In an early lesson during Advanced Statistics, Geroge Larivee will have each student pull out numbered paper slips from a massive plastic container. The class will then synthesize the selected values into a histogram, which should form a normal distribution, and thus demonstrate the unit's main concept. But, the little numbered slips have claimed a purpose beyond their original forms. Inscribed on their surfaces lay a variety of messages, jokes, farewells—and most strikingly, phone numbers—left by Ad Stats alumni.
While parsing through this pile, one slip in particular had a ten-digit number, dotted instead of dashed, which was marked down in precise penmanship.
Rhea Roy ’12 had originally written on the slip during her senior year, and had been surprised to see it responded to nearly a decade later. "It took a moment—I was like, what could this be? And then I remembered: I wrote that letter! And I am just surprised I have the same phone number," she said.
Roy first came to CA in 2008, but had been involved with the community prior to her official arrival. "My brother Arjun graduated in 2005, [and] having known some of the faculty a little bit [beforehand] just gave a sense of familiarity," she said. "I really wanted to be a part of the community."
Although it has been nearly a decade since she graduated, a number of moments from Roy's CA experience have stuck with her. One such moment was Roy's initial transition into the boarding community. "Even though I am not super far [away], it was just a big transition going from living with your parents, and then suddenly being responsible for all of your free time," she said. Roy also cited the curriculum and style of learning as two more aspects she found novel at CA.
CA’s love-based learning style has stuck with Roy. "Back then, love of learning meant 'Oh! I am going to take these interesting classes and broaden my perspective that way,'" she said. "Whereas now, I think 'Oh! A museum tour of how shoelaces are made? Sign me up!'" Roy credits her curious perspective to CA. "Being in an environment in my teenage years that really fostered that kind of thinking just kind of stuck with me," she said.
Another example of CA's influence on Roy can be seen in her professional development. "I really like taking Advanced Stats my senior year," she said. "And then, when I was in college, I started taking more and more stats courses." While her undergraduate program at Simmons College did not offer a statistics major, Roy minored in the subject, and ended up obtaining a master's degree in statistics at Boston University. "[Advanced Statistics] really put me on that path," she said.
Today, Roy works as a senior data analyst for Liberty Mutual. Liberty processes incredible amounts of data on a constant basis, and Roy handles the end-to-end aspects of that process. In addition to gathering, processing, and engineering data, Roy also keeps stakeholders and executive-level management updated with necessary information. "There's a good amount of interesting analytics problem solving on a day-to-day basis, which can keep me on my toes," she said.
Outside of her professional life, Roy moonlights as a florist. “For a lot of weddings that happen in the Boston area…I help do florals, things like bouquets [and] decorating cakes,” she said. Roy also helps her family and friends with smaller-scale events, such as bridal showers. Despite being allergic to the majority of flowers she works with, Roy has persevered. “I have never let allergies deter me,” she said. “[And] I think it helps me have a creative aspect to my life, instead of just sitting and coding at my desk all the time,” she said.
Roy actually grows many of the flowers she uses in her very own garden, and has taken care to grow several different types of pollinator plants. Roy also uses some of her flowers in recipes, such as blending her lilacs and roses into syrup. "It [is] fun to just go out there and collect your own flowers, instead of just buying them from a store," she said.
Roy’s advice to current CA students is as whimsical as it was wise. "If the skeleton in the biology room is still the same one as when I went there, [then] that is real," she said. Roy herself had originally believed the skeleton to be made of plastic, but was eventually informed by one of the science teachers of its true composition. She joked, "It is haunted!"