Busy SHU student brings stats to SOPD

Joshua Steier, junior and vice president of the Data Science club, independently created a self-driving car model, is a teaching assistant for courses in calculus III and statistics, and obtained a grant to work under the South Orange Police Department (SOPD) investigativing crime sprees using data analysis.

The mathematics major still finds time to minor in physics and computer science, and uses the extra curriculars to enhance his degree and employability.

Joshua Steier, a junior, majors in mathematics and minors in physics and computer sciences. Photo courtesy of Joshua Steier.

“I’m a man of action, and through my actions and achievements I aim to contribute the most I can to the betterment of society and the community,” Steir said.

Joanna is one of these achievements and the name of Steier’s self-driving car model. He wanted to create something that was ‘cool’ and in the field of artificial intelligence.

Dr. Bert Wachsmuth, associate professor of mathematics and computer science, who teaches a course  titled Robotics and the Mind, inspired Steier to construct the model.

Steier was not in the class, but he was given a robotics kit and completed it on his own. Joanna was born in November. She is mobile on her own, but when a red light is detected, she comes to a halt. It could have been quicker for Joanna to come to life if creating her was Steier’s first concern. His role as a teaching assistant is Steier’s first priority.

Steier began working at the mathematics tutoring lab before he became a teaching assistant. At the lab, he was a tutor for calculus III and statistics.

Steier spent about a year at the working lab as a tutor and worked with students ranging from calculus I-III, and statistics for graduate students. Steier now works as a teaching assistant for professors in the department of mathematics and computer science, Dr. Kobi Abayomi, for statistics, and Dr. John Masterson for calculus III.

Steier takes a lot of inspiration from Dr. Jose Lopez, an associate professor of physics.“Joshua is a very enthusiastic scientific researcher with a very inquisitive and curious mind,” Lopez said.

Steier is also a member of the research team in the Laboratory of Electrophysics and Atmospheric Plasmas (LEAP), a research group investigating plasma science. “LEAP is really neat because it pushes into the frontiers of discovery, since plasma science is not a well known field,” according to Steier.

He is going to be one of the international scientific participants sharing his discoveries at the International Conference on Plasma Science in May 2017 in Atlantic City, N.J.

“I’m expecting big contributions to the world from him,” Lopez added.

Dr. Manfred Minimair is Steier’s main mentor. “Joshua is one of my top students,” Minimair said. “Sponsored by Independent College Fund of New Jersey, he has been working with me and other students on a research project analyzing data from the SOPD, which has been very successful and highly rated at the final presentation this month. I have been very impressed by his enthusiasm as a researcher and lecturer.”

Steier is also a part of the American Math Society and the Institute for Electrical Engineers. This summer, he obtained a prestigious internship with the United States Government. He will be working to apply what he has done with SOPD to a federal level.

“I firmly believe that as humans we must grow and evolve,” Steier said. “We must strive to be better than we were yesterday, so we can better society.”

Christina McDonald-Vitale can be reached at christina.mcdonaldvitale@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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