Introduction to Data-Driven Mathematical Modeling: Life, Universe, and Everything
Spring 2023 - Overall I would say that Mr Enakoutsa is a very passionate and sweet professor who wants his students to participate, learn, and be passionate. I think he teaches pretty well — he is not the clearest math professor at UCLA but he makes up for it by being interactive with students during lecture. There were multiple times when he would ask the class a question and no one would know how to answer. From this, he would realise that no one understood him the first time and so he repeated the concept so that we would actually understand. But, I would say that there are a few flaws with the way the quarter panned out, especially in the homework workload. The homework load was reasonable, but the Professor's requirement that everything had to be coded in Latex was not. By week 6-7, we were doing complex integral work that took easily an additional 2-3 hours each week just to code into Latex, which I didn't think the Professor had considered when assigning the homework, and definitely added unneeded stress. Secondly, in week 6-7, the professor had not completed teaching what was required on the homework before it was due. He did extend the deadline, but obviously this is not a preferable situation. Lastly, his midterm weighed 40% which I flunked while studying for 131A the same week LOL. To compensate for this, he made all homeworks after week 7 optional and offered an extra credit option. My point here is that taking Math 42 with Prof. Enakoutsa is probably going to be a little less structured than the regular math class, but overall he is reasonable and sensitive to students' needs, and will accommodate you if you communicate with him. He might make a mistake (we're human and Math 42 is a difficult class to structure), but he is sure to make up for it. But I wouldn't recommend taking this class with other difficult math classes (Math 131A and above) because the unpredictability might cause extra stress given an already large workload. But if Math 42 is the class you are focusing most of your attention on, you'll probably have a great time (the course content is pretty interesting after week 4).
Fall 2020 - Professor Menz is pretty nice and seems to care about his students alot, but the class itself was a bit of a mess because there was literally no syllabus, which I think is the main issue of the class. Because of that, the grading scheme, outline of what material would be covered, etc. was not very clear. Lectures were also a bit all over the place. It was hard to follow along with the content being covered because of how he structured his notes, and I feel like I didn't actually learn much at the end of the class. Also, the lectures never really related that much with the homework/final project. Personally I didn't find the homework or project to be too difficult and thought the grading was pretty generous, but I do have experience with coding in Python and I think that helped alot. If you're a Data Theory major, I'd suggest taking Stats 20/21 first if you can if you're taking it with Menz, as I felt like the homeworks were alot easier to do in Jupyter Notebooks/R Markdown. Basically, if you're taking this class I'd maybe recommend going with someone else. But if you're stuck with Menz (as I think only one professor teaches this class each quarter), it's not the end of the world- just focus on doing well on the homeworks and project.
Spring 2020 - Mason is one of my favorite professors in the math department. He rarely teaches undergrad courses, but he designed this course for the data theory major. There's a big focus on creating your own math models. This is much different than other lower div math--grading is on your process/assumptions and not necessarily getting the "right" answer. Mason has corny jokes and shirts and showed us his extensive collection of plushies which was awesome. Live lectures and discussions were clear and recorded, although his handwriting is hard to read (which he openly admits several times lol). He posts his notes from class as well. Both Mason and our TA (Gyu Eun is the best!!!) were very flexible about due dates--we had a 1 week grace period to turn in assignments and more if you just talked to them about your situation. They were especially accommodating at the end of the quarter with all the protests which was really nice. We had 2-3 weeks for a group project on one of the MCM problems with a 20 page write up but it wasn't too bad if you split up the work. Some of the HW problems (esp. the project ones) can be tricky and take a few hours but OH and disc are really helpful. Def recommend taking with Mason if you can!!