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Senior blends engineering, mathematics

By : Rachel Coker

How many future applied mathematicians have also played Mulan at Disney World? Tina Chang isn’t certain, but the number must be pretty small.

The 22-year-old from Flushing, a bioengineering and math double major, interned at Disney World last summer and auditioned on a whim to be a character performer.

She returned during winter break to play Mulan and other Disney characters for five weeks. The job involved posing for pictures with tourists as well as participating in parades. (Mulan gets her own float, complete with dancing soldiers.)

“It was quite an experience,” Chang said. “I think it’s important to experience new things.”

That s

ame spirit of adventure guided her during the summer of 2005, when she traveled to Taiwan with her mother and a friend to see her parents’ native country. Chang, who speaks English, Mandarin Chinese and some Taiwanese, said she was struck by Taipei’s beauty.

Chang belongs to Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity, and has worked in Watson Student Services for two years.

She lived in Hillside Community for the past two years, with one of her younger
sisters as a roommate. Chang said the apartment-style housing inspired her to broaden her culinary repertoire beyond ramen noodles.

Chang plans to work for a year and then return to school for a master’s degr

Tina Chang as Mulan at Disney World.
ee in applied mathematics. She’d like to do something with mathematical modeling, which could combine elements of both of her undergraduate majors.

“I’m starting to think across disciplines,” she said. “There’s really no boundary.”
Christopher Hanusa, a visiting assistant professor of mathematics, said Chang would make a good applied mathematician — or anything else she sets out to do. She’s motivated and conscientious, as well as quick to see the connections between homework assignments and real-world applications.

“Tina is always energetic,” he said. “She’s interested in seeing how everything fits together.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08