Student ProfilesThe Institute seeks to enroll 120 talented and motivated students each year in its Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) degree program. The current roster is provided below. For additional information about our students, see the annual Admissions Report.

Employers interested in hiring analytics professionals are welcome to contact us. Resumes are provided freely upon request. Please contact us to receive your copy. The Institute offers individualized assistance without cost to employers throughout the recruiting process.

See the previous class rosters in the Archive.

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Master of Science in Analytics, Class of 2022

Adhish Adhikari
B.A., with College Honors, Computer Science; Economics, Earlham College, 2018
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A software engineer by trade, Adhish spent the last three years in the corporate sector delivering web applications that leveraged large datasets for clinical exploration. At Medpace Inc, he provided clinical trial sponsors with preliminary test results by turning medical data into scientific insights through interactive grids, charts, and figures. His work helped drug manufacturers follow the progress of breakthrough drugs before the final results became available. During this project, Adhish’s insights were transformed into decisions applied at a massive scale in the vital domain of clinical research. The excitement he experienced when realizing the impact of data ultimately persuaded him to delve further into analytics.

Adhish first ventured into data analysis during his undergraduate capstone project, where he applied data mining tools like association rule learning to design a course recommendation application for college students. This research allowed him to apply his knowledge of data modeling principles and algorithms to real-world applications. The idea of utilizing data to formulate actionable information deeply inspired his current curiosity in data-driven decision making. In his future work, Adhish will strive to find simple, elegant solutions to complex problems in his career field.

Adhish is an avid soccer fan and spends most of his free time playing or watching soccer. He even learned to speak English by listening to game commentaries on the radio when he was young. He also enjoys playing the guitar, cooking, and hiking in the mountains — a tradition he carries from his humble roots in Nepal.

Taylor Agarwal
B.S., magna cum laude, Mathematics, University of Arizona, 2020
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With on-the-job experience in data analytics, an educational background in mathematics and statistics, and research in the field of machine learning, Taylor has all the tools to be a superb analytics professional.

Taylor was first exposed to data analytics and machine learning during a course in linear algebra. His professor demonstrated that data in the stock market, in hospitals, and on assembly lines could be leveraged using mathematics. Seeking to learn more about linear algebra, Taylor became a research assistant to a professor studying optical character recognition. He investigated ways to digitize written languages using computer vision techniques. After building a reputation as an effective researcher, Taylor led a project published in the Arizona Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, which applied dimension reduction and clustering algorithms to the U.S. Stock Market.

Taylor’s ability to learn and lead stands out amongst his peers. He was awarded the mathematics department’s Outstanding Senior Award, which honors the top graduate for their academic ability, involvement in research, and servant leadership. Taylor believes that a successful data analytics toolbelt consists of hard skills, like database development and dashboard building, and soft skills, such as effective communication and strategic thinking. His employers have applauded his ability to learn technical ideas quickly and communicate them effectively to non-technical audiences.

As a lifelong golfer, Taylor can often be found out on the course in his free time. He also enjoys refining his skills as an astrophotographer and playing board games with his friends and family.

Andrew Allen
B.A., Political Science; Portuguese Studies, Brigham Young University, 2020
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Whether in the realm of analytics or his hobby as a marching band instructor, Andrew thrives when he can proactively help others succeed and expand their horizons. As a FamilySearch intern, he took it upon himself to add statistical rigor to the team’s fraud detection processes by introducing fraud metrics that incorporated binomial probability, chi-squared tests, network analysis, and bootstrapping. More importantly, he created several Shiny apps to allow his teammates to implement these metrics for themselves without learning to code.

Andrew’s interest in data was initially sparked during an internship with the U.S. Department of State, when — presented with the open-ended task of understanding Russian social media disinformation in Brazil — he found himself gravitating towards data analytics tools and techniques. A senior State Department official referred to Andrew’s self-taught work with text mining and network analysis as the most complete analysis they had seen on Western Hemisphere disinformation. Andrew built on this experience in 2019 when he spent six months studying in Brazil as a recipient of the prestigious national security-focused David L. Boren Scholarship.

In his spare time, Andrew enjoys teaching and arranging music, reading historical nonfiction and fantasy, keeping current with his Portuguese, and using data to make everyday tasks easier. He is also a passionate BYU and Washington sports fan.

Yair Alonzo Montufar
B.S., Textile Engineering, NC State University, 2019
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Yair first developed his passion for data analytics working at his family’s small business, a Hispanic convenience store. He oversaw the upgrade of the Point-of-Sale software to capture more data on inventory and sales to make business decisions, such as inventory forecasting and pricing optimization. Along with discovering his passion, Yair learned the power of adaptability, hard work, and humility.

In his senior capstone project at NCSU, Yair combined skills learned from small business operations and the classroom to solve real-world problems. Working on a multidisciplinary team, he produced a simulation model for a sock-dyeing process to help maximize the company’s investment. Yair’s adaptability was key as he adjusted to changing business needs and ultimately delivered the best final product for the company.

Upon graduating, Yair became a process improvement engineer at a textile manufacturing plant where he owned a manufacturing process. It was a challenging role, but his hard work resulted in major improvements, including reducing the number of yards that needed reworking by 32% and reducing the monthly dollars lost to scrapped fabric by $15,000. What he enjoyed most about this experience was working with data to make business decisions. His peers recognized his achievements and humility as they voted him Rookie of the Year.

Outside of work, Yair stays informed on current events and is particularly interested in economic stories. He also enjoys traveling to the mountains, playing disc golf and pickleball, and watching sporting events. Partial to soccer, he never misses a Real Madrid game.

Aditya Anerao
M.S., Chemistry, University of Washington, 2019
B.S., Chemistry, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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While most of the world quarantined, Aditya was onsite providing technical support for New York City’s COVID-19 pandemic response. Aditya learned the magnitude of data analysis while working at Epic Systems, where he helped healthcare institutions analyze electronic medical record data to identify vulnerable patients and prioritize COVID-19 vaccine distribution accordingly. As an implementation consultant, he partnered with customer executives to communicate the technical capabilities of Epic software to leverage clinical data for improving patient outcomes. Aditya designed novel laboratory and medication ordering systems within Epic and even advised other implementation projects in these areas as an internal expert.

Aditya’s insatiable curiosity led to his early career in analytical chemistry research. He worked in laboratories at several academic institutions as well as at Merck & Co., where he used mass spectrometric techniques to distinguish different biomolecules. As a graduate student, Aditya became intrigued with data visualization as he developed several dynamic visuals of healthcare datasets using D3.js to visualize uncertainty in algorithmic cause-of-death predictive models for a class project.

The analytical skills developed in Aditya’s career also apply to his personal interests, as he maintains spreadsheets analyzing basketball statistics and tracking restaurants he has visited. He can often be found exploring nature as he hikes through Eno River State Park or tasting the many delectable culinary gems in the Triangle area. Aditya enjoys watching, playing, and coaching basketball, and his favorite memory was witnessing the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship while studying at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Sam Arneson
B.S., magna cum laude, Business Administration, NC State University, 2017
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Sam’s never-ceasing curiosity is one of his defining characteristics and among his greatest assets. His propensity for uncovering deeper truths has driven him to excel as a consultant and an analyst, fueling his constant desire to answer, “Can this be done better?”. As a business consulting professional at Grant Thornton, Sam helped his clients use their data to make better decisions and improve processes. After implementing a cloud ERP application for a multibillion-dollar hotel brand, Sam identified gaps in their accounts payable process that were causing delayed payments. Through building a dashboard to illustrate the process flow and issues, Sam collaborated with his client to revise their invoice payment procedures and make key staffing choices.

As an intern with Wells Fargo’s internal audit division, Sam’s curiosity in leveraging data to improve audits earned him a spot on a pioneer data analytics team. He performed a text analysis to identify potentially vulnerable populations at risk of foreclosure, including Veterans, single parents, and seniors. Additionally, he helped Wells Fargo measure their compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act by comparing US Census data against branch locations.

Outside of work, Sam’s desire to make an impact extends to his community through his passion for community service. While living in Charlotte, NC, Sam volunteered for Levine Children’s Hospital and tutored elementary school students through the non-profit Heart Math Tutoring. He is also an avid basketball fan and loves to spend his evenings trying new recipes from cuisines around the world.

Matthew Asbill
B.S., magna cum laude, Business Administration, NC State University, 2021
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An avid sports fan and lifelong follower of NC State athletics, Matthew has examined the statistics for individual football and basketball players from an early age to compare those in similar positions and identify trends in performance. His affinity for numbers and discovery inspired him to pursue a technology degree in his undergraduate years, where he learned the importance of data while working multiple internships. During the summer of his IT internship at Butterball, he worked on a team to develop a machine learning model that optimized their transportation routes and lowered the overall cost of their supply chain distribution network. Throughout his time in this role, Matthew’s curiosity for analytics piqued as he saw the potential of data-driven decision making.

As an undergraduate, Matthew developed a reputation as a self-starter with a passion for service. Matthew served on the leadership team for the Krispy Kreme Challenge, a race that raises money for the UNC Children’s Hospital, where he helped promote the challenge online through their website and ran the Google Ads campaign. He also served the community through NC State’s coed service fraternity and as a mentor for College Mentors for Kids, an organization dedicated to inspiring growth and confidence in elementary-aged kids.

When Matthew is not looking at data, he enjoys going on long walks around Lake Raleigh. His other hobbies include swimming and attending sporting events around campus at NC State.

Sara Awan
B.S., summa cum laude, Economics, NC State University, 2021
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Through her work serving low-income members as an intern at a local credit union, Sara discovered her passion for using data science to make the world a better place. While working from home during the pandemic, Sara built dashboards showing which members had received stimulus funds and how they were using them. These visuals and insights were used to inform the executive team about changes within their deposit portfolio and decide how the credit union could financially aid its low-income members during this difficult time. She condensed multiple variables into usable data points to make valid predictions and conclusions, a skill she is excited to apply in other data sets.

Sara’s rewarding work at the credit union led her to become a risk data analyst at Advance Auto Parts. There, she had the fulfilling task of creating dashboards used by executive management to make decisions about implementing new rules, regulations, or safety programs for those in distribution centers and retail stores to minimize injuries at work. Sara enjoyed waking up every day knowing her work improved the lives of the company’s employees and helped them feel safer at work.

In her free time, Sara enjoys experimental baking, creating recipes such as s’mores and white chocolate matcha cookies. Among all of Sara’s travels, her favorite destination is Portugal because of its beautiful weather, scenery, and delicious food.

Richard Baker
B.S., with Distinction, Statistics and Analytics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2020
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Richard’s passion for statistics and analytics was inspired by his first job as the scorekeeper for his local recreational basketball league. As he tracked points, fouls, and timeouts, Richard realized how the data he collected told a story about each game. Years later, Richard is now interested in utilizing his technical abilities and problem-solving skills to uncover the many stories which data can tell about virtually everything.

As an undergraduate, Richard obtained two data-related internships with Advance Auto Parts to supplement his college education. Richard first worked for the data governance team, managing massive amounts of enterprise-wide data by writing rules for data ingestion and data storage. Then, working with the transportation analytics team, he built a web-based application in R to analyze delivery data and make the analysis accessible to stakeholders. Richard continued working with Advance Auto Parts full-time as a supply chain analyst, where he utilized R to automate existing reporting and create new reporting tools. Richard was the sole analyst who supported the inbound logistics team, which managed more than 40% of Advance Auto Parts’ inbound freight. In these positions, Richard manipulated large amounts of data while leveraging his statistics knowledge, creativity, and user-focused approach to provide stakeholders with valuable deliverables, ultimately solidifying his passion for uncovering data stories.

Outside of work and school, Richard enjoys playing video games, traveling, and playing racquetball for his club team. Richard also enjoys spectating sports such as football, soccer, and, of course, basketball.

Logan Barnes
B.S., Physics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2019
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Logan embraces the advice to “reach for the stars.” Fascinated by space, Logan enrolled in an intensive research course in observational astronomy, where he discovered an interest in data analytics. Tasked with building algorithms capable of detecting exoplanets orbiting variable stars, he found dozens of previously uncatalogued exoplanets in a sea of seemingly chaotic points of light. Logan realized that, like space, data analytics is the new final frontier and provides an opportunity to peer into the unknown and uncover new possibilities.

To complement his analytical development, Logan strengthened his ability to work well in a team environment and bolstered his interpersonal skills working as a server. Coordinating with colleagues was vital to uphold the restaurant’s reputation and ensure each day’s success. This experience cultivated a stronger work ethic for Logan and gave him an affinity for cooperation in a setting outside of the classroom. Adding another angle to his skill set prepared Logan for the professional world, where effective communication and teamwork are essential traits.

The summer months are a time of excitement and fun for Logan as he enjoys taking trips to the beach with family and friends. In the mornings, one can find him working out in the gym or enjoying a nice cup of coffee. He unwinds by watching the latest episode of the newest Marvel television series or exploring new breweries and restaurants with good friends.

Kevin Barth
B.S.B.A., with Highest Distinction, Business Administration, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2021
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When shopping with his parents as a boy, Kevin’s father would always ask him how he thought an item for sale got to its location on the shelf. Was it magic, or was it traceable? These questions inspired Kevin to learn more about the inner workings of business and how organizations supply goods to the consumer, ultimately leading him to attend Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Although his interpersonal skills suited him for a career in business, Kevin longed for a technical skillset to complement his undergraduate degree. Through analyzing COVID-19’s effect on sanitation costs in his corporate strategy internship, Kevin learned the impact of data analytics. In this role, he gained an appreciation for the efficiencies created by diving head-first into unstructured data and became eager to learn this skill in an academic context.

To explore this further, Kevin participated in a comprehensive five-month Python course, where he first gained experience with data wrangling and EDA, machine learning, and text analytics. During the course, Kevin used these skills to aid a local coffee shop struggling through COVID-19, opening his mind to the array of business issues that data analytics could solve. Kevin’s inability to turn away from an unsolved problem has fueled his desire to understand the strengths of all programming languages at the Institute.

In his free time, Kevin uses any excuse to go to Colorado to ski, hike, or appreciate the stunning views of the Rockies.

