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Sunny W

- Research Program Mentor

MS candidate at University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)


intersections of mathematics, applied economics, econometrics, computer science


Hello! My name is Sunny. I spent my undergrad pursuing mathematics and economics at the University of Chicago. Particularly, I love probability theory (like what is the likelihood in a room of 30 people someone shares your birthday) and macroeconomics (like how does social security work and what kind of problems it solves). I have also worked in industry to develop products from 0 to 1 to better the search experience for online shopping. Currently, I'm pursuing my masters on computer science at the University of Pennsylvania. I believe mentoring is a co-development experience - finding the right personality fit is just as important as, if not more so than, finding the right academic fit. I want to deeply empathize and support my mentees for them grow and be confident in research and beyond. Personally, I'm a bit obsessed with digital art at the moment. I paint almost daily and love connecting the interpretation of shapes, lines, and colors in our brains to the extrapolations of the best ways to simplify and represent an idea through the digital art medium. I love to draw my favorite fictional characters as childhood/adolescence nostalgia. I'm also very much a history nerd, particularly in areas where cultures clash and mingle, and recently have been getting interested in military history as well.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Measuring Income and Access to a Grocery Store

Ever looked at a map of grocery stores near you and wondered why they seem to be more or less clustered together? Well, a simple hypothesis would be that the grocery stores are located where the population is clustered. However, a few simple looks at the distribution of grocery stores and population densities across cities in America may suggest otherwise. Therefore, let's hypothesize that the higher the average income in a given neighborhood access the easier it is for its residents to have a grocery store in that neighborhood. To explore this topic quantitatively, we can use data available online to find statistical correlations between average income per household in a neighborhood and the number of grocery stores in the neighborhood. From the statistical analysis, we draw upon economics concepts and theory to suggest policies that may help ensure grocery access to more people across the U.S., increasing the baseline standard of living.

Coding skills

Python, Java, C, R

Languages I know

Chinese, native

Teaching experience

I have worked as a teaching assistant for undergraduate Calculus courses during my time as an undergrad at the University of Chicago. My philosophy as a TA is to extensively comment and mark a students work in a way that convinces the student and myself why something is right or wrong. I believe in taking the guiding row through thought-provoking questions to led a student to the right conclusion, not outright proclaim the answer. I have also served as the Head of the Marketing Industry Group for Women in Business, a popular business campus organization with several chapters across colleges in the U.S. I ran and lead discussions in weekly seminars on marketing, particularly focusing on digital trends and social media marketing, for a group of approx. 10 college students, leading to their success and confidence in pursuing marketing-related careers after graduation.


Work experience

University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics (2017 - 2018)
Research Assistant
Constructor (2021 - 2021)
Associate Product Manager


University of Chicago
BS Bachelor of Science (2021)
Mathematics, Economics
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)
MS Master of Science candidate
Computer and Information Technology

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