Students talking to each other in front of posters

Kristen Lawler

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Kristen Lawler

Nutley, NJ

Academic School

Management, Computer Science and Math


New York

Kristen Lawler is from Nutley, New Jersey and graduated from Marist in 2017 with a major in applied mathematics and a minor in business.  She is currently a Research/Data Analyst at ITG in New York City.

What brought you to Marist originally?

I came to Marist because I was looking for a well-rounded liberal arts education. I have so many interests – at one point, I even considered becoming a pastry chef – but I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself. One of the things I liked about Marist was that it had many strong disciplines from which to choose. That and the beauty of campus and the Hudson River Valley convinced me!

What are some highlights of your Marist experience, both academics and extracurricular activities?

I originally came in as undeclared because I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career. I found the FOCUS program extremely helpful because I developed a strong understanding of my options, the registration process, etc. It also taught me to advocate for myself. One of my projects was to interview a professor, so I interviewed [Associate Professor of Mathematics] Matt Glomski, who I was taking Calculus I with, and I got to know him well.He ended up convincing me to major in applied mathematics and was my academic and research advisor. I also minored in business to gain a solid grounding in economics, finance, and human resources.I figured that a wider breadth of knowledge would be helpful to me down the road.

Undergraduate research was a big part of my Marist experience. During my sophomore year, a research project with Professor Glomski led to a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates grant at Sam Houston State University in Texas. The project was in mathematical ecology and was about analyzing the habitat of whooping cranes.Our goal was to create a model that considers both biotic and abiotic factors within a whooping crane's territory in the Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge, and predicts the net energy intake of a crane throughout the winter. Having such a model would help to determine if human intervention is warranted in order to ensure the survival of whooping cranes as a species.In fact, I’m really excited because the paper I wrote that summer was just accepted for publication in SIURO (SIAM Undergraduate Research).

As a student, some of my most memorable moments came from my involvement in the clubs and events on campus. During my time at Marist, I had the privilege of being the president of the mathematics honor society Pi Mu Epsilon, as well as the math club. When I started, I was surprised that the math club only had four students in it, but I did a lot of outreach at the activities fair and other venues. Serving as president of both Pi Mu Epsilon and the math club created synergies that allowed us to have more frequent and larger events.I know math can be intimidating, so we wanted to make the math club seem accessible and fun.We opened it up to non-math majors and planned plenty of social activities. I’m really proud that we ended up growing the math club’s membership to more than 85 active students.I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention my involvement in the Marist Singers as both an Alto I and as a choreographer.Being a part of this organization was fulfilling in so many ways: musically, socially, and mentally.

What’s your favorite Marist memory?

My undergraduate research experience is a wonderful memory, as is receiving the Award for Excellence in Mathematics at Baccalaureate.In terms of the most memorable, however, I would have to point to the experience of choreographing and performing at Marist’s annual Holocaust Remembrance event.It was such a somber, moving occasion, and I was honored to be involved.

Were there specific faculty members who really had an impact on you?

As a student, I worked as a research assistant for the Marist Bureau of Economic Research.The director, [Affiliate Assistant Professor of Economics] Christy Caridi, was extremely supportive of my major in applied mathematics and how it’s applicable to so many problems.She provided me with great advice.Both she and Professor Glomski were mentors to me in so many ways, and I would not be where I am today without them.In the School of Computer Science and Mathematics, I would also point to [Associate Professor of Mathematics] Peter Krog, who is a phenomenal teacher.Mathematics has a certain barrier to entry because people have a preconceived notion that it’s really difficult.I found that Professor Krog has a great way of explaining things and that he’s thorough and effective.[Professor of Mathematics] Joe Kirtland was also great.Even though I didn’t have classes with him, I must have knocked on his door four times a week to ask questions, and he was always so welcoming.

What do you do at your current job?

I’m a Research/Data Analyst at Investment Technology Group, Inc. (ITG), a brokerage and financial markets technology firm with hedge fund and asset management clientele. I’m in ITG’s analytics department, and we focus on transaction cost analysis.We use mathematical/statistical models to help portfolio managers and traders achieve a better return for their clients by minimizing costs in the transaction process.I often serve as an intermediary between the technology side and the client side.I help our clients understand our database and cost model, while also understanding client needs and conveying them to the technical team.ITG is a small enough company that I see the CEO walking around, but big enough that we have clients and offices globally.So far, I have had the opportunity to travel to clients meetings in Baltimore and Chicago, and I hope to continue doing that.

Professionally, where do you see yourself five to 10 years down the road?  Do you want to return to graduate school?

I feel like I have a unique niche in transaction cost analysis, and I really like my company. Eventually, I would like to go to graduate school part-time and eventually earn my doctorate.

Is there any advice you’d share with current Marist students?

For the math majors specifically, do every suggested exercise no matter how many Dr. Krog or Dr. Glomski assign, and READ THAT TEXTBOOK!  It might not be mandatory, but it is so worth it.  When it comes time to take the final exam, you will be very happy that you did.

For all Marist students, I’d advise them to make the best of their four years because it goes by in a flash. Appreciate all of the resources and opportunities you have at your disposal. Get involved, even if feels like you’re overextending yourself. You won’t regret it.