Steven Bigelow
M.S., Industrial and Systems Engineering, Ohio State University, 2018
B.S., cum laude, Biomedical Engineering, NC State University, 2016
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Steven’s inclination for optimization and problem solving started in childhood. His LEGO airplanes consistently fell apart when dropped. To best protect them and minimize reconstruction time, Steven decided to improve their durability via experimentation. He continuously redesigned his airplanes and threw each prototype at his bedroom wall to test durability. His final design, which he proudly displays on his desk today, could survive a full-strength heave towards the wall.

This affinity for LEGO bricks and heaving airplanes prepared Steven for biomechanical analyses in multiple motion capture labs. As an undergraduate, he constructed wearable exoskeletons for stroke patients and cleaned motion capture matrices for model calculations. During his graduate studies, Steven coordinated human subject trials with firefighters. Along with his professors, he quantified biomechanical risk for firefighters lifting obese individuals and then published the results in Applied Ergonomics.

Steven has considerable experience with stakeholder interactions, management of multi-disciplinary teams, and data-focused analysis. His career began at an ergonomics consulting firm with highly dynamic, client-dependent responsibilities. Steven collected data at manufacturing locations, completed analyses, and presented reports to management groups with recommendations for risk reduction. His knack for quick problem solving, optimization of risk improvement, and programming risk assessments pushed him to pursue a second, data-focused, graduate degree.

Steven loves to travel and has volunteered abroad in Nicaragua. During his travels, he has amassed a collection of more than four hundred socks. He also collects running shoes and meticulously tracks his mileage on his favorite hikes and runs.

Helen Blades
B.S., magna cum laude, Business Administration, UNC–Wilmington, 2021
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Initially thinking she would become a teacher, Helen has always had an interest in gathering information and sharing insightful knowledge. Eventually, she discovered she would rather create and tell stories through data to make impactful decisions in the business sector. This discovery came once Helen realized she enjoys the challenge of solving complex problems. Helen found a way to align her passions through analytical storytelling.

Helen was able to stimulate her desire to teach and her passion for solving problems as a math tutor during undergrad. Not only did she guide students in understanding mathematical concepts, but she also found herself acting as a mentor for many of them. Helen has always enjoyed providing constructive advice, forming relationships, and learning from the people around her as they learned from her. Helen was also actively involved in the business operations of the tutoring firm, even working on a project to analyze the success of the firm’s SAT prep classes.

Aside from school and work, Helen has a love for sports and community involvement. Helen spent seven years as a front-line cheerleader. Her role on game days was a major time commitment, but Helen also made continuous efforts to put the “leader” in “cheerleader” by volunteering at various events. These events included the Special Olympics, Heart Health walks, and campaigns to encourage youth to stay active. Given her dedication, Helen was recognized by her coach with the Greatest Showmanship award at the end of her first collegiate year of cheerleading.

Adi Blanc
Master of Physiology, NC State University, 2019
B.S., Biomedical and Health Sciences Engineering, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2016
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Adi is happiest when solving challenging problems and knowing she has made an impact; through her career, she has found that data analytics allows her to do both. While at Optum Technology, Adi wrangled health data to produce dashboards for clinics and physicians, allowing them to quickly access patient records so the clinics could run more efficiently. Adi’s favorite part of the job was figuring out how to transform nonstandard data into an easy-to-use database from which the reports could seamlessly pull information.

At IHS Markit, Adi experienced the power of financial data. Her most memorable experience was spearheading the research efforts of her team. She discovered trends in data and current events, such as how the 2020 US election results could affect US bank and technology dividends. By communicating her findings through reports and webinars, Adi’s work allowed her clients to quickly make data-driven decisions on their portfolios. Adi appreciates understanding her team’s role in relation to the company and customers, collaborates effectively, and works to put a smile on her coworkers’ faces.

In her free time, Adi loves sharing a meal or sipping coffee with family and friends, reading fantasy novels, and taking leisurely walks on trails around her home. She enjoys exploring the world and getting out of her comfort zone, like cliff jumping into the Aegean Sea, despite her fear of heights. So far, she has been to fifteen countries — Croatia and Iceland are her favorites!

Noah Brinegar
B.B.A., summa cum laude, Marketing, Abilene Christian University, 2021
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Noah’s analytical interests began as a high school student when employees from Mu Sigma, an analytics consulting firm, offered him the opportunity to participate in a program where he realized the many aspects of analytics and its endless applications. In this program, Noah grew partial to the storytelling that often takes place when presenting data and findings to others, and he soon specialized in data visualization. Through internships, Noah presented the stories within the data to a collegiate baseball team, a construction consulting firm, and more than 15 universities, where his visualizations helped schools retain students at risk of dropping out.

As a student, Noah studied marketing to see how data can be used within the business context to target and reach customers more efficiently. During his time at Abilene Christian, he became passionate about innovative and redemptive business, taking multiple classes in entrepreneurship and hoping to one day have a startup of his own.

Outside the office, Noah is an avid concertgoer and sports fan, and you can often spot him hunting for the next great artist or checking out an up-and-coming prospect at a minor league baseball game. Do not be surprised if you find him at the lake or beach either, as he just built a paddleboard from scratch and is always looking for new spots to paddle.

McLeod Brown
B.S., Business Administration, UNC–Wilmington, 2015
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McLeod has always had a love for analyzing sports statistics. This gained steam during his sophomore year in college when he worked as the Sports Editor for UNC Wilmington’s student newspaper, The Seahawk, and the city of Wilmington’s newspaper, StarNews. As a writer, he would often approach post-game write-ups from a statistician’s perspective instead of a reporter’s. Over time, his passion transitioned from including statistics in his writing to generating and analyzing those core numbers himself.

After undergrad, McLeod was hired as an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), where his affinity for programming and optimizing processes exploded. McLeod consistently went beyond what was required, teaching himself R and installing a program into BLS’s processes that scanned raw data and outputted an occupational profile. This program more than quintupled his office’s occupational profile count and saved staff hours of manual review of internal databases. This work also directly led to McLeod being hired full-time into one of BLS’s research offices, where he was the only employee without his Ph.D. There, McLeod continued to hone his skills in data analytics, including building out profile creation programs for other offices, using Python on several text analytics projects, and working with management and outside researchers on data security issues.

In his free time, McLeod enjoys relaxing next to the nearest body of water he can find during the day before watching anything sports-related and playing board games or video games in the evening.

Brian Buckley
B.A., with Honors in American Studies, Grinnell College, 2014
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Brian became enthralled with data science and quantitative analytics through his nearly decade-long involvement with oral history and archival research. After two years in AmeriCorps working for the Prison Public Memory Project, one of the nation’s largest archives of oral histories and documents related to state prison facilities, Brian leveraged his entrepreneurial drive and front-end development background to build a successful digital asset management company. With Brian at the helm, the company managed the archival databases and front-end web platforms for dozens of film, audio, photo, and text-based archives. Over the five years of building the business, Brian was exposed to the power of data mining, textual analysis, and quantitative analysis for digital marketing and storytelling.

While Brian has occupied a range of professional roles — including UX designer, front-end developer, digital archive manager, and copy lead — his clients and coworkers most value his ability to be a bridge between engineer and marketing teams because of his agile communication skills and his ability to traverse the left-brain, right-brain divide within organizations. Several CEOs and project leads from companies that have worked with Brian have commended his acumen at seeing the 365-degree view of a problem and boiling it down to a unified story or strategy.

Having grown up cavorting around the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Brian now decompresses from screen time by finding rocks to climb and lakes to kayak near his home in Durham, NC. He spends countless weekend hours collecting and listening to old soul, folk, jazz, and bluegrass records.

Lindy Bustabad
B.S., magna cum laude, Mathematics, Davidson College, 2021
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As a modern dancer and choreographer, Lindy has developed creativity, courage, and communication skills that translate from the arts to analytics. Her artistic and analytical talents drove her to pursue undergraduate study in mathematics. Like her passion for patterning the dancing body in choreography, Lindy found deriving grounded meaning from lines of proofs and equations immensely rewarding. She is intrigued by the application of mathematics to real-world problems, an interest that led her to conduct a more unstructured exploration of combinatorics and statistics. In her senior year, Lindy pursued an independent research project on enumeration formulas and asymptotic normality of signed permutation statistics.

After her first year of college, Lindy began her professional career at the FBI Charlotte headquarters as an intern on the organized crime and cyber squads. Her projects centered on data visualization of large-scale fraud and money laundering. After two years in government that reinforced her passion for data analysis and problem solving, Lindy transitioned to the private technology industry through an internship on the Domain Delivery and Enablement team in Fraud and Security Intelligence at SAS. During this internship, she combined her dedication to security intelligence and her interests in analysis as she designed a Python testing framework tool for SAS Visual Investigator.

When she is not scanning computer screens or moving in the dance studio, Lindy enjoys traveling home to visit her family’s produce farm and especially loves seeing the family Labrador retriever, cows, and chickens.

Alex Calderon
B.S., magna cum laude, Biological Sciences, NC State University, 2020
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As a first-generation college student, Alex has developed a humble demeanor that has allowed him to become a lifelong learner. He values his ability to be patient, listen to different ideas, and understand those around him. Because of this, Alex excels when working in teams; he believes everyone can contribute unique talents and mindsets.

One of his greatest pleasures has been working at the NC State University Libraries as a student lead. Resonating with their mission to promote an inclusive and accessible environment, he began learning new technologies, attending workshops, and volunteering for different events, such as new student orientation and the Tiny Café program. After being promoted to student lead, Alex aided in communication between managers and over 60 student workers. He was trusted with onboarding and training new student hires as well as making iterative improvements to workflow. Seeing the need to help out during the pandemic, Alex worked with managers to clean and analyze textbook data using SAS. These opportunities to work in teams and make improvements inspired him to pursue a career in data science and analytics.

When he is not working or studying, Alex enjoys drinking coffee and collecting mugs from his travels. His passion for coffee started from a young age as a comfort drink he shared with his parents. Now, he eagerly awaits new mugs to add to his collection and hopes to one day open his own geek-themed café.

Alessandra Catalanotti
B.S., magna cum laude, Mathematics, Adelphi University, 2021
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What’s exciting about Alessandra is her drive. From her time playing varsity lacrosse to her commitment to tutoring young people, Alessandra has adapted her skills to meet each new opportunity. In the future, her perception, communication, and analytical skills will be key to her success.

Her analytical interests peaked while working on her undergraduate thesis that examined Small Vaccination Strategies on Small World Network Graphs. This experience allowed Alessandra to practice analyzing data and graphs to establish the most effective vaccine distribution strategy. She learned to explore data in a new light, something which continues to interest her.

A positive attitude and strong communication skills have been key factors in Alessandra’s success. Through helping students raise their grades in mathematics and her commitment to charity, she has used not only her skill sets but her positive attitude to motivate those around her. She prides herself on being a dynamic and committed team player, providing constant support for her teammates and colleagues. Furthermore, due to her bilingual Spanish upbringing, Alessandra is in the unique position of being able to engage in cross-cultural conversation and be culturally perceptive in both a professional and personal sense.

Aside from her time in academia, Alessandra enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing sports, specifically lacrosse, where she won the 2019 Division II National Women’s Lacrosse Championship. Her love of sports goes beyond simply playing and is something she hopes to explore analytically.

Kirsten Childs
M.A., Mathematics Education, NC State University, 2013
B.S., magna cum laude, Textile Engineering, NC State University, 2011
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With 8+ years of experience as a math educator and a background in engineering, Kirsten brings a unique skill set to the field of data analysis. She excels at communicating advanced technical concepts to diverse audiences — technical and non-technical alike — in clear and helpful ways. That talent was widely celebrated by her students and colleagues at Lone Star College, where Kirsten earned the selective Faculty Excellence Award. Kirsten’s students, many of whom previously “hated” math, credited her with transforming their attitude toward the subject with her practical approach and down-to-earth demeanor. Kirsten is enthusiastic about applying the unique skills she honed in education to the field of data analysis. Analytics are most effective when their meaning is understood, and Kirsten is passionate about leading diverse audiences to understand what the data mean for them.

Kirsten has empathy and excellent self-awareness, which contribute to her high aptitude for teamwork. Her educational background has given her extensive experience with collaborative learning, and her professional life has afforded her opportunities to participate on many different faculty teams. Kirsten has worked extensively in teams to develop curriculum, plan course schedules, and assess student achievement. As a skilled team player, Kirsten is comfortable in leadership roles and can take direction from others.

Kirsten is the proud mother of two preschoolers. When she is not working, Kirsten enjoys hanging out with her family, hiking in the mountains, working out with friends, and watching her favorite college teams play football and basketball.

Erik Conley
M.S., Quantitative Economics and Econometrics, East Carolina University, 2021
B.S., cum laude, Economics, East Carolina University, 2020
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While serving as an airborne infantryman for six years in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, Erik found his passion for leadership and helping others develop and succeed. He served as a leader at many different levels, culminating in earning the rank of staff sergeant and serving as a platoon sergeant for his company. At this point, he led anywhere from 20-30 soldiers and helped each of them attain their personal and professional goals.

Erik separated honorably from the Army in 2018 and started to focus again on his academic interests. After a few years of studying economics, he found analytics and discovered a major cross-section between the two fields of study. Erik participated in an accelerated program that allowed him to complete his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree concurrently. His dedication to academics resulted in his graduating with honors, being inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society in the spring of 2018, and receiving a departmental award for his efforts.

Starting in his undergraduate studies, Erik began to foster a love for mathematics. This love was spurred on by a particularly interesting business statistics class as well as all of his economics coursework. All of this early math work led Erik to earn a certificate in statistics during his graduate studies. Between his economics and his statistics coursework, Erik knows a career in analytics is where he wants to be.

Chad Covin
B.S., Applied Mathematics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2019
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As a child, Chad was drawn to the numbers of the NBA’s statistics graphics during games, which led to an enjoyment of mathematics. Ultimately, Chad grew to love mathematics by the time he entered undergraduate studies. At Raritan Valley Community College, Chad wrote an 80+ page honors capstone report on the mathematics of the Rubik’s Cube. While working as a neuroscience lab assistant at UNC-Chapel Hill, he also applied his skill in linear algebra to predictive matrices of brain connectome.

