The joy of mathematics for me is when you’re stuck on something, take a walk, and you have a lightbulb moment, a new idea. That joy happens often as long as you don’t give up and I think it helps make up for the hardship. I’ll feel very happy. But then, of course, a new problem arises, and you need to think about it again. There’s this up and down. But when it’s up, I feel happy. You get to feel these small bursts of happiness just again and again, many times.«
»I change my area of study every five or so years. Perhaps not exactly five, but for instance, in graduate school, I was doing research on braid theory in 3-spheres. As a post-doc, I started studying knot theory in contact geometry. Then, after I wrote some papers, I started studying pseudo-Anosov and open-book foliations. And now I’m working on the left canonical form of a braid, which relates to the conjugacy problem in braid theory. Earlier in my career, I had actually declined an advisor’s suggestion to work on this topic.«
»I think the most major obstacle I’ve faced was having breast cancer after giving birth to my daughter. I worried about my productivity going down. Since then I often think about the amount of time that I have. I want to do as much mathematics as possible, but I also want to spend quality time with my family.