Meet Dr. Maxim Zalutskiy, Wake Forest Physics PhD program class of 2016. Dr. Zalutskiy now works as a quantitative financial analyst. In this interview with Professor Fred Salsbury, Dr. Zalutskiy shares information about his career path and reflects upon his memories at Wake.

Prof. Salsbury: What are you doing now career-wise?
Dr. Zalutskiy: I currently work as a Quantitative Finance Analyst (i.e. quant) at Bank of America. Our team manages model risk for the treasury department of the bank.

Prof. Salsbury: What did you do right out of Wake Forest?
Dr. Zalutskiy: After my graduation I had a number of short term teaching appointments at UNCG and Wake Forest followed by a research position at Wolfram until I landed a full time permanent role at Wells Fargo’s Corporate Model Risk group.

Prof. Salsbury: How did Wake Forest Physics help you get where you are today?
Dr. Zalutskiy: Wake Forest Physics had an enormous impact on my development. I spent close to 8 years at Wake working on my PhD in Physics and MS in Computer Science. Over that time, I formed many close relationships with not only people in the Physics and Computer Science departments, but also the wider Wake Forest community. Usually, people who study in the US develop a stronger connection to their undergraduate school, but for me it was the grad school at Wake.

Prof. Salsbury: Do you have an anecdote you would care to share either from your time at Wake Forest physics or from afterward relevant to Wake Physics?
Dr. Zalutskiy: When I started physics grad school at Wake I signed up for the Quantum Mechanics class, which all incoming grad students are required to take. Early in the course, I remember, I had a question which I brought to Dr. Carlson who was teaching the class at that time. I forgot what the question was exactly all about, but during his explanation Dr. Carlson was trying to relate it to something simple so he asked me what my favorite food was. “Lettuce and ranch”, I replied. I just arrived in the US from Russia and I had never had lettuce and ranch before and that combination tasted good to me. Professor rolled his eyes a little bit. He probably thought I was pulling his leg or something. He said, “Mmmkay, my favorite food is chocolate…” after which he proceeded explaining the difference between the Copenhagen and many-worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics or something along those lines. I no longer consider lettuce and ranch to be examples of fine dining, but I still remember this story.

Prof. Salsbury: Is there anything you would like to share with prospective or current students?
Dr. Zalutskiy: To the prospective students: Wake Forest Physics is an amazing supportive close-knit community that will allow you to develop relationships with almost all of its people. There’s just a few schools out there that will make it possible for you to go for casual coffee or beer with your professors. To the current students: I know you probably want to get out as soon as possible to pursue your career, but do enjoy your time at Wake, it will be the highlight of your life.