Raised by community-oriented parents, Chad has always been inspired to be an active role model for the next generation of Black scholars. In community college, Chad was a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters. After transferring to Chapel Hill, he became involved with the Institute for Responsible Citizens, an organization that exposes high-achieving Black male students to successful Black professionals. He also served as the student advisor for the organization Carolina Men of Color, which aims to bring together UNC’s men of color and have conversations to improve our communities. Chad’s mission is to expose underrepresented communities to the field of analytics and to use data to tell their stories.

Chad will never hesitate to tell you about his creative passions. When he is not studying regressions, Chad is producing his own music or creating videos with friends. Come basketball season, you can find Chad avidly rooting for his beloved Knicks and Tar Heels. Chad’s other interests include spending time with friends and family, traveling, and meditating.

Chris Coxen
M.S., Wildlife Science, New Mexico State University, 2017
B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, NC State University, 2009
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From his time as a child catching tadpoles in his backyard pond to his graduate research fitting GPS backpacks onto wild birds, Chris has always been fascinated by learning how complex systems work. He brought this curiosity to his decade of work as a wildlife biologist, learning how wildlife interact with their habitats. His interest in analytics was sparked during graduate school when he used R to manipulate field data and create models that supplied unique insights into how his study species may respond to climate change. After facing a professional crossroads during the pandemic, Chris decided to change careers and apply this inquisitiveness to the field of analytics.

Eight years of non-profit work and two years of graduate school taught Chris how to creatively tackle challenges and balance multiple roles and responsibilities, including several leadership positions across his career. Through his roles as a supervisor, advisory board member, and stakeholder in collaborative groups, Chris has effectively communicated his vision to lead teams and positively influenced decision-makers. He enjoys using his humor and enthusiasm during teamwork to build an upbeat, optimistic work environment.

Chris has a passion for the outdoors, and he often spends his Saturdays exploring trails, rivers, and vistas with his wife, son, and two dogs. His insatiable love for music may put him on the couch strumming the chords to an old Neil Young song or in front of the computer digging into Spotify to build a new playlist.

Liam Dao
B.S., summa cum laude, Economics, NC State University, 2021
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Liam can be described in a handful of words: impactful, valuable, insightful, and versatile. These qualities helped him receive both the Coca-Cola and Park Scholarships — awards based on excellence in academia, leadership, service, character, and community impact. He was also named a Daily Point of Light Award recipient, an award that “honors individuals who change the world.” His success has continued in work settings. From working as a hibachi chef at sixteen to becoming the COO of 321 Coffee at nineteen, he has found ways to thrive despite the situation or environment.

Liam’s passion for analytics began as a fascination with numbers when he was eight. As an avid Carolina Hurricanes fan, he loved analyzing the standings to find scenarios where they could make the playoffs. Since then, his interest has evolved into a quest to find deeper insight by analyzing data patterns. His first experience using analytics professionally was creating a model to predict sales for 321 Coffee. Building upon this, he interned at an NC State statistics lab, where he helped create a program utilizing machine learning to track NHL players and puck movement to analyze player decisions and optimize future outcomes for offense and defense.

When not working, Liam may be playing football, soccer, or tennis with his friends, walking around Raleigh, or weightlifting. He also enjoys keeping up with new Marvel and Star Wars content and traveling the world sans a global pandemic.

Jackson de Oliveira
B.S., International Business, UNC–Greensboro, 2014
B.S., Entrepreneurship, UNC–Greensboro, 2014
B.A., Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences, Business Administration and Management, 2015
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Jackson’s mix of business acumen, practical experience, and analytical skills enables him to see both minute details and how they fit into the big picture. His skills are founded on academics and work experience. During Jackson’s bachelor’s degree in business, he studied abroad in Germany, where he wrote a thesis on project management of digital goods and services. In marketing roles, Jackson evaluated messaging channels to improve communication and set the gold standard for onboarding product users. As a data analyst, Jackson created data pipelines and automated over a dozen reports for executives and line-level employees. He also created a library of tools to easily export data from Python scripts into stylized, easy-to-read Excel reports.

In addition to his technical skills, Jackson is a natural relationship builder with a knack for conveying stories from data. He interacts easily with people at all levels of the business and has a unique ability to uncover qualitative data. He attributes these skills to his experiences living in multiple countries, speaking three languages fluently, and working in blue-collar jobs.

Outside of work, Jackson enjoys anything automotive — from rebuilding engines to wiring and tuning standalone engine management systems; he calls turning a wrench “mechanical meditation.” Jackson’s love of data also spills over into side projects, including a web application that uncovers thrilling roads for motorcyclists in OpenStreetMap data and using WebGL to generate graphs of csv data logs from engine management software.

Lev El-Askari
B.A., magna cum laude, Psychology, Willamette University, 2020
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While immersed in psychology research for over four years, Lev developed a passion for applying statistical methods to understanding and modeling human behavior. He has worked on projects ranging from studying adolescent peer group formation to personality development throughout college. Over time, Lev became increasingly enthusiastic about using a statistical and computational toolkit to solve problems. Fortunately, his alma mater offered a brand-new data science program his senior year of college. Determined to capitalize on this influx of resources and opportunities, Lev filled his schedule with analytics courses and pursued side projects, such as mapping homeless trends in Seattle neighborhoods. A testament to his drive to build competency in analytics, Lev became one of the first students at Willamette University to receive a data science minor.

Most recently, Lev worked as a research assistant on two large intervention studies to improve sleep and resilience in the United States Military. In this role, he collaborated with his colleagues to manage complicated data collection, storage, and confidentiality procedures. Additionally, Lev independently analyzed study data to learn about the effect of role ambiguity at work on Veterans’ health and well-being, and he presented his findings at a nationwide psychology conference.

In his free time, Lev enjoys exploring unfamiliar places. He studied in England for a semester and spent a month in Peru river rafting, learning Spanish, and trekking to Machu Picchu. When he returns home to Nevada City, he loves to swim in the Yuba River and snowboard at South Lake Tahoe.

Morgan Ferguson
B.S., summa cum laude, Applied Mathematics; Statistics, Elon University, 2019
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An aptitude for logical thinking and a passion for problem-solving drove Morgan to pursue classwork and experiences in analytics during her undergraduate years. While data mining and machine learning concepts always piqued Morgan’s interest, it was not until her internship at the National Science Foundation, where she worked on emerging facial recognition technologies, that she realized her passion for data science. Morgan’s undergraduate career also included an internship with EY as a technology consultant, yielding experience in communicating advanced concepts to non-technical audiences and earning the title of “Office Table Tennis Champion.”

Following graduation, Morgan was hired by EY in Charlotte, NC as a technology consultant in financial services. During that time, she collaborated with clients and developers to deliver products that met functional, business, and technological needs. Morgan was also responsible for managing a team of local and international coworkers through a data transfer initiative and training new project team members. Beyond her standard responsibilities, Morgan advanced her technological skills by using SQL, SAP Information Steward, SAP HANA, Power BI, and more.

Beyond analytics, Morgan enjoys perfecting new recipes in the kitchen or getting outside to cheer on her favorite football and baseball teams. Her love for sports also includes spending time playing volleyball, kickball, and golf with friends. Morgan’s four-month study abroad experience in Ireland enhanced her passion for traveling, and she looks forward to exploring more cultures by adding to her list of 15 countries visited.

Samuel Ferry
B.S., cum laude, Industrial Engineering, NC State University, 2018
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Sam’s interest in analytics was sparked during his time as a manufacturing engineer in the automotive industry, where he saw data-driven insights produce tangible benefits. As a manufacturing engineer, Sam led a variety of data-focused projects. He created a capacity planner to optimize the production schedule, developed production metrics for every level of operations, and regularly led cross-departmental team projects, tackling everything from part shortages to balancing job hours.
Seeing the positive impact of leveraging data inspired Sam to begin studying statistics outside of work. He then applied the lessons he learned in his studies to solve real-world problems. Sam’s work background has provided him with a unique understanding of problem solving, from initial research to implementation.

Sam’s experience combined with constant involvement in team sports has ingrained in him a profound appreciation of the importance of effective teamwork. Whether on the sports field or in the workplace, Sam pursues the team’s success by effectively engaging others. His strong sense of empathy and inclusion makes team engagement happen naturally, with everyone feeling comfortable and appreciated.

When not working or studying, Sam goes to the outdoors to unwind. He enjoys reading a novel on the back porch, hiking in the Rockies, and playing soccer in local adult leagues.

Lindsey Fisher
B.S., Neurobiology, University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2021
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Lindsey has been praised for her strong decision-making skills, integrity, and logical nature. Being an Advocate (INFJ) personality type maximizes her capacity to connect with others and see past the surface of a problem while also guiding her passion for pursuing a career centered in helping others.

Her natural talent for science and personal mission to positively impact others’ lives motivated her to study neurobiology and sustainability. Lindsey was drawn to neuroscience because of its capacity to uncover secrets of the human mind and alleviate struggles for those with neurodegenerative disorders and mental illness. After discovering her interest in analytics during her junior year of undergraduate education, she found a bridge between data and neuroscience that intrigued her. From then on, Lindsey was determined to become a data scientist that used her knowledge to contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future for all.

In her free time, Lindsey enjoys taking her dogs swimming at the lake or running with them on nearby trails. She is very passionate about music and can’t wait to begin attending concerts again.

Connor Folk
B.A., with Highest Distinction, Economics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2021
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Connor has always had a curious mind and approaches every new topic by asking “why?”. 
This curiosity led him to pursue economics, where he began to understand and draw connections between complex business topics. Connor excelled in this major, earning Phi Beta Kappa honors and graduating with highest distinction. He also worked as an undergraduate learning and research assistant, focusing on macroeconomics. Within his research, he utilized RStudio to identify bull and bear markets in 49 different industries and presented the findings in a published report.

Connor’s interest in economics led him to study abroad at the distinguished London School of Economics. While there, he took a developmental economics course that introduced him to the crossroads between economics and data. After seeing the value in data optimization, Connor returned home with a passion for analytics and a new strategy for answering the question “why?”.

During his final year in college, he worked as a business consulting intern for Substantial Magazine, an African American publication in Greenville, NC. He quickly became the leader of his team and presented ideas to the CEO and a major investor on how the company could optimize its advertisement pricing strategy to maximize profit. Based on his team’s success, he was asked to speak to the Board of Directors that organized the internship.
In his free time, Connor enjoys playing and watching a wide variety of sports and is an avid Charlotte sports fan.

Johnny Foraker
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2020
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Johnny’s route to becoming an aspiring data scientist was, above all, nonlinear. All variables in his life pointed to him joining much of his family in the field of engineering. Upon starting college, however, it became increasingly clear that engineering was not for him. Johnny soon discovered data analytics engaged him significantly more than his other courses. With a lifelong love for utilizing statistics in fantasy sports, looking at problems from an analytical perspective felt natural. Reinvigorated and impassioned, Johnny switched his major to statistics and set his eyes on the gold standard for analytics: the Institute.

Since shifting his focus to analytics, Johnny’s signature drive and commitment have been evident both inside and outside the classroom. Excelling in his undergraduate classes led him to graduate ranked number one in his class. Never satisfied with just academic success, Johnny also took on various analytics projects. He volunteered as a data analyst intern for a startup company called Springclean, where he worked on analyzing public data to create maps of clothing drop-off locations to better understand how to optimize environmental sustainability. Johnny also helped a Wake Technical Community College professor test the effectiveness of a nursing simulation using paired t-tests and chi-squared tests. Finally, he worked at Duke Clinical Research Institute managing patient-reported data for heart failure clinical trials.

After work, Johnny can be found at the tennis or basketball courts playing recreational games. He remains a professional football fanatic and rarely misses a game the Steelers play.

Katie Forester
B.S., with Distinction, Biology, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2021
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Katie’s entrepreneurial mindset and curiosity towards innovation fueled her interest in statistics and data science. During the first two years of her undergraduate career, she worked as a research assistant in a genetics laboratory, and her work was later published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Her experiences in laboratory research proved to be invaluable as she focused her attention on entrepreneurship. While studying abroad in London, Katie interned at Open Cell, where she collaborated with a team to develop a portable transilluminator device and functioned as a biological science liaison for over 15 startups. After gaining experience in coding and data-driven decision making in this position, she decided to focus her studies on computational biology and statistics.

During the latter part of her undergraduate career, Katie co-founded and served as CEO of a startup company called Pipette Pal. After being awarded a fellowship, Katie took her company’s product from an idea to a functioning prototype in just one summer. While this position allowed her to hone her technical skills in coding and data analysis, she found that the most beneficial part of her experience was learning how to lead and manage a team.

In her free time, Katie enjoys working on skills for her newfound hobby of roller skating. She is also quite the movie fanatic and hopes to one day watch all 93 Academy Award Best Picture winners. On the weekends, she enjoys eating arepas with friends at her favorite restaurant, Luna.

Prudvi Gaddam
Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2019
B.S., Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2013
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Prudvi’s interest in analytics began during his doctoral studies at Virginia Tech. There, he used MATLAB and Python to implement a pipeline that rapidly processed, interpreted, and visualized data for hundreds of microscopy images he collected from his experiments. He fell in love with designing experiments, building models, and coming up with ways to use clever and insightful visualizations to tell his personal scientific story. His passion for quality research and productivity resulted in five peer-reviewed publications in leading scientific journals and several presentations at national conferences.

Upon graduation, Prudvi began a role as a scientist at Syngenta Crop Protection. During his two-year tenure there, he developed an aptitude for teamwork-oriented approaches to scientific problems, thinking quickly and flexibly to achieve business outcomes. The team worked rapidly on a tight timeline to deliver results and identify the root cause of products undergoing quality control issues. Prudvi and his project team were rewarded with the “Team-Player” award at an internal department meeting.

Outside of his professional interests, Prudvi is deeply committed to his meditation practice. He has been on several multi-day silent meditation retreats and aims to go to at least one meditation retreat every year for the rest of his life. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife and dogs. Olympic National Park and Red Rock Canyon are some of Prudvi’s favorite places he has hiked. He is currently learning to play the ukulele and is interested in its unique melodies for electronic music production.

