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My personal symbol: a swirly line attached to a straight one with three dots above itAbout

An image of a woman with shoulder-length dark hair smiling in front of a stone wallHello! My name is MaryLena and I am a Canadian cellist-turned-mathematician originally from Calgary, Alberta. I am currently working on obtaining a Statistics Ph.D, with research taking place at the Medical Artificial Intelligence and Automation lab  at UT Southwestern (Division of Medical Physics). My dissertation itself consists of methodology that combines Machine Learning  (Q-learning) and classical statistics (linear and nonlinear Bayesian mixed models) to optimize response-adaptive radiotherapy plans. Previously I have had the pleasure of touring Italy, Germany, and France as a musician as well as performing as a soloist with the CDA Symphony as well as Mount Royal Conservatory's CYO while on route to my Bachelor's of Music (under Andres Diaz) and Performance Diploma (under Beth Root Sandvoss).

Mission: One of the major problems in the world, in my opinion, is a phenomenon called dichotomistic bias: the human tendency to simplify phenomena by categorizing and imposing dichotomies. While dichotomies aren't necessarily bad in themselves, our tendency to simplify by imposing them when they aren't useful often gets in the way of justice, honesty, and good scientific research. I am committed to dismantling the grip of dichotomistic bias through various means including scientific unification of theory, bridging in communication between theorists and applied scientists, and counteracting false dichotomies with balance. In the words of Francois Chollet, "I want to write code that feels like art, and make art that thinks like code".  You can read more about some of my work dismantling dichotomistic bias (including DEI organization and speaking) on my research page

Interests: In addition to the topics in my dissertation work, I enjoy thinking about philosophy and take heavy influence from Albert Camus, Michel Foucault, and the Tao Te Ching. I am also interested in physics, having taken elective classes on the topic (both undergraduate and graduate level); I've had the pleasure of contributing to some research work on the ATLAS project as well.  Another fun project I worked on for a class was a cosmology-based mean free path simulation which investigates the question of how far on average a person should be able to see without their line of sight intersecting with a star.

  Hobbies: I find great pleasure in outdoor and athletic activities: camping and hiking are my favorite vacation types, and I practice Judo as well. My approach to physical training and art (including martial arts) is very much related to my approach to science: I aim to follow Jigoro Kano's Principle of Maximum Efficiency  (and Miyamoto Musashi's Way of Strategy ) in all areas of my life (and honestly, it does wonders for preserving my sanity throughout the Ph.D...) I train at Eastside Dojo in Plano, TX as well as with Mustang Martial Arts, where I served as the Secretary for the academic year 2021-22! I occasionally compete in local tournaments as well. 

Here you can see some photos from hikes in my beautiful home country, Canada :)