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Meet a Science Grad: Scott Clark

By College of Science

The following interview is part of a series the College of Science conducted with some of our alumni. While their experiences and career paths vary widely, their passion for science and love for the College and OSU tie them together. 

Scott Clark

Major: Physics, Mathematics and Computational Physics (’08) 
Additional Education: M.S. in Computer Science and Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics (’12), Cornell University
Occupation: CEO and Co-Founder, SigOpt, Inc.

Why did you choose to study at OSU?

OSU has a great science faculty, innovative programs and degrees, and it sets you up to succeed in your career after college.

What led you to choose your major and career path?

I always wanted to learn how the universe worked. Physics was the rules and math was the language.

How did the College of Science prepare you for your future career?

It laid the foundation for my Ph.D., which I turned into a startup that has raised tens of millions, employs dozens, and services firms around the world.

Describe your career? How are you making a difference?

I am co-founder and CEO of SigOpt, a startup that provides experimentation and optimization tools to thousands of researchers around the world helping them build the future.

What might people be surprised to learn about your profession?

When you start a company based on research, if everything goes really well you end up not getting to do research anymore because you're too busy running a company -- but it is extremely rewarding and completely worth it.

How were you involved in the OSU community?

I did undergraduate research via Undergraduate Research, Innovation, Scholarship & Creativity (URISC), Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs), and independently with professors. I also went to every football game. :)

What is one favorite College of Science memory?

I loved how unbounded you could be within the College of Science. You could always take any class, double or triple major, and there were never any limits as long as you could do the work.

Was there a particular professor or advisor who made an impact in your undergraduate career?

Professors Rubin Landau (emeritus, Physics) and Malgorzata Peszynska (Mathematics) gave me my first opportunities in real research and it changed my life.

What did you do for fun to de-stress from schoolwork?

I played video games, attended football games and worked out at Dixon Rec Center.

If you could give a future College of Science student advice, what would it be?

Try everything, take lots of science electives, learn interdisciplinary things between fields, there is still lots to discover and big impact to be had.

Read more about Scott in this story when he was listed on the Forbes' 30 Under 30 list. 


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