Rory Gahagan
A.B., International and Area Studies/Development, Washington University in St. Louis, 2019
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Rory is a versatile thinker who ventures out of her comfort zone. She worked for the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), a nonprofit in DC that supports building energy efficiency policy in US cities. There, she analyzed trends in building energy usage for municipal clients, self-educated herself in analytics, and attended discussions on energy policy, climate change, and environmental economics at the policy think tanks in her backyard. At IMT, Rory co-authored several papers, including one that looked at the risk posed to affordable housing by building performance standards in several municipalities. Additionally, she analyzed energy use in buildings throughout DC and presented her findings to an IMT energy utility partner to help them increase customer energy savings.

Alongside her writing-intensive and teamwork-focused classes, Rory’s interdisciplinary coursework introduced her to statistics and data manipulation. Rory gained internship experiences at Chesterfield City Planning and Development Strategies. At both places, she found opportunities to apply data analysis to solve urban economic development challenges. At the latter organization, Rory supported development clients by co-producing market assessment reports, which analyzed socioeconomic and real estate data to forecast development trends.

Rory aspires to be an avid traveler after studying abroad in France for five weeks and Vietnam for five months. She keenly looks forward to traveling again. In her downtime, Rory enjoys getting outside with her collie dog, practicing yoga, meeting people, occasionally baking for her teammates, and slowly getting through her giant book list.

Preethika Gajendran
B.E., Computer Science and Engineering, Anna University, Madras Institute of Technology, 2012
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Always one to say yes to exciting opportunities, Preethika was elated when she got her first job as a Test Analyst with IBM. There, she was primarily responsible for application system testing and worked on improving the testing strategy for the application. By analyzing the defect report data based on more than 10 metrics, Preethika helped deliver projects to the client with excellent quality. She was awarded the “Best of IBM” for her contribution to improving the business process and client satisfaction.

Having experienced how analytics played a crucial role in the business process, Preethika started her data science journey by joining an analytics bootcamp conducted by UNC. She was fascinated by how visualizations helped people understand data better. During the bootcamp, she worked on projects that involved creating visualizations, building dashboards, and even producing a machine learning model that predicted a person’s likelihood to survive on the Titanic. Preethika understood the importance of doing exploratory data analysis when she worked on a project to understand the growth-demand and price variations of Airbnb.

In her free time, Preethika enjoys reading articles about analytics and developments in technology. She also loves watching movies — her favorite genre being crime thriller. Her other hobbies include making paper crafts with her daughter and trying new restaurants.

Sam Gasell
B.S., summa cum laude, Applied Mathematics, NC State University, 2021
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2021
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Throughout his life, two things never failed to fascinate Sam: numbers and sports. That is why he did not hesitate to join the Sports Analytics Club during his first year at NC State. From there, he connected with his like-minded peers and began working as a Quantitative Analyst for the NC State Baseball team. In this position, he collaborated with fellow students to parse through radar-tracked data using R and Tableau to provide the coaches with scouting reports of opponents along with strategy adjustment projects in the off-season. His efforts during the 2021 season even helped the team make their third-ever College World Series appearance.

Ignited by his passion for sports analytics, Sam reached for more opportunities. He worked alongside one of his statistics professors on a research project using Poisson regression to analyze professional hockey substitution tactics. In addition, as an intern for a college baseball recruiting company, he developed strategies with company executives to expand data usage in their scouting process. Not only was combining his passions a dream come true for Sam, but he also learned valuable programming, statistical, and communication skills as a data professional.

In his free time, you will find Sam attending countless NC State sporting events or playing intramural basketball with his friends. He also has a passion for volunteering; he tutors underprivileged students during the school year and assists on home repair projects with his church during the summer.

Anna Glazyrina
B.Sc., Economics, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, 2020
B.Sc., Economics and Finance, University of London, 2020
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Anna’s admiration for analytics shares roots with her love for artistic sports, such as figure skating and ballet. She believes that data are most beautiful when they tell a coherent story, in the same way that the jumps and spins in figure skating are truly breathtaking when they are part of a carefully designed performance.

Anna has always admired the way the athletes make these demanding sports look effortless and elegant and craved to learn that technique too. At her previous job at Yandex, one of the most data-driven companies in Russia, Anna was known for taking on complex projects. There, she tackled unstructured and inconsistent data and fully automated the process of calculating the cost per order that used to take over a week of an analyst’s time each month. She discovered a report that had potential but did not quite fit the business’s needs, and she turned it into a key instrument with over 3,000 users. Anna also took on the challenge of leading the efforts to improve the demand forecast for the marketplace, both by exploring alternative model options and improving the process of data collection.

Anna tries to find that perfect balance of artistry and technique outside of work as well. Sometimes she explores her artistic side by spinning on aerial silks, dancing, or trying out simple elements on ice. Other times, she can be caught coding a chatbot or an interactive map of new restaurants in Moscow to sharpen her technical skills.

Michael Golaski
B.S., Statistics, Elon University, 2021
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For Mikey, growing up on a working farm in Washington, Pennsylvania was the best possible way to be raised. Through the stories of his late grandfather and diligent work ethic of his grandmother, Mikey was taught the value of hard work and the importance of finishing a task thoroughly. Throughout his years, Mikey would continue to compile lessons and wisdom that emphasized perseverance and humility. Although Mikey’s hometown played a major role in his upbringing, he was encouraged to be independent and to make a life beyond the scope of his hometown and family ties.

Mikey took full advantage of his experience at Elon to participate in service work, undergraduate research, an internship at a data consulting company, leadership roles, and a study abroad program in Berlin, Germany throughout his four years. Through resource utilization and involvement in these opportunities, Mikey was awarded the Outstanding Experiential Learning Award in Statistics at Commencement.

Mikey’s most rewarding experience though was his undergraduate research. His research goal was to find evidence for herding in the polls for the 2016 presidential election. While conducting the research, Mikey sharpened his programming skills and expanded his knowledge of statistical concepts through many hours of hard work. His mentor inspired him to take on new challenges, which helped build Mikey’s confidence and problem-solving abilities. Although his research ended, he is eager to take on new projects and mysteries that could be solved with analytics.

Paul Goodwin
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2021
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In his final year of undergraduate coursework, Paul worked as a statistical analyst for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ). This position provided him with an opportunity to combine his love of the outdoors and math. At the NC DEQ, Paul developed tools to analyze soil data (via the creation of a statistical dashboard) and co-authored a publication that provides analytical insight on the concentration of various metals in the soil of North Carolina. During Paul’s time at the NC DEQ, he gave numerous presentations to industry professionals. From this experience, Paul realized how much he enjoys presenting statistical research.

From an early age, Paul had an affinity for the outdoors. He joined the Boy Scouts and gradually became skilled in hiking, camping, and backpacking. Prior to achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, he applied all these skills during an 80-mile backpacking trek through the mountains of New Mexico. He designed a wheelchair-accessible bridge for his Eagle Scout project and led a team to construct it at a local butterfly garden. In his free time, Paul also enjoys swimming, board games, and rock climbing.

Julie Gutierrez
B.S., magna cum laude, Business Administration, Park University, 2020
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Julie has always been drawn to a certain kind of story, a thoughtful examination and presentation of information in revealing ways. Having a librarian for a mother, she had the good fortune to grow up surrounded by books, which instilled an appreciation for a compelling narrative and an insatiable curiosity for learning. Studying data literacy has come to engage Julie in much the same way. A dataset can present an unrivaled and rich informative resource that she has been unable to resist.

With over eight years of experience in finance, Julie became a senior risk analyst by establishing a reputation for hard work, creativity, and problem-solving. Utilizing her analysis and relationship-building skills, she routinely collaborated with organization-wide stakeholders to curate risk metrics, advise on control effectiveness, and assess top risks within the context of each department’s business goals. To translate findings from analysis into consumable insights for senior and executive management, Julie developed an indexing algorithm and leveraged visualization software. She also gained valuable experience in scaling new programs, playing a key role in designing frameworks and subsequent processes that, when implemented, have benefited stakeholders.

Julie has a long-term goal to read all the Pulitzer Prize winning books, both nonfiction and fiction. She shares her love of reading by volunteering as a reading mentor at a Kansas City non-profit. She is also passionate about conscious consumerism and has been learning to sew, educating herself about ethical fashion while developing a practical and fun skill set.

Nicole Hanrahan
B.S.B.A., summa cum laude, International Business, Elon University, 2016
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Always interested in understanding how or why, Nicole has been raising her hand in class, googling everyday phenomena, and making both simple and significant life decisions with the help of data since she was young. In one way or another, she has continually been driven by the question, “what happens inside a black box?”.

As a senior paid search analyst at ROI Revolution, Nicole confronted this question directly as she observed the digital marketing industry standard shift from manually optimized campaigns to algorithm-based management. During her five-year tenure, she funneled her curiosity into developing unique advertising solutions, such as complex Google Ads targeting strategies and dynamic client dashboards. She is particularly proud of leading the analysis for her company’s benchmark report, an annual white paper that highlights key paid search trends of all e-commerce clients and poses the challenge of consolidating data from various sources. Ultimately, her interest in the black box of optimization was strong enough to lead her to further education in analytics.

Outside of work and studies, Nicole loves all things music, from crafting a new Spotify playlist to attending local concerts. She enjoys engaging with all Raleigh offers and is a regular trivia attendee, movie theater aficionado, and group fitness enthusiast.

Elise Haylett
B.S., cum laude, Psychology, Appalachian State University, 2020
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Elise’s profound interest in helping others and problem-solving led her to join her university’s HR science research team, where she found her love for data analytics. There, she worked with faculty and graduate students to help solve HR-related issues using real-world data. While on the team, Elise focused on helping an organization whose aim was to increase academic performance and preparedness for postsecondary education in disadvantaged communities by creating a predictive model for student performance. To strengthen her abilities of assessing, manipulating, and understanding the data from the project, Elise pursued a statistics minor, where she learned concrete statistical concepts and R programming.

Elise served as a chapter president of her sorority, whose mission is centered around serving the community. As president, she pioneered a sequence of programs called the Well-rounded Women Series. This series aimed to help women with political and professional development, inform them about mental and physical health practices, and keep them up to date with current events. This leadership role granted her the opportunity to introduce the 2020 MLK Commemoration keynote speaker, Nikki Giovanni, a renowned poet and civil rights activist.

In her free time, Elise loves to travel and is always interested in experiencing new things. One of her main goals in life is to become fluent in Spanish to communicate with her family in Panama. Elise enjoys reading long novels, painting, and practicing photography. To stay active and healthy, Elise enjoys all types of dancing — something she has done since she was a little girl.

Daniel Hodge
B.S., cum laude, Marine Biology, College of Charleston, 2013
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Daniel’s love of learning started young with a passion for the natural sciences as he buried himself in books about animals and wildlife. This love of learning and the environment continued to influence Daniel as he pursued his undergraduate studies. As the only freshman accepted into an at-sea research experience, his time culminated in a professional presentation for the SC Academy of Sciences. Further academic awards and opportunities allowed Daniel to learn in an immersive at-sea environment two more times in his undergraduate years.

Following his schooling, Daniel pursued work opportunities that developed and strengthened his problem-solving skills in various roles and environments. Commissioned into the NOAA Officer Corps, Daniel worked at sea in a tight-quartered team’s environment focused on hydrographic mapping. In addition to his duties as a bridge watch officer, he took charge in roles outside his comfort zone, including firefighting and emergency medical training. His time in the Officer Corps introduced Daniel to basic data handling and inventory management, which set the trajectory of his professional goals.

Post-discharge, Daniel began to combine his love of learning and skills in problem-solving. With a goal of data-driven organization and analysis in mind, he worked within a team to restructure the company’s research cell banking process from the ground up. This allowed for faster and stronger insights within the department. Daniel continues to pursue his passion for tackling challenges and works to be an efficient and creative problem-solver.

Anastasia Horvat
B.A., magna cum laude, Mathematics, UNC–Asheville, 2021
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Anastasia’s fascination with data analytics stems from her ability to make sense of numbers and provide insight to a general audience. She views statistics not only as numbers, but the people and stories behind each one. As an undergraduate, she had the opportunity to learn and apply Q-methodology for a side project. She sorted through data pertaining to “Barriers to Teacher Leadership” and analyzed the results to determine the top three barriers teachers face in Asheville City Schools. This experience of using her analytical mindset to convey hidden stories about data gave her satisfaction in knowing she helped others, and she is eager to continue to uncover more stories.

Lessons from countless hours spent on the tennis court also molded Anastasia’s drive and resolve. From an early age, she quickly recognized opponents’ weaknesses and readjusted her strategies accordingly. Through her strong work ethic and perseverance, she fulfilled her childhood dream of playing tennis at the highest collegiate level. She led her college and high school tennis teams as a captain by prioritizing team collaboration to accomplish shared goals.

In her free time, Anastasia immerses herself in other cultures by watching various anime shows and Korean dramas. She looks forward to one day visiting Korea and Japan to watch all the stories from those shows come to life while soaking in the scenery. Anastasia also loves the peace and tranquility of the outdoors, so she frequently travels to the beach to stargaze and listen to the waves.

Trevor Hughes
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2021
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Every year, there is a lot at stake in Trevor’s fantasy football league. Obtaining bragging rights is something his competitive spirit cannot take lightly, so he connected his two loves of sports and mathematics at a young age by analyzing player statistics to gain the upper hand. From there, he branched out more into sports analytics while also diving deeper into the study of statistics. During his last year as an undergraduate, Trevor also conducted independent research that studied whether psychological momentum is present in the NFL.

Trevor’s impact on the field of data science extends beyond just sports. He used his analytical skills on countless projects for the Institute for Transportation Research and Education. In turn, Trevor produced results utilized by the NCDOT to make travel safer. One major project consisted of traveling North Carolina to collect seat belt usage statistics. The NCDOT used the team’s analysis to adjust their seat belt advertisement decisions.

Trevor exhibited leadership and interpersonal skills throughout college. As an ambassador for NC State’s College of Sciences, he successfully assisted incoming students who felt overwhelmed transitioning to college. While serving as the Society for Multicultural Scientists’ president, he guided the organization to new highs in member turnout, even while adapting to unforeseen obstacles triggered by the pandemic. Through his dedication to these roles, Trevor was recognized with the Lawrence Clark Leadership Award.

Carlos Huisa
B.S., Systems Engineering, Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Peru, 2018
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Carlos has over four years of experience in the analytics field as a data scientist. His ability to develop analytical models to solve business problems has helped him succeed in data-driven projects for the largest financial firms in Peru. In one of these projects, he developed a price elasticity predictive model to optimize loan interest rates, which added around one million dollars per year to the company.

