was its interaction with the daily
life. Therefore, I realized how crucial it is to focus on such a field and obtain
the necessary credentials. Moreover, I was
honored to successfully complete the Bachelor’s program in three years. In
my senior year, I participated in an independent study to use the theoretical knowledge I gained in the classroom analyzing the real-life
data. Even though, I worked for one and a half
years after graduating, my interest in academia always existed.

Earning a government scholarship for graduate level education opened me
the door that I was waiting for. Therefore, I would be able to attend the
world’s top universities not only to benefit from their valued professors and
facilities and advance my career but also contribute their programs through my
research and ideas. University of Delaware’s Master of Science degree in
statistics was such a great opportunity for me to go beyond my previous
knowledge and experiences. My course work and thesis brought me closer to the advanced exploration and investigation of the
theory and applications of statistics and enlightened my path to the PhD
program.

I am confident that my background will equip and guide me to carry out
research in Warwick University. In addition to the course work, I had the
opportunity to practice advanced statistical software such as R, SAS, and JMP. I have a strong background regarding the
usage of R programming language. I did not only use it for my assignments in
most of the courses that I took, but also used in my Master’s Thesis. What I
like most about R is having abundant package options for specific methods. I
always enjoyed the self-learning part of R and I want to develop useful
packages both for analysis and visualization in future. On the other hand, I got into the usage of SAS using the UNIX system in which the
dataset and the software were provided by
the instructor. Using SAS via SQL was an important tool to handle and manage
databases.

More importantly, I have a solid research experience by
doing Master’s Thesis which allowed me to discover the ways to solve problems
independently. I worked on the spatial-temporal modeling of US college crime
data under the supervision of Dr. Xiaoke Zhang. Given the location and time
information of crimes occurring in US colleges, I want to predict the college crime
which has two components as violent and property crimes. First, I visualized
the state level crime in colleges using bubble graphs, which are obtained from
google maps. I have discovered and used numerous useful packages in R during
this thesis work such as ggplot2, and spTimer. Then, I run the spatial-temporal
model for prediction. Using and merging the public data releases of FBI,
National Center for Educational Statistics and Bureau of Labor Statistics
caused me to deal with large datasets where a cleaning procedure needed. In
addition, I discovered some of the limitations of the packages during the
productions of the Markov chains. My work and defense were found very
impressive and favorable by the committee members, Dr. Thomas Ilvento, Dr. Paul
Eggermont and my advisor. It was a new approach to analyze college crime
statistics and I plan to present and publish my work in a conference soon.

Another contribution of
graduate program for me was becoming a teaching assistant for more than a year.
I assisted an undergraduate level class,
Introduction to Statistical Analysis I and II. Helping professors on producing
and grading assignments and exams and providing guidance for students through
office hours helped me to develop my skills on evaluation and teaching. I took
every minute of my assistantship duties very seriously because of my long-term goal
to become a professor after finishing my PhD in Warwick University. I will be
positioned in Ankara Social Sciences University by my sponsor.

My ambition is to accomplish
research and follow an academic career in statistics and its applications. In
this regard, within the research areas of the statistics department, data
intensive research and scientific statistical modeling is the most suitable
category for me. My previous studies and research in statistical theory,
methodology and applications enables me to have enough background to be a part
of your program.

I am especially
interested in Dr. Firth’s current research about “Modelling the citation
life-histories and predicting trajectories of published research”. The project
captured my attention and I have an intention on taking a part of it. After a
brief investigation, I found out that the model is used to analyze the citation
exchange between journals in statistics, and other disciplines. Also, the
comparison of the model with other popular methods is given. To understand the
purpose of the research and the methods that are used, I read their recently
published papers. As an example of Bradley-Terry model, Stigler model was a
useful method to be identified through paired comparisons. The probability
model was not very complicated to understand the rough idea. Trying to explain
the probability between i and j using Bradley-Terry models and ranking the
individuals can be applied to many different cases as well.

I had a chance to watch
Dr. Firth’s talk regarding his research interests on YouTube. It was a very
beneficial video for me to figure out his recent work with his current and
previous students as well as his collaborators. In addition to the theoretical
framework of the ranking using the Bradley-Terry model, it is also important to
compare the performance of the model with other popular models such as PageRank
method. Indeed, I am happy with the results that statistics has the highest
export of influence for their recent research. On the other hand, two very
related fields, mathematics and statistics show a significant difference on
ranking. This indicates that statistics serves other disciplines and there is a
huge demand for statisticians these days. As a lifelong football lover, player
and a Galatasaray fan, I also influenced by his idea about encouraging young
generations to participate in statistics through such projects. I would love to
be one of them. Consequently, in my studies toward doctoral degree, I hope to
examine the competition models and the analysis of pair-comparison data apply models
for a new subject.

The facilities and the
opportunities at Warwick Statistics Department will enable me to become a
bright statistician. The young researchers’ meetings will be a very exciting
and beneficial for us to present and learn about other research students’ work.
In addition, an informal discussion environment could give us flexibility and
confidence to share our work and ideas and prepare us for future formal
conferences. On the other hand, the Academy for PhD Training in Statistics is
another program that I find helpful in my first year as well as Research
Students Conference. All of these meetings and discussions improve the network
among research students and enable us to give a talk about our work. I would
love to participate in all other regular department seminars and conferences as
well.

The comprehensive
research projects, highly qualified faculty, along with a competitive and
challenging scientific environment have prompted me to apply to the statistics PhD program at the Warwick University. This
program has everything I need to achieve a
thorough understanding of the fundamentals of statistics. I will work
hard to uphold and further the reputation of the university. I believe that the education and
research experience that I will gain as a PhD student at Warwick
University will give me the
expertise to function as an independent academic researcher. Considering
the experience that I gained from my relevant courses, projects, and Master’s Thesis, I believe I can be a beneficial part
of your PhD program.