Student Story

From Boston to New York: Simmons 3+2 Engineering Student Accepted to Columbia University

A composite image of the Boston skyline above the New York City skyline
Boston skyline and Manhattan skyline, photographs by King of Hearts and Rhododentrites. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Creative Commons.

“Walking around Boston and seeing all the opportunities available to me sealed the deal [to attend Simmons]. My dad came with me, and we got such a great vibe from the city and the Simmons community.”

“When I found out about the 3+2 Engineering program, I realized that I could get different educational experiences at two different schools, as well as unique research opportunities,” says Financial Mathematics major Sophia Moore ’24. “With this dual degree program, you can mix and match your specialty and training. It also allows you to attend a small women’s-centered school and a large research university.”

Moore is one of the first students to complete the Simmons portion of this accelerated program, in which students spend three years pursuing a STEM-related major at Simmons. Thereafter, 3+2 students transition to one of the University’s partners — Columbia University, Washington University in St. Louis, or the Wentworth Institute of Technology — to obtain a second bachelor’s degree in Engineering.

Recently, Moore was accepted into Columbia University to study engineering, specifically the Operations Research track. For Professor of Chemistry and Physics Jason White, who serves as Director of the 3+2 Engineering program at Simmons, “This news represents a significant milestone in this program. . . . and we’re excited to promote and provide these excellent opportunities for all of our current and future students.”

Merging Finance and Engineering

“I love the field of finance, and my course of study allows me to apply concepts from math and engineering to a variety of industries,” explains Moore. “My Simmons major is a combination of mathematics, finance, and statistics. . . . It’s really cool and has so many real-world applications beyond college.”

Although most people associate engineering with building tangible objects, the essence of engineering, according to Moore, “is not really anything tangible; it is a thought process in which you apply problem-solving. . . . Moreover, many equations and concepts that were originally used in physics and math were later adapted by the finance realm (mainly for pricing stocks and such), and other engineering fields have undergone similar changes. Math provides engineers with the building blocks to solve complex problems in any field.”

This marriage of finance and engineering offers Moore abundant career opportunities and a stimulating atmosphere. “I am someone who needs to be constantly challenged, and in the financial industry there is always something different going on,” she explains.

“If you have both financial and management skills, you will be well-prepared for a wide variety of careers,” Moore continues. “You can be any of the C-suite executives because you have attained all of that knowledge. Alternatively, you can apply your expertise to software firms like Google or Meta/Facebook. Somewhere down the line, individuals working in operations research often obtain a law degree to pursue financial law. . . . The world is yours; you just have to choose a path that you enjoy the most, and that’s what I am doing.”

A Tale of Two Cities

During Shark Week 2021, Moore toured the Simmons campus with her family. “Walking around Boston and seeing all the opportunities available to me sealed the deal [to attend Simmons],” she recalls. “My dad came with me, and we got such a great vibe from the city and the Simmons community.”

For the past two years, Moore interned at HarbourVest Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Boston. “I am on the portfolio analytics team, so I look at all the communications between our team and our partnerships. . . . My team is awesome, and they have given me a great introduction to the world of finance, for which I am truly grateful,” she says. Moreover, in summer 2023, Moore served as a quantitative trading intern for a trading company in Chicago. Now, she’s excited about exploring New York City.

“Boston will always have a special place in my heart, but having an opportunity to reside in New York is amazing, and there are so many opportunities for finance-related work and internships within my areas of expertise.” Moore also looks forward to the metropolitan arts scene. “I have always loved going to the ballet; it is such a beautiful art form.”

When Moore received her acceptance from Columbia, she was on a video call with her parents, who are based in New Mexico. “When I opened the email, I was so excited, especially since I love the Northeast and Columbia was my first choice,” recalls Moore. “My parents are so proud of me. And they are thrilled for themselves, too, as they are looking forward to touring NYC!”

Meaningful Mentorship

As Moore prepares to begin her next journey within higher education, she reflects on the nurturing community at Simmons. “My experience as a Simmons student was awesome. Our faculty are very supportive. They are so invested in this new 3+2 program and they want to see us succeed. Simmons STEM professors want to launch more women in engineering and help diversify the field,” says Moore.

Within the Department of Computer, Data, and Mathematical Sciences, Moore enjoyed influential encounters with Simmons professors that expanded her intellectual horizons and professional aspirations.

“In my economics classes, Professor Niloufer Sohrabji has been amazing,” says Moore. “In fall 2023, she taught my capstone course, Econometrics [ECON 393]. This course was very difficult, and it challenged me to confront problems in a new way.”

Moore is especially grateful to Professor Sohrabji for refining her writing skills. “A unique aspect of her classes is that we write papers, and all of our exams are written. Although writing is not my forte, Professor Sohrabji’s teaching style effectively sharpened these skills.”

For Moore, those challenges presented opportunities for intellectual and interpersonal growth. “Even when I encountered difficulties along the way, Simmons faculty members were always there for me,” reflects Moore. “They mentored me in such meaningful ways, which will serve me well as I embark upon my next educational adventure.”

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Kathryn Dickason