One of Carlos’s greatest talents is his vision to solve complex problems analytically and efficiently. Since one of his hobbies is keeping up with new technologies, he is always ready to innovate when addressing business problems. For example, he pioneered the development of deep learning models using Python in the analytical department of the financial company, Interbank. Furthermore, Carlos has participated as a mentor to share his acquired knowledge about developing optimization models in Julia with an MIT consultancy. Through this experience, Carlos became a technical and analytical point of reference at the last company where he worked.

Aside from school and work, Carlos loves to travel to exotic places. Some of the places he has visited include Machu Picchu, the Nazca Lines, and the South American jungle city of Tarapoto. His adventurous spirit leads him to experience new cultures and try unique cuisines. A huge pet lover, Carlos and his fiancée enjoy spending their free time playing with their five cats.

Elaine Huspeni
M.B.A., University of Kansas, 2015
B.S., Chemistry, Stanford University, 2010
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From an early age, Elaine had a curious mind and a fascination with how science improves our daily lives. This inquisitiveness translated to an avid reading habit as well as countless messy experiments in the family kitchen. Elaine’s passion for science motivated her bachelor’s in chemistry, after which she joined Solum, a startup in the agricultural technology space.

Elaine’s experience with Solum was highly impactful. In addition to sparking an interest in entrepreneurship and scientific innovation, it also fostered a passion for data science. In a lean and fast-paced startup environment, Elaine began to grasp the relationships among technical product development, business strategy, and team building. Motivated to learn more about creating a successful and scalable business, Elaine received her MBA in 2015 and afterward returned to the agriculture sector and evaluated investments’ financial and technical viability.

Throughout her professional experiences, Elaine saw how deeply embedded data is in scientific, financial, and strategic business decisions and realized analytics would be a powerful boost to the critical-thinking skill set she had developed in her previous roles. She is eager to add more sophisticated analytical tools to her existing talent for solving problems and garnering insights that drive better decision-making at the intersection of technology and business.

In her free time, Elaine is an avid cook and enjoys improvising dishes with local, in-season produce. She also loves to enjoy the outdoors and beautiful North Carolina weather with her Newfoundland, Tinkerbell.

Ike Ingle
B.S.B.A., with Distinction, Business Administration, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2020
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At 15 years old, Ike began his lifelong journey as an entrepreneur by starting an e-commerce company that generated over $150,000 in sales. He developed flexibility and independence by successfully balancing both homeschool studies and business responsibilities. This venture also taught him problem-solving and teamwork skills by leading five part-time employees to aid in sourcing and distribution. Diving into this business’s data to improve profitability was where his passion for analytical problem-solving began.

Ike’s love for analytics flourished during his undergraduate degree at Kenan-Flagler Business School. In one of Ike’s favorite classes, he learned to navigate the data science pipeline alongside a team. This led him to realize that analytics connected his interests and talents perfectly. Analyzing Twitter sentiment and discovering the changing perceptions of consumers during COVID-19 illustrated a convincing example of the power of data. Furthermore, working within diverse teams was common at Kenan-Flagler, and Ike thrived in facilitating discussions and maximizing the individual strengths of team members. Throughout college, Ike also worked in insurance sales, where he continued developing his interpersonal skills while building a financial comparison model to convert more sales.

Ike’s passions outside of data and business typically revolve around nature and sports. He particularly loves to ski, cycle, and camp. Beyond that, playing and watching basketball and football has always been an integral part of Ike’s life. He especially enjoys sharpening his analytical skills through dynasty fantasy football, where sports and statistics combine.

Kari Jahnsen
B.S., Mathematical Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2019
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From spending hours on puzzles in kindergarten to guessing the culprit in Agatha Christie classics in high school, Kari has always loved investigating and solving problems. Studying mathematical economics in college was a natural next step to acquire the skills to ask, analyze, and answer all kinds of questions besides “whodunnit?”. After witnessing a recession in her home state, Kari specifically directed her curiosity towards economic research.

Kari explored her interest in economics and developed her quantitative skills through research and internships. As a research assistant for one of her professors, Kari worked on a project analyzing how retirement savings incentives have shifted over the last three decades. She also spent a summer examining tax policies ranging from foreign corporate income rules to organ donation credits. After graduating, she returned home and worked as a researcher for an economic development non-profit, where she studied the local-level impacts of the pandemic on industry and the labor force. These experiences allowed Kari to study a diverse range of topics while appreciating the usefulness of analytics in economic research.

Kari also brings her trademark inquisitiveness and dedication to her hobbies. As an avid hockey fan, she studies player statistics, follows trade speculation, and watches any game she can find. In the kitchen, Kari regularly experiments with recipes, from perfecting pumpkin pancakes to spicing up basic spaghetti. She also loves to spend time in nature, preferably on a laid-back hike.

Akbar Jamani
B.S., Psychology; Exercise and Sport Science, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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Akbar’s interest in data science and analytics flourished during his career at Cloudmed. As a Senior Consultant, Akbar led insurance payment data reviews for major healthcare providers to identify patterns in payment discrepancies, and he worked with providers to implement solutions to recover lost revenue. His work allowed him to develop a deep interest and appreciation for SQL and data manipulation techniques. As he refined his technical skills, Akbar learned to skillfully lead his project teams to turnaround success, and their reviews became some of the most profitable in the Atlanta office at the time. His exposure to analytical tools allowed him to see how proper data manipulation plays a role in organizational improvement, and he seeks to grow his skillset to continue to drive organizational change.

Akbar loves exploring the outdoors in his free time — whether it be biking around the trails in Atlanta, venturing out to national parks for scenic hikes, or exploring the city on foot. Running has always been Akbar’s passion. He ran cross country throughout college, has completed multiple marathons – including the Boston Marathon — and was heavily involved in Frontrunners, an international LGBT running group. He served as a lead for the 2019 and 2021 Atlanta Pride Run with Frontrunners, which raised record funds of over $30K in 2021 for local AIDS organizations.

Samuel Jasper
B.S., summa cum laude, Chemical Engineering, NC State University, 2017
B.S., summa cum laude, Textile Engineering, NC State University, 2017
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Sam developed a passion for analytics and leadership throughout his past four years at Epic Systems, an electronic healthcare record company. While supporting extract-transform-load (ETL) management and SQL database administration, Sam learned the importance of how robust database architectures ensure high availability for customer systems. He recognized how thoughtful analytics could save lives after helping customers develop a registry for COVID-19-related reporting and implementing a predictive model for the early detection of sepsis. Throughout his tenure at Epic, Sam evaluated and mentored five employees as a team leader, administered over 100 internal SQL Server databases as a workgroup lead, and compiled a customer success report for leadership from multiple key performance indicators.

Before working at Epic, Sam learned the importance of persistence through two months of material composition and performance testing for lithium-ion batteries. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation later recognized his outstanding research on improving the conductivity and cycling stability of lithium-ion batteries. In 2016, Sam became one of 36 named scholars for his ambition, self-motivation, and persistence.

Outside of work, Sam can be found cycling in his hometown or hiking through scenic state parks. Sam combined his interests in cycling and volunteering by biking 4,000 miles from Virginia Beach, VA to Portland, OR in support of a nonprofit organization after his first year of college. This 11-week adventure taught him the importance of being self-driven, the valuable camaraderie of an effective team, and how massive challenges can be solved via persistent, incremental steps.

James Jeong
B.A., Asian History, Yonsei University, 2010
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James’ motto to “live boldly, push yourself, and do not settle” allows him to achieve great results. Using an analytical approach, he set a goal of minimizing ingredient expenses at the two restaurants he managed. After taking statistics courses and learning regression analysis, James applied his skills by modeling the relationship between total sales and ingredient amounts, which resulted in a decrease in ingredient costs by 150%. This analytical problem solving of a real-world business case was the pivotal moment that brought him into the world of data analysis.

Devising analytical solutions has become second nature to James whenever a challenge arises at work. To overcome a decline in restaurant sales, he performed cluster analysis for customer segmentation to target applicable customers for lunchtime promotions, resulting in $12,000 additional monthly profits. Handling the diminishing percentage of client retention as a tax specialist, James conducted a logistic regression analysis classifying clients to raise the probability of sales call success, resulting in a 30% increase. He also analyzed client characteristics, providing office management with insights into the key improvements for client marketing strategies.

Outside of work and school, James enjoys nature by hiking mountains and relaxing at the beach with a psychology book in hand. James is passionate about biomechanics and has been teaching himself the basic movements of weightlifting while developing a better understanding of body motion.

Sicheng Jia
Bachelor of Economics and Finance, First Class Honours, University of Hong Kong, 2020
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Using his diverse academic and professional background, Sicheng aspires to become an analyst who can make data talk. During his undergraduate study at the University of Hong Kong, he held first-honored academic standing and maintained his passion for STEM subjects by pursuing a minor in chemistry. He also focused on integrated courses such as analytical chemistry.

Sicheng’s experience in self-driven interdisciplinary study lit an inextinguishable spark in analytics. He found that data are telling fascinating stories covered by an opaque and mysterious veil, and he believes that all it takes to remove the veil is being resourceful. In his view, the ubiquity of data requires a deep understanding of analytics and extensive industry knowledge, such as in finance and the energy sector.

Witnessing the rapid growth of cloud solutions and online marketing, Sicheng took up the responsibility of divisional product liaison at Chow Tai Fook. He monitored, screened, and reported over 1,000 popular merchandise SKUs to the Cloud Sales Team based on short-term momentum, branch-based visits, and corporate prospects. Sicheng also maintained due diligence on product information and price accuracy with a customer-centric approach, for which he was recognized as a detail-attentive employee.
Inspired by the beauty of Chinese calligraphy, Sicheng enjoys the serenity brought by variable strokes interweaving into characters. He is also a keen hiker, discovering the globe with every step forward.

Nikita Jumani
B.S., Finance; Information Systems, University of Maryland, College Park, 2018
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Due to her passion for storytelling through visualization, Nikita believes that data make answering questions simple. After pursuing a degree in finance and information systems, Nikita was intrigued by the idea of applying big data analytics in the financial sector. Nikita worked at JPMorgan Chase for three years, and in her most recent role as a Finance Data and Insights Associate, she turned raw data into business decisions. Nikita built Tableau dashboards to track key performance indicators through all digital channels within Chase, which benefited over 60 users and reduced 20 hours of work monthly. Through her analysis, she obtained novel insights about the performance of mobile app metrics over time and how this impacted the bottom line.

During her time at Chase, what Nikita found most rewarding was building robust Alteryx workflows that combined complex data structures and eliminated manual reporting. Nikita automated data across various sources and provided business users with real-time financial reports. Nikita’s attention to detail, along with her intellectual curiosity, fuels her desire to be a life-long learner as she continues to apply herself to new environments.

Aside from immersing herself in data through her work, Nikita enjoys traveling to different countries to experience a broad variety of cultures and food. Her dream is to live in Spain for a few years and become fluent in Spanish. In her free time, she enjoys recharging through creative writing and reading.

Will Keegan
B.A., Economics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2021
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After a summer in the capital city of El Salvador, Will realized that he wanted to make a change in the world. Spending so much time doing impactful work showed him that he wanted to learn how to leverage his skills and maximize his ability to help others and make a difference. The following year at UNC-Chapel Hill, he took a class called Introduction to Poverty and saw tangible ways people used their resources to help others, including cash transfers, accessible loans, education, and more. This was the first time he was able to use data analysis and see its effects in the real world.

Starting in the summer of 2020 and extending into his final year of college, Will worked as a Research Analyst at HelioCampus, a company focused on data analysis in the realm of higher education. Through working on a team and multiple projects varying in scope, Will not only saw how drastically useful analytics could be, but he also experienced how to be an efficient team member in a client-facing environment. Specifically, he learned about understanding the right questions to ask, understanding the goals of the analysis, implementing solutions from end-to-end, and clearly communicating the results to an audience.

When he is not working with data, Will loves to play soccer, be outside, exercise, and spend time with his wife, Laura, and his puppy, Wanda.

Daniel Kim
B.S., cum laude, Mechanical Engineering, NC State University, 2016
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Daniel’s approach to analytical challenges is inspired by the problem-solving skills honed in his engineering background combined with an innate sense of creativity. Ever since Daniel became interested in analytics, he has seen data as raw music notes and analytical tools as instruments that transform the notes into a harmonious melody. He enjoys illustrating powerful stories with data and injects color, liveliness, and personality into every endeavor.

Daniel has worked as a product development engineer for the past five years, where he quickly proved himself to be a reliable and effective team member. His adaptable approach earned the confidence of his peers, and he was entrusted with the management of new product development, cost-savings, design work, and utility projects. He made long-lasting relationships at the workplace, and his co-workers described him as ambitious and dependable. As a personable and charismatic presence, Daniel brought an unmatched energy to meetings and was asked to represent the company numerous times in technical presentations to outside parties. In addition, Daniel was able to use data analytics to save the company over $50,000 in a single cost-saving project.

When Daniel is not immersed in learning, he loves to express his creativity through music. He loves recording music in his bedroom studio and can be found rocking to Jimi Hendrix solos on his electric guitar or playing Vivaldi Spring on the violin. Daniel also enjoys snowboarding in the Appalachian Mountains or cycling in the beautiful scenery of North Carolina.

Moriah Kimel
B.S., summa cum laude, Textile Engineering, NC State University, 2019
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Moriah is a life-long learner who is passionate about dedicating her work to improve life for others. This passion, coupled with her technical background, led her to work as a Quality Engineer at a class III cardiovascular medical device startup company during an active clinical trial. Not only was Moriah responsible for final quality checks of all products, but she also led the customized configuration and launch of a new Quality Management System in order to automate, extract, and track metrics from various production processes. This experience, along with her coursework in Six Sigma using JMP and a simulation modeling course, strengthened her desire to pursue data analytics. She hopes to be a voice of truth through the practice of data analytics and use her written and verbal communication skills to share data in meaningful ways to help make thoughtful decisions.

Along with helping others, Moriah is committed to bettering herself. She seeks material from researchers in emotional intelligence to continuously improve her interpersonal skills in order to have more meaningful interactions with others. One of Moriah’s biggest strengths is her empathy, which she utilizes in each of her connections to learn from others’ experiences.

