Math major lands Homeland Security internship

Senior math major Kristi Yazvac of Boardman would like to work for a federal agency one day, and she made a good start by serving an internship this summer at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute.

Yazvac spent 10 weeks in Washington D.C., researching what is referred to as “big data,” a collection of information too large to analyze by hand. Under the mentorship of Homeland Security analysts, she spends her time looking at case studies involving qualitative and quantitative research and analyzing questions related to Homeland Security.

The Department of Homeland Security offers internships to junior and senior university students through the Homeland Security – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program, which gives students in the STEM fields opportunities to gain job experience. Yazvac said she applied for several projects and was chosen for her present position because of her math background and her ability to do quantitative research. “This is going to open up more doors than I can ever imagine,” she said of the internship. “What matters is the experience that you have.”

She is enrolled in a 4 + 1 program at YSU, meaning that she will graduate with her bachelor’s in applied math in spring 2015 and will complete her master’s in economics by spring 2016.

A University Scholar, she is also a STEM representative in Student Government Association, a member of the College in High School advisory board and president of the Ballroom Dance Club. She is a member of the honors societies Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key and Pi Mu Epsilon. Additionally, Yazvac, who plays violin and piano, is part of YSU’s symphonic band and chamber orchestra and is a tutor at the Center for Student Progress.

(Profile by Rebecca Brown)