Stoyanov Chosen by Class of 2023 for Last Lecture
Continuing Lecturer Shobhana Stoyanov was selected by the 2023 UC Berkeley Senior Class Council to deliver the annual Last Lecture, a farewell speech to graduating seniors. The Last Lecture is the final event in a week of activities the council plans for graduates each spring.
"It felt absolutely wonderful and such an incredible honor to be invited," said Stoyanov. "I still can't quite believe that I was asked by the Senior Class Council to give the lecture. It was a fantastic experience and will always be one of my most treasured memories."
As a tradition for the Last Lecture, speakers give a non-academic lecture, and often talk about their own journeys, and might include something from their field, and give advice and inspiration for seniors. Students relish the opportunity to learn about a subject they may not have studied and join together in fellowship as they begin their next chapters beyond Berkeley. Faculty who have given the Last Lectures in the past include Statistics Teaching Professor Ani Adhikari, Economics Teaching Professor Martha Olney, and Robert Reich from the Goldman School of Public Policy.
"The Department is so happy Shobhana was chosen for such a prestigious honor by our graduating seniors. Her passion for teaching and enriching students across campus deserves this recognition," noted Chair Haiyan Huang.
Stoyanov joined Berkeley Statistics in 2009. A native of India, she earned her B.A. and M.A. from Delhi University, her M.S. from the University of North Carolina, and her Ph.D. from Georgia Tech with a focus on mathematics and probability. She has lectured thousands of students during her time at Berkeley; the classes she regularly teaches include Stat 20, which often has over 400 students, and Data C88S (formerly Stat 88), which enrolled roughly 200.
In her speech, Stoyanov reflected on the challenges the class of 2023 faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most 2023 graduates were first-years during their second semester when the coronavirus outbreak forced them to leave campus and learn remotely. Their time at UC Berkeley was full of uncertainty due to the ongoing public health crisis. Stoyanov reflected:
It was a very unusual four years. A difficult four years, but you have come through. You are poised to graduate from one of the top universities in the world. Be proud of yourself; your efforts, your strength, and your resilience has gotten you up to this point...