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BSc Mathematics student Anca Curelea completed a summer placement at e-commerce giant Amazon. 

Turning theory into practice

Heading into her third and final year at the University of Reading, Anca returns feeling ‘motivated’ by the experience and excited to apply the additional skills she’s developed at Amazon into her studies.

“From networking and working with other professionals to gaining real work experience, my time at Amazon has been extremely beneficial. I am more motivated to learn and develop my skills on returning to Reading, as I’ve been able to see the practical use of them in the workplace.” 

Anca was able to get involved in a number of projects and work alongside a wide range of skilled colleagues over the summer. 

“One project I worked on focused on the improvement of one of the many metrics Amazon has. It involved collaborating with all types of professionals in different levels across the company, learning the ins and outs of the site I was based at and comparing our site with others from across the world. At the end, I was able to present this project to the general manager. I feel this definitely helped me develop and will continue to be useful throughout my career.”

This network of connections made at Amazon was valuable for Anca, as well as experiencing the working culture of a large business, which she notes as a real ‘highlight’ of the summer. 

“I loved working alongside people with the same goals and interests. We were a team of people from very different backgrounds - that had the same principles and core ideas - and were working together to deliver the best final product to our customers. Everyone I worked with was ready to help and solve any issues, and I got to combine working with data with working with people, which was exactly what I was searching for in terms of experience.”

For Anca, the summer placement suited her plans perfectly, as she was able to acquire the career experience she wanted without committing to a full year. 

Choosing Maths at Reading

Anca enjoyed maths at school and wanted somewhere where this passion could be explored further. After attending a Department of Mathematics and Statistics visit day at Reading, Anca notes that it ‘felt like the right place’ to continue further study. 

“We walked around campus, met academic staff and got a taste of what being part of the Department would be like. I really enjoyed everything, from the friendliness of the staff to the beautiful campus.

“I like that maths has a right and wrong. It’s very clear and logical, and it develops our minds to think in peculiar ways. I also chose maths because of the variety of work opportunities it lets me choose from after graduation.”

Positive learning experience

Reflecting on her overall experience, Anca is upbeat about life in the Department and the University of Reading as a place to study. 

“I’ve really appreciated the support received throughout my time here, such as applying for my placement. The fact that we get an academic tutor from the Department is really helpful as well, and the staff have been very friendly and supportive. 

“The teaching has been excellent, and the academic staff are always open and looking to answer any questions or concerns. I feel like I can ask anything and get the help I need, which really has made my experience that much better.

“I’ve had a very positive experience here over the years and would recommend it to anyone looking to study maths at university level. From the staff to the campus, you can have a great experience here and learn everything you need to prepare for your future career.”

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Athena SWAN Silver Award