Carolina Mattsson, network science PhD candidate
Carolina Mattsson, network science PhD candidate

Carolina Mattsson, a Network Science PhD candidate, sits down with the College of Science Graduate Program staff to talk about what it’s like to work and study at Northeastern University.

Describe your research.
I study behavior using the breadcrumbs of data we leave behind on digital systems every day. For my dissertation, I’m looking at economic behavior using data from mobile money, a fascinating financial innovation pioneered in developing countries. I’m hoping to model this piece of the economy as a big network of transactions between people, exploring where money flows and where it doesn’t.

What is your favorite part about Northeastern?
Northeastern is tremendous in its support for interdisciplinary work like mine; I feel so lucky.

Why did you choose Northeastern?
Accepted Students Day 2014 was pi-day… and the Lazer Lab offered me pie! But in truth I didn’t even apply anywhere else. As a double major in Physics and International Relations I had been searching like mad for a graduate school that wouldn’t make me choose between them. A string of lucky emails led me to this new interdisciplinary program at Northeastern, and the pie on pi-day simply sealed the deal.

What is your favorite part of Boston?
Jamaica Pond, especially in the fall.

What are the perks of being a Northeastern graduate student?
Being in the very first cohort of my PhD program is awesome. It’s a little scary sometimes, but always awesome.

What advice would you give to an incoming graduate student?
Be protective of your time! It’s so easy to get excited and start 87 projects in your first year, but make sure they’re the 87 projects you truly want to pursue.

What are your plans after degree completion?
I’d love to come back to academia and teach Network Science… eventually. But first I want to spend a few years doing research with a company on expanding their mobile money operations.