Senior Ellie Caldwell decided to consider a major in mathematical statistics after the final project for her Statistical Models course allowed her to study topics she’s interested in, including sports and education.
“It was a cool opportunity to explore areas I was interested in and getting to create all these questions in my mind and answer them through stats,” she said.
From Hendersonville, N.C., Caldwell originally considered state schools, but was happy with her decision to come to Wake Forest after her first semester.
“I was so glad I ended up choosing a smaller school because a lot of my success in the classroom has come from having those relationships with my professors and being able to visit them in office hours and being a name and a person to them,” she said.
“Ellie is one of those students who just seems to absorb knowledge,” said Professor Nicole Dalzell. “She strives for excellence in her work, and consistently creates professional and extremely well-done assignments. She’s also just a happy person and brings that light and energy into class with her.”
In addition to her notable accomplishments within the math department, Caldwell is also a Poteat Scholar and a Spanish minor, having spent six weeks studying abroad in Argentina.
For her senior thesis project, which she has been working on under the guidance of Professor Ken Berenhaut, she studied networks within the NCAA Football conference from 2000, pulling on her interest in sports to drive her curiosity about the topic.
“Ellie is intelligent, creative, competent, motivated and responsible,” Berenhaut said. “She is perhaps one of the most well-rounded students that I have had the opportunity to work alongside. Her abilities, discipline and character should lead to great success in her future endeavors.”
While on campus, Caldwell has pursued her love for sports, working as president and treasurer of the club volleyball team and doing intramurals, noting that softball is one of her favorites.
“I spend a lot of time playing sports, and I really like just being outside,” she said.
She was also the student leader in charge of Arnold Palmer Day, a spring tradition during which students celebrate Palmer’s legacy.
After graduation, Caldwell will pursue a Masters in Science and Analytics at NC State. In the future, she may pursue education in some capacity.
“I would really like to do educational research … education is something which has really been important in my family, and so I’d love to do research to improve funding for public education systems,” Caldwell said, noting that three of her four grandparents were teachers and that both of her parents are math teachers.
After having lived on the Quad, in Davis, for the last three years, she said that she would miss being so central to everything around her.
“That’s really special about Wake Forest, the fact that you live on campus more than not. Honestly it makes Wake Forest feel more like home,” she said. “We’re also a friendly campus; you walk around and see people you know. I really appreciate that sense of community, and feeling like people have your back, they care about you.”