December 7, 2006
Senior Brandon Holton wants to change the way we think about finance. He will graduate this semester with a double major in Mathematics and Financial Engineering. He created the Financial Engineering major through the Honors Interdisciplinary Studies program. With this degree, he hopes to bridge the gap between mathematics and finance. Brandon is also an avid squash and badminton player, and he has worked to help raise awareness about the plight of the homeless. He was the 2003 recipient of the Carl Kossack Calculus Award and honorable mention recipient of the 2005 Strahan Mathematics award from the Math department. He has also been a member of the Delta Prize for Global Understanding selection committee and Dean Tate Honor Society.
B.S. in Mathematics and B.S. in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies (Financial Engineering)
University highlights, achievements and awards:
The Foundation Fellows program has afforded me unbelievable opportunities; it has created a wonderful network of friends that have greatly broadened my interests and knowledge. I have also had the privilege of traveling to five continents and almost 20 different countries. These experiences have taught me tolerance, respect and how to move outside of my comfort zone. I have also been a member of University Judiciary for four years. It is amazing to see a collection of students that truly love the university and are willing to work hard to ensure that it remains great. I have participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Habifest for the past two years to raise awareness of homelessness. Additionally, I am a member of the UGA Episcopal Center, UGA math club, and the club badminton team.
I grade papers for the UGA Mathematics Department.
Family Ties to UGA:
My grandmother received her master’s degree and specialist degree from the University. My dad attended UGA for his undergraduate degree. Additionally, I have several aunts, uncles, and cousins that have attended or are currently attending UGA.
I chose to attend UGA because...
…as a third generation Georgia bulldog, my family had instilled in me the greatness of UGA from a very young age. When I began visiting schools in preparation for college, I visited UGA and found that both the campus and the people on it were what I wanted out of college. Because of its size, UGA offers a nice mix of academics and many extracurricular activities which really appealed to me. I have also loved the city of Athens since I first started coming to football games (around age 8). All of these factors made UGA the perfect fit.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
…to attend a performance at Hodgson Hall, play a game of badminton or squash at the Ramsey Center, to see what’s on exhibit at the Georgia Museum of Art, to wander around North Campus, and to spend an exciting afternoon at Sanford Stadium.
When I have free time, I like...
...to stay active by playing squash, badminton, tennis or golf. All of these sports allow me to have a good time visiting with my friends while also fostering a little competition that everyone enjoys. I love to read many different types of books, and I also enjoy cooking and trying my hand at new recipes. I love playing the violin, but I try to spare my roommates and only play when no one else is around.
The craziest thing I've done is...
…wander through the narrow passages of an ancient bazaar in Cairo, Egypt. It was like going back in time to the sights and smells of a medieval marketplace. To imagine that vendors have been conducting the same business in the same place for several hundred years is really cool. I also enjoy bargaining, and this was the ultimate place to bargain with sellers.
My favorite place to study is...
I have an oversized chair in my bedroom that is wonderful for studying. Unfortunately, it also reclines which can lead to the occasional nap!
My favorite professor is...
…Ed Azoff and the Mathematics department in general. He and the entire faculty are very friendly and always willing to help students in any way possible. I have had Dr. Azoff as a teacher and worked as a grader for him for the past 3 years. He has a great sense of humor and infinite patience with students. Whether it is a question about a difficult proof or simply shooting the breeze, his door is always open. This is by and large true for any math faculty member. A walk down the halls of the math department should assuage anyone’s fear of their math professor.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
…Isaac Newton. In addition to watching apples fall, he had very wide interests and made groundbreaking contributions to so many disparate subjects from physics to theology. He applied his knowledge of mathematics and optimization to real world problems such as the light spectrum or efficient coin production for England. Since I endeavor to apply rigorous methods of analysis to important, real problems, I think that he could give me some good pointers.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
…make sure no one in the world ever went to sleep hungry. To me this would be a big step in making the world a better place for everyone.
After graduation, I plan to...
…obtain a Ph.D. in mathematical finance and work in research or trading at an investment bank or derivatives firm. Maybe one day, I can own my money management firm or hedge fund.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
…that sweet, sweet 2005 SEC championship versus LSU. It was truly an amazing game and was a great capstone to four years of great football while I’ve been a student here.