Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas - Albert Einstein
In a 2019 article published by U.S. News, the best STEM jobs were ranked and despite what you would consider to be the most popular STEM careers, becoming a Mathematician was ranked #9 of 30 careers, which was several points ahead of traditional Engineering careers. A mathematician can be anyone from your middle school algebra teacher to a computer programmer. Some mathematicians primarily conduct research to explore and develop theories, while others are applied mathematicians who use theories and techniques to solve everyday problems. Theory is a huge part of a mathematician's job. Mathematicians use formulas and models to support or refute theories. Data is also an important aspect in the field, as mathematicians analyze and interpret data for practical purposes, such as business, engineering or science decisions and problems. Common positions mathematicians fill include financial analysts, systems analysts, professors and elementary, middle and high school teachers.
In this Re.engineer Trending Leader feature, we had the great opportunity to collaborate with one of the most brilliant mathematical minds of the 21st century. Born on June 2, 1994, Dr. Elisee (Eli) Joseph was born and raised out of Brooklyn, NY. In 2012, he graduated from Benjamin Banneker Academy with academic honors, and in 2015, he graduated from Queens College with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics after completing a 30-credit load (10 courses) semester. During his time as an undergraduate student, Eli was a dual student-athlete, serving as a member of the Men’s Basketball (2013-2014) and Track & Field program (2014-2015). As a student-athlete, he earned 4 All-ECC accolades (Division II) in the 110 and 400-meter hurdles and as part of the 4x100-meter relay, 4x200-meter relay. While working full-time on Wall Street, Eli pursued his master’s degree in business administration at the Brooklyn College, where he completed the curriculum in 1 year (May 2016). In August 2016, he left Wall Street to pursue his Doctorate degree in Business Administration (D.B.A.) at Felician University. As a 22-year-old doctoral student, he became a business faculty member at Marymount Manhattan College- teaching courses in Business Statistics, Economics and Information Technology. By the age of 23, he became an Economics faculty member at Queens College, where he also gave a TEDx talk, discussing the idea of determining team success without the use of a scoreboard in sports.
By the age of 24, Eli became a faculty associate at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies, teaching applied analytics courses to graduate students. In addition to becoming a member of the Grammy Recording Academy (GrammyU), he was also awarded the Forbes Under 30 Scholars distinctions in 2018 and 2019. In May 2019, he completed and successfully defended his doctoral dissertation, becoming the first scholar in the history of Felician University to ever graduate with a doctorate degree in Business Administration. Eli also completed the CORe (Credential of Readiness) program at the Harvard Business School.
Q: I really enjoy the work you are doing with Mathematical Modeling and I think we need more science behind how we analyze data. What inspired you to go into a STEM field?
Eli: The inspiration to go into a STEM field was cultivated by a combination of evolving factors. From a very young age, I fell in love with numbers. I was always fascinated by various mathematical theories. As I continue to grow, my natural aptitude in numbers also developed. However, I made it a mission to apply certain theories in relatable areas like economics and sports analytics. Moreover, I always believed that my success in the field of STEM would be predicated upon how much I can give back and eventually spark the interest of other people through teaching and immersion.
Q: So many people are inspired by how you’ve matriculated through your undergraduate and post-graduate studies so quickly, which I imagine that this was no easy task. What was the most challenging part of your academic career and how did you overcome it?
Eli: The most challenging part of my academic career was managing my time. In the Spring 2015 semester, many people know about my story on how I took a huge gamble on my academic career by taking a 10-course load semester (combined 30 credits with 7 undergraduate classes and 3 graduate classes) while participating in the Outdoor Track & Field season. But many people don’t know that I took 7 courses (21 credits) the previous semester while participating in the Indoor Track & Field season in fall 2014. In order for me to prepare for the gauntlet of the spring semester, I had to quickly learn how to allocate my scarce time to attend classes, study, submit homework assignments, complete my workout and practice sessions and rest. I overcame the challenge of time management by sacrificing certain aspects of my social life so that I can exert my time and energy towards the rigorous academic and athletic schedule.
Q: I recently had the opportunity to see your talk on TEDx Syracuse and I was quite impressed with your “Success Ratio” theory. How do you channel your creativity and innovative thought process to produce such insightful concepts? As a follow up, how can modeling such as this can be used to create more value in manufacturing or tech industries?
Eli: I would like to preface my answer by explaining the definition of the “success rate” and how I have attempted to provide a different perspective to the meaning of “success” in sports. In any sporting event, we typically define a team’s success based on whether or not they are winning or losing. The main instrument that is used to make that assumption is a scoreboard. In order to obtain real-time analysis, I created a general model that can enable analysts of any team sport to determine team success without a scoreboard. The model is essentially measuring the combination of all offensive and defensive highlights against the combination of mistakes made by the teams in their respective sport. With additional applications to this model, we can increase levels of efficiency within the process optimization of the manufacturing industries. Through a similar mathematical ratio, we can use general applications of this model can enable managers to achieve their main goal of maximizing throughput while minimizing costs.
Q: At Re.engineer, our foundational values are collaboration and sharing value across all industries. Tell us about your greatest collaboration project.
Eli: As a member of the Grammy Recording Academy, I had the distinct pleasure of serving as a lobbyist on the behalf of all musicians and music creators nationwide. On District Advocate Day (October 2, 2019), I met with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to amplify the voices of musicians across the United States and fight for creators' rights through three different issues that musicians and creators face today:
Sponsoring The CASE Act (H.R. 2426/ A. 1273). The CASE Act essentially provides protection for all creators (including independent artists and songwriters) who don't have the necessary resources to protect their work against infringement (I.e. Social media bullying/trolling).
Telling the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to provide controlling consent for all artists and producers, not just TV and radio stations.
Allow the Department of Justice to complete its review of the ASCAP/BMI consent decrees.
In the aftermath of our collaboration, the House of Representatives voted to pass the CASE Act (H.R. 2426) by a vote of 410-6. The CASE Act is currently being considered by the Senate and if passed will go to the president’s desk to become law.
Q: What advice would you give to other young professionals or entrepreneurs looking to take their career or business to the next level?
Eli: I would advise young professionals to establish a group of advisers - the people that are willing to offer academic and/or professional guidance, mentors- the selective people that are willing to provide 1st degree academic/professional support when you are in the “room" and sponsors- the highly selective people that are willing to provide 2nd and 3rd degree academic/professional support when you are “not in the room”. These connections can certainly serve as assistance to young professionals who are looking to obtain exclusive opportunities in the future.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
Eli: The ever-changing nature of STEM and the constant change of objectives keeps me motivated to stay up late at night. In economics, there is a term called “utility”- which is a measurement of satisfaction. The concept of economic utility can also be used as a measurement of value. The phobic notion of reaching a utility plateau keeps me motivated to set new goals throughout my endeavors. The best way to conquer my personal objectives, I must plan ahead and the best time for me to plan is when I’m alert and active even though everyone else is sleeping.
From working on Wall Street to being recognized as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar to becoming a faculty associate at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies, all by the age of 24, Dr. Eli Joseph's career is the diamond standard...better yet it fits as a standard of its own! Not only does he exemplify hard work, dedication and a resolve that is equal to none, the application of his mathematical models are genius and will revolutionize how keep SCORE.
Dr. Eli Joseph, thank you for challenging the status quo and for applying creativity that will bring a fresh perspective into the STEM world. You are a certified Re.engineer!
Dr. Eli Joseph's TEDx Talk Syracuse: Can we determine team success without a scoreboard?