In addition to reading nonfiction and listening to storytelling podcasts, Moriah enjoys hiking, adoring her two cats, trying out new crafts, and spending time with the tiny humans of the world, who remind her what true joy is.

Andrea King
B.A., Economics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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Dre’s love of statistical analysis originated from her undergraduate career at UNC-Chapel Hill. She was naturally drawn to the statistics side of her economics major, and her studies centered around regression analysis. During her senior year, Dre was inspired by the waves of current events and decided to focus her research papers on those controversial topics. She analyzed immigration trends to the U.S. as well as racial disparities within the U.S. justice system. Dre sought to suspend opinion and seek real insight on public interest topics, which further fueled her passion for the pursuit of factual insight from data.

Prior to pursuing graduate education, Dre worked with a new and rapidly expanding law firm and was promoted to Western Regional Manager after her first year with the company. Using her creativity and initiative, Dre thrived in the new position and constantly sought ways to improve business efficiency. She accomplished this by serving as the admin team’s primary source of information for her region as well as operating as the attorneys’ paralegal. As a paralegal, she managed high-level cases and directly addressed complications that arose. Though she greatly enjoyed the complexity of her position, Dre was especially in awe of how data analytics contributed to this budding business’s success. This reignited her desire to pursue higher education in analytics.

Outside of analytics, Dre enjoys painting, watching historical documentaries, and connecting with people from diverse backgrounds.

Alex Kramer
B.S., cum laude, Chemical Engineering, NC State University, 2019
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Alex found his passion for critical thinking and problem solving in a high-stress environment as an automation engineer commissioning first-of-a-kind pharmaceutical equipment at Pfizer. He analyzed process data collected from startups that enabled decisions to be made swiftly and definitively. This efficiency and automation to deliver real-world applications led Alex to data science. To further his newfound passion, he began taking statistics classes at NC State and programming classes online.

Alex brings a unique perspective to data analytics through his background in engineering. While at pharmaceutical sites, he led software acceptance testing, which involved troubleshooting on the fly, creating original solutions, and interfacing with technical and non-technical departments. Alex then transitioned to a small team lead during projects at Biogen and Pfizer. His calm demeanor and empathy for everyone are his most important traits as a leader and team player.

Outside of work, Alex loves fantasy football, outdoor recreational activities, and quality time with his wife trying new restaurants. Alex even created a fantasy football game that he coded in Excel, and the goal is to choose a team each week to win by the most points. His favorite sport is disc golf, and he has been to over 25 courses spanning North Carolina and South Carolina.

Mallory LaRusso
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2021
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Mallory’s passion for analytics started unintentionally in her youth. Her dad, an avid fan of the Buffalo Bills, would watch every game with her. Together, they would record data on each player, identify trends, and attempt to predict the next move. After taking her first statistics class, Mallory realized that she could turn her hobby into a career. With this new direction, Mallory could not wait to pursue analytics in industry, so she fast-tracked her academic career and graduated college a year early.

The magic of data storytelling captivates Mallory. While working as a year-round intern at SAS, Mallory told the story of how SAS integrates with open-source programs using Viya. After gathering 1.5 million coronavirus genome sequences, she utilized Python for data manipulation and mutation identification and SAS for forecasting and visualizations. Mallory completed similar work in her undergraduate research, where she analyzed seldom-studied megaviruses to locate mutations and create phylogenetic trees.

Outside of analytics, Mallory loves staying active. After putting in many hours at NC State’s gym, she got a leadership position there supervising 25 students. She was responsible for leading monthly meetings, hiring and training employees, and communicating clearly with students, faculty, and members. The leadership experience and soft skills she cultivated allow her to excel as an analyst. In May 2021, Mallory earned the “Leader of the Year” award from NC State’s Student Leadership and Engagement office. Mallory’s other interests include watching musicals, playing clarinet in marching band, and continuing to cheer on the Bills.

Paul Lentz
M.S., Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration, State University of New York College at Buffalo, 2018
B.S., Mass Communications, State University of New York College at Oneonta, 2014
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Paul’s collaborative leadership style and strong quantitative ability made it an easy decision to pursue a career in data science. His interest in analytics started when he was a graduate student at the State University of New York College at Buffalo. While completing his research, Paul was fascinated by the rich storytelling potential that data have. This interest stayed with him when he started his professional career at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

While at UNC Greensboro, Paul managed a diverse group of employees to help deliver on the university’s mission, vision, and values. He led quantitative analytical projects to improve staff recruitment equity by finding discrepancies in the recruitment process. He also wrote an article on best practices for assessment that was published in the Southeastern Association of Housing Officers Report and recognized as the Feature Article of the Year. For his work on analytical projects, Paul was awarded the Excellence in Assessment Award from the Division of Student Affairs.

In his free time, Paul loves being active, especially playing volleyball and soccer, which he has played his whole life. His love of trivia also finds him visiting many local breweries and pubs, trying to take home the prize. Additionally, Paul spent a year volunteering with Habitat for Humanity through AmeriCorps and still enjoys giving back to his community. He also enjoys playing with dogs, particularly the three he lives with — Griff, Skipp, and Darwin.

Mingming Li
Bachelor of Management, Logistics Management, Shanghai Maritime University, China, 2018
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Working for three years at a talent management consulting firm instilled in Mingming an intensive business instinct and ignited his passion for data science. As an operations analyst there, he processed and visualized data for business planning. For example, he designed effective promotion strategies for the sales team by analyzing the relationships among record sales, service scopes, and customer types.

In his second year as an operations analyst, Mingming extended his working scope to KPI management by cooperating with colleagues across departments. His co-workers recognized him as a true team player when he was leading the incentive implementation project, and he was able to achieve the signed target with high quality before each cut-off. Moreover, Mingming questioned the current systems and dug more deeply than required, extracting and testing ideas from observed data. As a result, he improved the incentive schemes, which motivated salespeople and consultants to maximize their outcomes.

During his time off, Mingming enjoys translating, which gives him a brand new way to understand cultural diversity. He learned plenty of slang from watching American TV, like The Big Bang Theory. To practice his interpretation skills, Mingming signed up for the consecutive interpretation tests. He passed the intermediate-level examination, and now he is working on the high-level exam.

Brandon Lin
Master of Industrial Engineering, NC State University, 2021
B.S.S.E., magna cum laude, Systems Engineering, UNC–Charlotte, 2019
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Whether during work or between video game sessions, Brandon often loses track of time when he is engaged in data-related projects. He discovered his passion for data science and its application in industrial engineering during his internships with Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals and Honda Aero, Inc. At Novo Nordisk, Brandon worked on projects to reduce differences in efficiency between shifts on a packaging line. He created a Tableau dashboard that could notify any major differences in utilization between shifts and identify areas in the packaging line that should be investigated.

While at Honda Aero, Inc., Brandon conducted a capability analysis to decide if testing and inspection of jet engine parts could be reduced to create more time for production. Brandon also created new standard operating procedures on production lines to improve the data collection on errors and eliminate mistakes in manual data collection.

Outside of work and academics, Brandon often plays video games with his friends online and creates dashboards to monitor their performance and mark areas of improvement in their gameplay. He also enjoys playing volleyball or other fast-paced team sports.

Sunny Lin
B.S., Biomedical Engineering, NC State University, 2012
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Taking full advantage of the American dream, Sunny has turned her passion for creating opportunities and equality into a career as an entrepreneur, a reality television star, and a product manager. In 2013, a retired FedEx truck ad sent her down a path to building a food truck and competing on Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Sunny’s team was the first all-female team to win — and in 2017, her food truck became a restaurant: MOFU Shoppe. Both experiences taught her about small business operations and leadership. Later, as a product manager, she developed visionary skills, helping professional women leap discriminatory hurdles to meet their career goals. In this role, Sunny began to understand the impact and ability of data to bring equality to marginalized people. Whether she was exploring how mothers were managing work-life balance during the pandemic or how to customize an app experience for frustrated job seekers, Sunny found joy in piecing the puzzle together through data analysis.

Sunny’s leadership style is highly collaborative, and she is fiercely loyal to her colleagues. She is a savvy communicator who quickly acclimates to new opportunities and forms productive business relationships. The energy from her team is what grounds her.

Sunny’s passions and dreams also expand beyond her professional goals. She loves spending time with her husband and son, who teach her patience, curiosity, and love. She also enjoys the physical and mental challenges of rock climbing, snowboarding, and playing soccer.

Louise Lindegaard
B.S., with Distinction, Chemistry; Geography, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2019
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Louise discovered her love for data while creating colorful maps of unfamiliar places. As a geospatial consultant, she helped students comb through the many challenges of working with spatial data. This exposed her to hundreds of geospatial applications and helped deepen her understanding of data analysis. She took the knowledge gained in this role and wrote an honors thesis on reforestation trends in Southern Malawi that the geography department later awarded highest honors. Extracting statistical insights using R from the data she collected in Malawi proved an exciting challenge and inspired her to pursue data science as a career.

As a data specialist at the EPA, Louise expanded her repertoire of data types while working on a database of toxicological references. This collection of peer-reviewed literature strives to improve public transparency on the information behind EPA’s chemical regulations. Louise used SQL to parse through the extensive database, pulled reports for data cleaning, and learned about the complexities of database management. She also gained valuable experience managing a team to generate tutorial videos on the database’s services.

An enthusiast of the outdoors, Louise enjoys spending her free time running with her dogs around the lake, hiking mountains far from cell service, skiing powder days, or planning new adventures. Louise’s curiosity for experiencing and learning from people of different backgrounds pulled her to Australia, where she lived and worked for a year. This time abroad kindled her passion for unique experiences, foods, and conversations.

Matthew Little
B.S., with Highest Distinction, Psychology, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2014
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For every challenge, Matt applies his reliable work ethic, problem-solving mindset, and goal-oriented attitude. These qualities allowed him to excel as a psychology honors thesis researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill. His work on employing persuasive narratives to increase the likelihood of readers adopting healthier lifestyles led to his interest in using quantitative methods to improve the health and well-being of society. Matt’s excitement for data analytics grew as he realized the need for data-driven decision making to meet the challenges of improving health outcomes and lowering costs for patients receiving healthcare.

Matt is driven to utilize data analytics to tackle challenging and multifaceted problems in a collaborative environment. As an IT analyst at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, Matt organized data on help tickets, reviewed trends based on ticket origin and classification, and developed ServiceNow dashboards for real-time reporting. He served on multiple committees, providing management and stakeholders with data-oriented, strategic perspectives on improving workflow efficiency and overall IT service delivery. In addition to Matt’s ability to communicate technical concepts to employees at all levels, his subject matter expertise and understanding of big-picture strategic goals made him an essential asset to organizational leadership.

In his free time, Matt enjoys building computers, deducing mystery novel solutions, and attending concerts and comic conventions. Matt is truly in his element when embarking on breathtaking hikes at state and national parks, paddling through serene bodies of water, and skiing down beautiful mountain slopes.

Yue Liu
M.S.E.E., Electrical Engineering, UNC–Charlotte, 2010
B.S., Electronic Information Engineering, Beijing University of Technology, China, 2004
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As an intellectually curious kid, Yue repaired bicycles and disassembled radio boxes with his dad’s help. This drive to know how things worked led to his job as a Staff Hardware Engineer at Extreme Networks, a high-tech telecommunications company where he worked for over ten years. There, he gained extensive experience in designing and testing networking hardware as well as project management and coordination. Yue was involved in and led multiple projects through the entire development cycle while working closely with cross-functional teams and offshore partners. His manager and teammates have highly recognized Yue’s dedication to work, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills.

During his job, Yue dealt with large amounts of test data. He found that data collection and analytics played a key role in the success of the projects. In one of the projects he led, Yue processed the test data and built a closed-loop algorithm for the networking switch they developed, significantly improving the system performance and making the product much more competitive in the market. Since then, Yue has developed a strong interest in learning more about data analytics.

In his spare time, Yue enjoys jogging, swimming, spending time with family and friends, and working on his house projects in the garage and yard. He is always looking for opportunities to expand his knowledge and take on new challenges for self-development.

Jonathan Luettgen
B.S., Secondary Education (Mathematics), Pennsylvania State University, 2016
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For the past five years, Jon collected, analyzed, and made data-driven decisions in his career as a high school math teacher and year-round cross country and track assistant coach. Frequent benchmark quizzes led to instructional adjustments, and workouts and performance lists were analyzed to create race plans and goal times. Over 13 seasons, the teams he led won two regional championships, finished in the top five at states nine times, and won six individual state titles.

While math was always Jon’s favorite subject in school, his interest in statistics and analytics started during college after reading How to Lie with Statistics and How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. Jon was intrigued by the short stories in How Not to Be Wrong, including one story about adding armor to aircraft in World War II based on incomplete data and another about MIT students in 2012 taking advantage of a miscalculation in Massachusetts’ WinFall lottery. Overall, the books challenge conventional problem-solving methods and expanded Jon’s critical thinking toolbox.

Before work, Jon enjoys training for and racing distances from 5k to half-marathon. During evenings and weekends, Jon also likes tending to his vegetable garden, cooking to maintain his running habit, and rooting for the Philadelphia Phillies. Other interests include space exploration and rockets, catalyzed by a trip to Kennedy Space Center for a Falcon 9 launch in June of 2017.

Valerie Luo
B.S.(Hon.), with High Distinction, Mathematics and Physics, University of Toronto, Canada, 2019
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Growing up, Valerie was a curious child who constantly questioned the world around her. In her high school physics class, she discovered the answers to many of her questions could be explained using numbers and mathematical equations. She was deeply intrigued and went on to pursue math and physics in her undergraduate studies. While doing research and experiments, Valerie realized that the elegant equations she saw in textbooks were actually the culmination of years of diligent data collection and analysis; thus, her interest in data analytics began.

After graduating in 3.5 years from a rigorous undergraduate program, Valerie worked as a consultant at Deloitte Canada. There, she specialized in building innovative data solutions using Python, cloud computing, and integrating technologies like computer vision and social listening to help clients answer challenging business questions. Through her high performance and sharp problem-solving skills, Valerie quickly made her way to Senior Consultant in one year’s time. Valerie helped many of her coworkers and clients develop better data processing workflows, reports, and dashboards, and she was often the go-to contact for help with data analytics and visualizations.

