This page is intended to give some information for past and prospective students regarding some common inquiries I receive by email. If you’re one of my current students, please come talk to me in class, office hours, or reach out on piazza/email!

Past Students

Hey! It’s always great to hear from old students to see how they’re doing; please reach out, I’d love to get your message!

The most common request I get from past students is regarding recommendation letters. There are usually two ways that I reply to such requests:

  1. Yes, absolutely! I’d love to write you a letter.
  2. I could write you a letter, but I’m not sure if it would be helpful.

If you receive (2), please don’t be offended. It’s nothing to do with you; instead, it’s about knowing a little more about letters of recommendation. So here’s some extra information similar to what I usually send in my response.

To give some context, admissions are usually looking for letters that show how you (i) could perform well at the next academic level and (ii) maybe research potential; (ii) more so for Ph.D. apps. If I’m giving you this reply, try to think of professors that you may have:

  • interacted a lot during their lectures (e.g., asking questions, trying to answer questions they asked);
  • attended their office hours regularly;
  • worked on projects outside the class;
  • worked as a TA for them;
  • etc.

If you can think of other people that fit any of these, they would be much better in showcasing (i) and (ii), compared to a letter from me saying you took my class and got this grade. So, if I suggest looking for someone else, I’m probably trying to help you strengthen your application; and although I can write you a letter, it will likely not be very helpful.

Regardless, please shoot me an email. This is just a heads-up that not all letters are equally good, and if I don’t think my letter will be helpful, I’ll tell you exactly that! Keep in mind that you should give letter writers some time to prepare things. That means you probably want to reach out to me at least one month before your earliest deadline. Also, I only submit confidential letters. You don’t need to worry that I’ll send a bad letter, as I’ll give you fair warning before doing that; but I do want to reserve the right to be honest, and confidential letters are often considered stronger anyway.

Prospective Students

I am NOT looking for students in the foreseable future!

Currently, I don’t have any funded research projects and do not intend to seek funding. So I cannot support students in research projects. However, if you’re a prospective Ph.D. applicant, you do not need to secure an advisor before applying to CSC at NC State, so I encourage you to submit an application. Please see this link for more information:

At NC State, TA assignments are decided through the department. I can only “recommend” someone to work in my courses, but they need to be in the pool of applicants already, which only includes Ph.D. students. If you’re a current M.Sc. student, your best bet is to apply to be a grader:

With all that being said, I do reply to nearly all1 emails I receive. So if you have some other questions I haven’t covered, e.g., you just want to chat or get advice on something, please shoot me an email! Just be advised that if your message is about funding, you will receive a response like the above.

  1. It might take me a couple of days to get to you, but I will reply. The only exception is if your email is clearly intended for multiple people (e.g., my email is in bcc); if that’s the case, I will not reply. ↩︎