Alyssa Ciurlik

Hi, I’m Alyssa. I am a rising Junior, from Clover, S.C. (The town with love in the middle.) This year after hopping from English to Theater then Psychology I finally landed on Applied Mathematics as my major; and I couldn't be happier with this choice!

I was first interested in the Math and the Mouse May X, when as a first semester freshman I read the colorful posters adorning the walls of Riley. I knew that I would sell my soul for this opportunity when I went to the Furman Engaged presentations, and heard how students used computer programming and math to create an itinerary that allowed a person to go to every ride in the Magic Kingdom in one day. Although at that time I only understood about 32.7% of what Rahul and Danny said, after taking a couple more math and computer science classes I think I am up to a good 68.2% comprehension.  While on this trip I can’t wait to complete my understanding of this project, and perhaps implement it on more whimsical quest, seeing all of the Disney Characters (especially Peter Pan). Also, after taking a Big Data course, I have become obsessed with analyzing large data sets. I am interested in learning how Disney utilizes the mass amounts of data it collects to create an even happier place on Earth.  

Favorite Disney Attractions

I visited Disney with my family when I was young, and I have two very distinct memories of this vacation. The first was how exciting and utterly thrilling the Hall of Presidents was. How can one forget Abe Lincoln addressing you in the almost flesh? Then at the end where you see all of the presidents together, especially my personal favorite Carter, how could you not be awed? I remember leaving that attraction knowing that I must become President of the United States so I too could be immortalized in robot form at the happiest place on Earth.

However, this is not the ride I am most excited to experience. This leads me to my second memory I have, when my family tried to go on my mom’s favorite ride, It’s a Small World. We had heard the song at least fifty times on the way to Florida. My mom kept gushing about how our childhoods, nay how our lives were going to be complete after experiencing it. So picture this, five Ciurliks eyes wide with anticipation arriving at the entrance, only to be turned away because the ride was closed for maintenance. Since that fateful day whenever conversation goes on to our perfect family trip--my mom corrects us and say it was nearly perfect. She then reminds us of how she was deprived of the memory of taking her “precious babies” on the ride of their lives. Therefore, I can’t wait to experience this it. I expect to have that sweet song stuck in my head and heart the entire day after I experience my mom’s Holy Grail of rides. (When I showed my mom this bio, it should be noted that I again received a lecture about how I need to go to It’s a Small World or I cannot come back into her home.)

Favorite Disney Restaurant
Since I have no memory of Disney restaurants, I had to defer this question to the expert, my mom. She said that as a kid I was mesmerized by the rain at the aptly named Rainforest Cafe. Did I relish the rain so much because the thunder scared my younger brother and made him cry? Did I enjoy watching one of my parents race him to bathroom every half hour to keep him calm? No, I am sure I am not, nor ever was a vindictive child. It must have been the extreme coolness factor that made it irresistible, so much so that I insisted we wait an extra twenty minutes to hear it thunder and rain one last time before leaving.  When I then asked her about the most important part of the restaurant experience, the food. She said that I ate chicken nuggets at every place but since the Rainforest Cafe provided them in a dinosaur variety, she assumed I liked them the best.

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