In her free time, Valerie loves to travel, try new cuisines, and hone her photography and drawing skills. Valerie also enjoys winter sports, such as skiing and ice skating. She used to be on the Carolina Ice Synchro team and competed in national synchronized figure skating competitions.

Smita Mahapatra
M.Sc., Applied Quantitative Finance, Madras School of Economics, India, 2016
B.A., with Distinction, Economics and Statistics, St. Xavier College, India, 2014
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Smita realized her passion for data analysis during her undergraduate studies. What started as an interest in understanding economic paradigms through statistics catapulted her successful career as a data scientist in India. Through analytics, Smita aspires to contribute, not just in corporate and industrial settings but also in sectors with broader societal impact, such as healthcare, environment, and policy.

Over the last five years, Smita played a pivotal role in building the foundation of big data and analytics divisions for two of India’s largest conglomerates: Tata and Aditya Birla Group. She demonstrated a strong ability to drive change and influence stakeholders by implementing ground-breaking work in largely traditional organizations. Smita was particularly instrumental in demand planning, building complex forecasting, and optimizing algorithms to enhance supply chain efficiencies. In one project, she led a team in successfully developing machine learning models to automate S&OP for a $500 million manufacturing business. Additionally, Smita is a strong communicator with a reputation for quality work, and she was entrusted with leading critical projects that involved direct interactions with clients and stakeholders. Her skill set has earned her many professional awards, such as the “Rising Star in Analytics” award amongst 3000+ nominees by the 3AI Association, India’s largest platform for AI professionals.

Smita has trekked in the Himalayas and dived in the Indian Ocean, and she hopes to someday conquer more challenging terrains. She also likes to exercise her right brain by creating artwork with different media, including paint, ink, and charcoal.

Hope Mamboleo
B.S., cum laude, Mathematics Education, NC State University, 2018
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When Hope designed high school math lessons, she enjoyed highlighting data-driven investigations and creating time for solution interpretability. To personalize her students’ learning experiences, increase engagement, and maximize their achievement, Hope gathered, maintained, analyzed, and communicated the trends from students’ progress. Cautious about detecting anomalies, she utilized equitable practices like learning about each student prior to making customized learning experiences. For Hope, success was defined by how comfortably her students interpreted the lesson’s objectives using their own narratives.

Hope’s supervisors described her as engaging, empathetic, and curious. Working in a multicultural environment, Hope prioritized inclusion and appreciation for each team member as a unique individual. She organized a quarterly enrichment day for her students, focusing on reflection, guided self-assessment, and goal setting. Hope’s dynamic work environment also showed her that time management was the key to success.

Funded by the NSF, Hope completed research at Illinois State University in the summer of 2017, where she worked with high school pupils to explore graph theory. The search and interpretation of the diverse graphical findings fueled discussions for applications in infrastructure and network systems. The experience nourished Hope’s affinity for focusing on the interpretation of the data.

Hope’s passion for data science lies in finding interpretable results and the stories embedded within them. In her quest, she enjoys collaborating with fellow problem solvers to address social issues. Her most recent collaborative projects include a voting-rights literacy campaign with You-Can-Vote and an equitable housing data-wrangling hackathon entitled Hack for Housing.

Susan Manner
M.A., with Distinction, Mathematics Education, Depaul University, 2002
B.S.–Teaching, magna cum laude, Mathematics, Winona State University, 1997
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From maintaining a list of her cleanest pennies by year and mint as a child to her various careers as a yoga instructor, jewelry creator, and mathematics teacher, Sue has always loved data. Looking for trends in her yoga class attendance, jewelry sales, student grades, and gaps in her penny collection appealed to her analytical mind. For instance, Sue enjoyed using Excel spreadsheets in her yoga business to keep track of attendance and demand to create the broadest schedule possible while maintaining a desired student density in her classes.

After many years teaching high school math, Sue stepped back from teaching to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors by earning a yoga teacher certification and opening an Etsy business selling her handcrafted, stone-beaded jewelry. While Sue loved the creativity involved in beading and choreographing her yoga classes, she also missed the deeper critical thinking she had utilized teaching calculus. Contemplating her fondness for data and problem solving, Sue considered data analytics as a career and began intensively studying Python. Realizing her aptitude with coding, Sue sees data analytics as a calling that uses her strengths in mathematics, teaching, problem-solving, and creativity.

Sue takes pleasure in many of her interests while traveling and prioritizes taking a yoga class during many vacations. She delights in the local cuisine at each destination and takes copious photographs of her adventures, creating photo albums from trips taken to 17 countries so far.

Nate McClintock
B.S., with Distinction, Mathematical Decision Sciences; Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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Nate discovered his love for data science when he saw how it combines his desire for real-world solutions with his affinity for mathematics. After graduation, he worked as a marketing specialist at a holiday décor company. There, his skills in statistical programming streamlined many manual tasks, such as yearly revenue build-ups or analyses on marketing campaign budgets through statistical programming in R.

In his personal life, Nate loves literature and fantasy series, which he connects with data science when possible. For example, he created a machine-learning algorithm (K nearest-neighbors) to predict character deaths in the hit series Game of Thrones when he was an undergraduate at UNC. Nate attributes his affinity for books to the after-school programs he participated in as an elementary student. As an adult, Nate volunteers with a local after-school literacy program to give kids the same opportunities he had growing up. Nate also used his data science skills to create Google Studio dashboards for a California-based literacy non-profit to share the program’s impact on students.

Outside of data science, Nate enjoys cooking spicy dishes from cultures around the world. He also collects maps and atlases and displays his collection prominently around his apartment.

Nils Menz
B.S., summa cum laude, Textile Engineering, NC State University, 2021
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From an early age, Nils’ love of math pushed him towards a career in the sciences. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in textile engineering, Nils was introduced to the world of statistical analysis, particularly the Lean Six Sigma method. An internship at Atex, a leading medical textile manufacturer, allowed Nils to put his knowledge to the test through participation in several process optimization projects. This experience of running time trials and testing iterative improvements to manufacturing methods made Nils eager to learn more about data science and earned him a Six Sigma Green Belt.

After his internship, Nils was selected to work on an undergraduate capstone project that allowed him to continue exploring the use of data in industry. The project’s focus was to test and refine the manufacturing process for disposable medical gowns. This was accomplished by analyzing step-by-step time data and optimizing the flow. The result was a process that reduced the complexity of the gown manufacturing by up to 25%.

Outside of studying, Nils enjoys exploring famous hikes around the nation, primitive camping, and cheering on his favorite soccer teams (Come on, England!). Marathon running has also been one of Nils’ passions, challenging him to push his mind and body and discover his potential. He has already completed the Boston Marathon and looks forward to running the New York Marathon in 2022.

Jack Meullenet
B.A., summa cum laude, Economics, University of Arkansas, 2021
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In a freshman-year economics class, Jack discovered the importance of creativity in quantitative fields when he learned how researchers could increase the reliability of economic data by measuring economic growth through satellite images of nightlight. This example opened up a new world of possibilities for him.

Throughout Jack’s undergraduate career, he took pride in his creativity when trying to synthesize information. After his sophomore year, he completed a congressional internship, where he used Congressional Research Service reports, case studies, and even interviews to compile a report that convinced his representative to cosponsor bills on Veterans’ healthcare and arbitration law. Shortly after the beginning of the pandemic, Jack briefly joined PPEHotline as a volunteer, where he hunted down emerging data sources to evaluate COVID-19 comorbidities. While writing his undergraduate thesis on the relationship between cryptocurrency and GPU markets, Jack used data from disparate sources — online marketplaces, Github pages, and 2009 forum posts — to help explain why some computers became more expensive in 2018.

Jack loves to get outside, usually by mountain biking. He enjoys finding new trails, especially in his native Arkansas, and he thinks getting lost on them is exhilarating. Jack is also a dedicated reader who is always trying to learn about economics, basketball, and soccer, and he also occasionally enjoys an Isaac Asimov book.

Aidan Miller
B.S., with Distinction, Statistics and Analytics; Economics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2021
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Parking lots are sources of frustration for most people; however, as an analyst for the Chapel Hill parking startup, Float, Aidan found data inspiration by improving its business model. At Float, he leveraged R to create a pricing algorithm that determined parking space values based on distance and property appraisals. This work experience, combined with hands-on research projects in sports analytics and data science classes, catalyzed his deep interest in transforming data into positive outcomes.

Following his junior year at UNC, Aidan had the opportunity to bring his analytics background to a higher education marketing firm, VisionPoint Marketing. There, he learned from industry leaders about how to harness data insights in branding, marketing, and website development. He created pathways to clean and merge data, analyzing click-through rates and impressions to translate metrics into identifiable growth points for the analytics team.

Born into a family of avid soccer players, Aidan has been playing soccer since he could walk. On the field, Aidan developed personal skills, including flexibility and creativity, and he gained valuable experience in preparing for any situation and pivoting whenever needed. Being a member of a team taught him how to collaborate effectively and lead with empathy and how to work with others towards a creative solution. Aidan loves watching soccer in his free time; if he is not on the field, he is probably cheering on his favorite team: Arsenal F.C.

Kate Mills
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2021
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“Stay curious.” This principle led Kate from her interest in mathematics to exploring applied statistics to focusing on analytics. As an undergraduate, Kate could have graduated in three years, but her curiosity compelled her to explore more upper-level statistics electives, such as using multiple linear regression to research how high school performance and demographics affect postsecondary enrollment trends in NC. Her curiosity, statistical training, and computer programming skills allow her to extract and examine data, as she did when she utilized occupancy modeling to predict the future distribution of the Neuse River waterdog her senior year.

Alongside her studies, Kate utilized her curious drive during her year-long internship at RTI International. She started in a part-time role in their quality office, implementing and analyzing an internal survey. Kate then received the Shelton Jones Internship in Statistics, where she researched methods to improve address-based sampling techniques and was offered an extension into the fall of 2020 to continue her research.

Kate’s curiosity extends beyond statistics and programming. Kate was a member of Kappa Delta Sorority, where she served as the Vice President of Finances and as an Academic Excellence chairperson. Kate also took advantage of studying abroad in Prague — she visited eight countries, highlighted by a Women’s World Cup game in Paris. Most recently, she completed a 23-day cross-country camping trip, visiting ten National Parks. In school, on the job, and in her free time, Kate’s inquisitive and analytical nature is her driving force.

Timothy Milowic
M.S., Mathematics, NC State University, 2020
B.S., summa cum laude, Mathematics, NC State University, 2018
B.A., summa cum laude, Physics, NC State University, 2018
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Ever since his first competition to finish the 12×12 multiplication table in his father’s fourth-grade classroom, Tim was hooked on math. As an undergraduate, he developed his passion for math and physics into a strong foundation for problem solving and creative thinking. Tim furthered his mathematics studies in graduate school, where he advanced his coding skills through projects such as SIR disease modeling, parameter estimation using the DRAM algorithm, and heat diffusion modeling. These projects sparked an avid interest in analyzing and modeling data.

While in school, Tim had the opportunity to improve his interpersonal skills as a server at a local restaurant. During his time there, Tim cultivated his public speaking and leadership skills and developed a reputation for being a dependable, amiable team member. His efforts were recognized, and Tim was promoted to bartender and regularly trained new employees.

As an Eagle Scout, Tim is passionate about the outdoors and staying active. He enjoys hiking with friends in Umstead State Park or with his son in the woods behind his house. Tim also hopes to complete an Ironman triathlon within the next two years. Tim’s other hobbies include playing classical and new-age piano, basketball, volleyball, and chess — which he has played since he was five.

Dan Minkler
B.S., summa cum laude, Chemical Engineering, NC State University, 2012
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Dan is fascinated by the discoveries that can be realized through analytics. This passion was sparked by his experiences developing and optimizing processes as an engineer in the pharmaceutical industry. Throughout his career, Dan has excelled at designing and executing data-gathering experiments. Through analyzing both existing datasets and those he generated himself, Dan has extracted numerous key insights and converted them into meaningful process improvements.

As a process engineer at Merck, Dan leveraged rigorous statistical tools such as DOE and multilinear regression to improve the purities, yields, and speed of manufacturing routes. After transitioning to a Raleigh-based pharma company, he took a leadership role as the primary process engineer for a technical development team. There, he applied his myriad data-focused technical skills to turn process improvement ideas into a seven-figure return on investment.

As Dan’s goals and interests increasingly centered around the data aspects of his career, he decided to pursue higher education to expand and bolster his credentials. Dan is eager to engage his engineering background and analytics acumen to deliver unique insights as a data scientist.

When not analyzing data, Dan plays guitar with his rock band and enjoys learning new instruments and audio production techniques. An avid coffee connoisseur, he is always scoping out the best coffee houses and roasteries during his travels. Though NYC is perhaps Dan’s favorite destination, he loves exploring new cities and countries whenever the opportunity arises.

Kevin Mitchell
B.S., Computer Science, UNC–Charlotte, 2020
B.S., magna cum laude, Mathematics, UNC–Charlotte, 2020
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At 18, Kevin left everything he knew to spend 14 months learning Spanish and working with the poorest communities in Honduras. Kevin returned from this commitment motivated to study a discipline that would engage him intellectually and allow him to develop practical humanitarian solutions.

Kevin always sought to better understand the world around him. Learning about ideas such as cosmic inflation or Plato’s cave in his adolescence, he recognized science and philosophy for the powerful sense-making tools they offered. When he took a machine-learning class in college, he saw how data science, like science and philosophy, could be used to better model and understand the world.

Now intrigued by data science, Kevin worked on a computer vision project with a bioinformatician at Thomas Jefferson University. He implemented a neural network that classifies different types of RNA molecules based on their geometric structures. He and his team presented the work to leading data science professionals in Charlotte, NC. Alongside Ph.D. computer science candidates, Kevin also researched the efficacy of a neural network to identify error signals generated by the brain. Ultimately, he replicated the findings of cutting-edge research in the field of brain computer interfaces.

Kevin enjoys creating 3D art, hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, and running the greenways of Raleigh. Kevin is also an Eagle Scout and a nationally certified EMT. When not spending time with friends or family, he is likely thirty Google Chrome tabs deep into understanding a physics concept or a new 3D rendering technology.

