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Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Applied Statistics: Abby Draeger

Evan Harris

From the moment I sat down with Abby Draeger, I noted her contagious passion for Wake Forest. From running Hit the Bricks, participating in research, completing a major and two minors and writing an honors thesis, it is safe to say that Draeger has left her mark on the Wake Forest community. 

In addition to completing her major in applied statistics, Draeger also completed a minor in computer science and mathematics. When about how she managed to complete such an ambitious workload, she smiled. 

“I didn’t even know she had a math minor until I saw that I almost completed it,” she said. 

We laughed about how it’s sometimes easier than you would think to add another minor, especially one that overlaps with major requirements. At Wake Forest, the applied statistics major requires a concentration to choose from. Draeger said it was a no-brainer when she chose computer science because she loves coding. 

It was not just this love of coding that made Draeger interested in applied statistics. Draeger described how her whole family “loves math,” especially her mom and sister. She had a great computer science teacher in high school, which added to her passion for the subject. In addition to this, the applied statistics major was only added about two years ago and focused more predominantly on applying statistics to the world. 

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Draeger takes particular interest in how she can apply her knowledge of statistics to real-life experiences. 

As a part of the major, Draeger elected to take a course titled the “Applied Statistics Capstone,” which allowed her to work with other applied statistics majors at Wake Forest. In this course, students collaborate in teams in the fall semester through making project proposals, learning how to statistically write, analyze and gain teamwork skills. They then present their findings at the end of the semester. Draeger took this research a step further, always thinking about the future, and decided to write her honors thesis about this research. 

She expressed her excitement that she could always come back to this research in the future because she wrote it out in a comprehensive essay. 

Draeger’s interest in research doesn’t stop here. She participates in the Spacial and Environment Statistics and Health Lab, where she studies cutting-edge data and its relation to the environment. She loves that she has the opportunity to study the “humanity side of it” because a lot of the time her major classes only focus on the numbers. With all of this extensive experience, Draeger feels prepared to enter the workforce this fall. After working there last summer, Draeger secured a job at Morgan Stanley in New York City as an Investment Analyst where she will be using coding and statistics skills in the hedge fund department. 

All of this would not have been possible, Draeger says, without Dr. Sarah Lotspiech. Professor of statistics at Wake Forest, Lotspiech taught Draeger for Probability, STA 310, and then became Draeger’s honor’s thesis advisor. 

“[She] is a huge reason I picked up Applied Statistics.” Draeger said. “She has been an extraordinary mentor and source of inspiration.” She provided Draeger with unwavering guidance and support throughout her time at Wake Forest. 

Aside from Draeger’s academic achievements. Draeger discussed her passion for the annual Hit the Bricks philanthropy event held on Wake Forest’s upper quad. This fundraising event raises money for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Center. Last year, Draeger was the executive director of the event. It was full circle for her to be able to participate in this event throughout her time at Wake Forest, and then run it in her senior year. 

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    Barbara JohnsonMay 9, 2024 at 1:24 pm

    Abby is my grand neice and is truly a bright, thoughtful and amazing young woman with many talents. A very special woman who gives hope for the next generation that all will be in good hands. Auntie Barb