Vincenzo Coia, MSc Mathematics and Statistics

Faculty of Graduate Studies

Vincenzo Coia, MSc Mathematics and Statistics

Vincenzo is a recipient of awards from major external funding agencies. His research focuses on Extreme Value Theory and his work can be applied to far-ranging areas from natural disasters to the volatility in the stock market.

Vincenzo’s research story
“Statistics has become an extremely important aspect of today’s world, as it attempts to make known the unknown by analyzing observations to decipher patterns. If used correctly, Statistics can be an extremely powerful tool; but if poorly wielded, one can make claims that are entirely incorrect. Therefore, as more research is put into Statistics, this field will become stronger, more robust, and better known.
“Natural disasters occur all around the world, as seen in the recent Japan Earthquake of magnitude 9.0 in March 2011, or even the recent wind storm causing plenty of damage to this area. My research focuses on these extreme events in the branch of Statistics called Extreme Value Theory. This fairly new branch of Statistics attempts to understand the behaviour of the largest or smallest observations of a particular phenomenon, such as a natural disaster. This is an important distinction from traditional statistics, which has had an emphasis on central tendencies, giving us information about the average event. However, this is insufficient when examining the extreme events, which is clearly more important in the case of a natural disaster. Knowing their distribution with accuracy can tell us, for example, how high to build the sea dikes in the Netherlands to ensure that a flood will only occur (in the long run) once every 10,000 years. Not only does this apply to natural disasters, but the field is also applicable to things from plunges in the stock market to fishery conservation through examination of big fish.”

The importance of graduate awards and scholarships
“Funding for students is an extremely important investment. Too many students are forced to decide not to pursue higher education simply because it is not financially feasible.
“Receiving scholarships and awards through Brock has greatly helped me with the financial burden. Because of it, I don’t need to try to juggle school and work, getting as many hours as I can at a part-time job; instead, I can sufficiently focus on my research.
“Also because of funding, I am able to attend a conference in Guelph next year to share my research with others. Enabling more students to attend conferences is also very important, as it helps foster global communication, which is critical for the growth of human society.”

About the graduate experience at Brock
“Studying at Brock is an absolute pleasure. The faculty members within the Mathematics department are exceptional. The professors and administrative assistants always welcome me into their offices when I need assistance. My supervisor, Dr. Mei Ling Huang, has been such a positive influence throughout my academic career, and has helped me realize my potential in Statistics. Largely because of her, my interest in Statistics has grown to the point where I have decided to pursue a PhD in Statistics after my Masters degree. Her enthusiasm and encouragement, along with the helpfulness of the faculty, ultimately leads to a richer quality of education, which also makes for an enjoyable overall experience at Brock.”


Vincenzo Coia