Jelena Mitrovic
Master of Psychology, University of Novi Sad, Serbia, 2017
Bachelor of Psychology, University of Novi Sad, Serbia, 2016
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One of Jelena’s passions is finding stories. She believes that through curiosity and an open mind, every single data point has a story to tell that is just waiting to be found. Her academic search for stories has resulted in 13 scientific conferences and a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. She continued this search in the professional setting by analyzing public opinion and market research data for one of the largest market research and consulting companies in Serbia, creating numerous actionable reports aimed at furthering clients’ business development and corporate strategies. The desire to discover these stories more capably led Jelena to broaden her knowledge in data science through courses and project-based learning, ultimately leading her to pursue graduate studies in analytics.

Jelena’s background in psychology allows her to better appreciate different perspectives, easily adjust to any team working environment, and effectively understand the stories people and organizations tell. She also feels a responsibility to give back to society and help underprivileged groups. This dedication manifested in a five-year-long volunteer experience where Jelena endeavored to fight mental health stigma and empower young people living with psychological difficulties.

Outside of work, Jelena enjoys being outdoors, painting, and traveling. An ideal day off for her would be spending time with her family and friends skiing in the Alps and creating a chapter of her own life story.

Patrick Monahan
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2021
B.S., summa cum laude, Economics, NC State University, 2021
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From a young age, Patrick would never turn down an opportunity to make new friends, a passion that eventually led him to team sports. Across the various high school, club, or professional teams he played on or cheered for, he has always been enthralled by the analytics behind sports. In his senior year of high school, he was first introduced to analytical concepts, such as regression and analysis of variance, through his AP Statistics class. This newfound knowledge of basic statistics furthered his understanding of sports analytics, driving his passion for increasing his knowledge in other related areas as well.

Patrick’s senior year of college was filled with analytical projects. He first created linear models and correlation plots from data for the unprecedented 2019-2020 NBA season. Next, he applied statistical concepts to his second academic discipline, economics, using econometrics. For his final project, he performed research using transfer student data from local community colleges and logistic regression to predict the likelihood of graduating after transferring to NC State. Patrick and his research group eventually presented this project at the NC State undergraduate research symposium.

During his undergraduate career, Patrick was a familiar face around campus, as he held student employee positions at the university gym, competed on NC State’s club soccer team, and was a member of the data analytics, sports analytics, and statistics clubs.

Kate Morris
B.A., Psychology, with Honors, Willamette University, 2020
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When Kate took her first statistics course for her psychology major, she was excited to finally understand the quantitative methods that have been essential to uncovering truths about human behavior. Fueled by her burgeoning passion for statistics, Kate initiated an independent research project, where she implemented data collection, processed data, and analyzed results. She was awarded Honors in Psychology for successfully defending her research study to the entire department. In conjunction with her research project, Kate took on a leadership role in her university’s personality psychology research lab, facilitating weekly meetings, running models in R, and synthesizing results into a research paper. As a result of her contributions, she was the 2020 recipient of the Paul M. Evans award, an award to a graduating senior who demonstrates an “inquisitive, compassionate, and sincere commitment to psychology.”

As a Research Associate at CODA Inc., Kate initiated a project using health record data to study treatment rates for opioid use disorder in the Portland metropolitan area. Kate’s curiosity and enthusiasm for utilizing data analysis to address questions in the field of addiction treatment guided future research projects for the company.

Kate is an avid dancer, hiker, and traveler. She has studied ballet but is equally willing to line dance or take to the heights on suspended silks doing aerial dance. Kate has hiked many national parks and toured several European countries with her twin sister. One of her favorite travel experiences was studying abroad in Orkney, Scotland to study Neolithic era archeology.

Gagan Namburi
B.S., College Honors in Bioinformatics, Ramapo College of New Jersey, 2020
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An innate problem solver, Gagan quickly found himself drawn to the field of analytics because of its unique, open-ended problems and solutions. He began to recognize how many real-world phenomena could be examined through the scope of computational and mathematical methods. Gagan was also fascinated by how analytics could answer questions and even create new ones among topics — such as image recognition — that could be answered with versatile tools like deep neural networks.

Gagan put his passion for examining ambiguous problems to the task when he worked for Church & Dwight as a data science contractor. In that role, he had the opportunity to work on cross-collaborative analytics projects with Sales and Brand Protection. Leveraging Python, R, and SQL, Gagan performed various data preparation, data analysis, and data visualization tasks to create innovative tools that were both convenient for business users and beneficial for the business’ efficiency. One of his crucial projects was creating web scrapers that employed the selenium framework and produced tabular data outputs in Excel to alleviate the need for employees to manually collect data from websites over time. In addition to working on impactful projects, Gagan also strived to improve his data science toolbelt, gaining Microsoft Azure Fundamentals and Azure Data Science Associate certifications.

When he is not analyzing data, Gagan enjoys reading about and working on cars, engaging in strength training, and exploring his culinary abilities. He appreciates traveling, especially trying out hiking trails and exploring local attractions.

Dylan Pachorek
B.S.B.A., Computer Information Systems, Western Carolina University, 2020
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Dylan’s musical background in classical percussion has made him disciplined, hardworking, and creative. This unique upbringing in performance has enabled him to develop confidence in public speaking and interacting with teammates. Since learning these skills at an early age, he has incorporated them into everything he does.

During his undergraduate career, he had opportunities to fall in love with data and math, including interning as a junior research analyst for Western Carolina University (WCU). There, Dylan worked with a team of analysts to perform ad-hoc data requests, keep university dashboards, and produce student metrics to support program accreditation. In that role, he really began to delve more into the ever-growing world of data science. He picked up a minor in visual analytics to begin building his Tableau skills. Dylan also used what he learned to manipulate UNC system data into a dashboard that tracked student achievement metrics across cohorts at WCU and comparative institutions in the nation.

When he is not modeling data or creating dashboards, you can find Dylan keeping up his lifelong passion of drumming or learning a new instrument. Other hobbies include hiking and summing up his day with a cold drink and great friends.

Rohan Patel
B.S., Biology; Asian Studies, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2021
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Learning to configure a dial-up connection at the same age he learned to read, Rohan developed a lifelong awareness of technology that shapes his love for dissecting the unknown. He learned early on that the wealth afforded by the Information Age was not simply a repository but a tool that could be molded to shape decisions that often cascade into long-term change. From designing a commercial process to extract copper from treated wood to evaluating k-means clustering on biological neural networks, Rohan has seen analytics’ potential to solve daunting issues.

Rohan’s experiences also taught him the value of responsible analytics. At DataFest, an analytics hackathon sponsored by the American Statistical Association, Rohan’s team analyzed clothing sales. However, he found numerous inconsistencies with the dataset. Sparse data during certain months, redundant or unused variables, and duplicate observations abounded. He decided to present his analysis with these issues in mind, citing caution rather than promoting elaborate models. Judges cited this dedication to ethics when placing his team first in their category.

Rohan’s analytical mindset also extends to his cinephilia. He ardently examines films with an eye for techniques like framing, editing, and sound. His childhood love of biology and cuisine also drives his passion for travel. Whether exploring new cultures, natural landscapes, or diverse ecosystems, Rohan hopes to become well-traveled in his lifetime.

Manasa Peddakama
B.Tech., Electrical and Electronics Engineering, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, 2017
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A math-intensive undergraduate degree in EEE followed by almost four years in the analytics field instilled in Manasa a strong foundation of business, math, and technology. She started her career as a trainee decision scientist at Mu Sigma, a pure-play data analytics company in India. There, she had the opportunity to provide data-driven analytical solutions for Fortune 500 companies in the retail, manufacturing, and financial service industries, giving her an interdisciplinary perspective.

Stepping into the role of a decision scientist, Manasa set up analytics projects from scratch and gained experience in every aspect of the problem-solving journey. She independently handled projects from ideation to implementation. One of her favorite projects was solving a margin-leakage problem using clustering techniques, which resulted in a savings potential of $2M. What excited her the most was witnessing the tangible impact created by her solutions.

After being promoted to an apprentice leader/senior decision scientist, Manasa mentored a team of 20+ trainees on storyboarding, design-thinking strategies, and technologies like SQL and Python. She also worked alongside senior leadership on account growth. Manasa has consistently exceeded customer expectations, which resulted in her getting “Spot Awards” from different managers across teams for four consecutive years.

Aside from analytics, Manasa is always intrigued by storytelling. To hone this craft, she joined Toastmasters and even won contests at the club level. She strives to tell effective stories with data. In her free time, Manasa can be found reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching movies.

Richard Pincus
B.S., magna cum laude, Applied Mathematics, NC State University, 2020
B.S., magna cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2020
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Richard’s father taught him anyone can do a job halfway, but a job well done requires hard work, discipline, and determination. These traits are exactly what he brings to the table. Richard finds his motivation in his family, and he wants to provide a good life for his future family and raise his children with the same work ethic that was passed down to him from his father.

While working at Covance, Richard quickly proved he was a reliable SAS programmer. Because of his hard work and consistent productivity, study leads asked him to help with time-sensitive studies. From programming ad hoc tables to cleaning SDTM datasets, Richard was assigned tight deadlines with confidence that he would complete them. During his experience working on an escalated study and supporting the India programming team when Covid-19 cases were surging in April 2021, Richard had numerous deliverables to complete. He had to be adaptable and efficient to finish the job. As a statistical programmer, he learned how to organize, trace, manipulate, and analyze clinical data. This eventually led him to seek further education in data analytics and broaden his skills to apply them in other domains.

Outside of his studies and work, Richard enjoys the great outdoors. Backpacking, hunting, swimming, kayaking, and disc golf are some of his favorite activities. At the end of his day, he enjoys watching the sunset and finding new constellations in the starry night sky.

Alexandra Pirsos
B.S.B.A., summa cum laude, Marketing, Elon University, 2021
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Growing up as a dancer, Alex loved that the sport first required attention to technique before layering in artistic elements. While she did not realize that she would soon trade in her pointe shoes for programming, Alex appreciates that data science follows the same structure as dance.

During her undergraduate career, Alex fostered analytical skills with internships in banking and public relations. Notably, she spent two summers working with an investment bank to develop a podcast for the company’s omnichannel marketing toolkit. After building and branding the Let’s Talk Future podcast, she successfully launched the product and measured user engagement metrics. Working with media data helped facilitate Alex’s interest in the field of data science.

In addition to traditional internships, Alex challenged her business understanding with international work experiences. While studying in the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and New Zealand, she spent time feeding her passionate curiosity to learn about global business strategies. Alex then studied abroad in Denmark for a semester, where she worked on a data-centric research project for a large international brewer. At the summation of the project, her team pitched a go-to-market strategy for a new product to combat changing consumer behaviors in the industry.

When Alex is not communicating data-driven insights, she enjoys practicing headstands at her local yoga studio, mastering secret family recipes with her Greek relatives, or working on a dystopian fiction novel that she hopes to get published one day.

Pranav Ram
B.S., Statistics and Analytics; Economics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2020
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Pranav has always had a penchant for mathematical analysis and explored that with his experience at Wells Fargo. During the summer of 2019, he worked in the wealth and investment management analytics division in St. Louis and constructed models to forecast customer data. With his team, Pranav helped identify which customers needed financial services based on their account data and activity.

In the summer of 2020, Pranav was excited to return to his hometown of Charlotte, NC for a full-time role at Wells Fargo in the wealth and investment management analyst program. He worked in the banking, lending, and trust division and fostered client relationships to maintain business books for the private bank. Additionally, Pranav conducted portfolio analysis to assist in the underwriting of custom loans to high-net-worth clients.

Born and raised in the Tar Heel state, one of Pranav’s passions at his alma mater was serving as the Vice President of Sangam, the largest South Asian organization on campus. As a member of the board, he coordinated multiple events to raise cultural awareness.

Outside of work and school, Pranav spends his free time with music and sports. He organizes and plays the piano in an annual concert where the proceeds are donated to the March of Dimes foundation. He is also a huge sports enthusiast, and he loves watching football and playing soccer.

Vasanth Ramdas
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2021
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Vasanth has fond memories of perusing NBA box scores as a teenager, trying to find the story in various player statistics. This interest in numbers and storytelling not only led him to pursue an undergraduate degree in statistics but also impacted his choice of extracurriculars. Working in student media at NC State allowed Vasanth to tell stories through videos, while his internship at Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) allowed Vasanth to tell stories through real-time graphs. At TIAA, Vasanth utilized R Studio to extract data and create meaningful and interactive visualizations.

Whether it involves a camera, an Excel sheet, or a simple box score, Vasanth is passionate about finding deeper meaning in data. Vasanth’s volunteer work at NC State’s food pantry taught him about food insecurity and highlighted an area with untapped potential for using data. Analytics could help the pantry determine what items patrons need the most and how needs change throughout the year. Moreover, one could dig deeper and look at what factors make a community more susceptible to food insecurity. The insights gleaned from this analysis could help the food pantry and address factors contributing to food insecurity in the local community. Ideas like this drive Vasanth’s belief that data can help people through informative storytelling and visualizations.

In his free time, Vasanth still enjoys looking through NBA box scores and watching sports. Moreover, he likes to relax by listening to records and working on video and graphic design side projects.

Alex Raum
B.S., summa cum laude, Applied Mathematics, NC State University, 2021
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Alex’s lifelong love for the beauty and precision of mathematics, the inferential power of statistics, and their execution through the art of computer programming led him to the intersection of these interests: data analytics. As an undergraduate, Alex cultivated his skills and creativity through a research position with NC State’s Center for Geospatial Analytics. There, he developed a regression framework using Python to better understand the impact of frequent flooding, specifically on the development potential of urban areas affected by climate change. The deliverables for this project culminated in a final paper and presentation and were used to inform the enhancement of an existing geospatial model.

In addition to his involvement in undergraduate research, Alex further applied his quantitative and analytical background by participating in a group practicum in computational finance. With an objective function of maximizing returns, he and his team utilized reinforcement learning and the movements of key trading indicators to continually update weights within an investment portfolio based on current market conditions.

An avid enthusiast of nature and the outdoors, Alex enjoys exploring the trails, streams, and peaks of western North Carolina as well as other destinations in the U.S. and abroad. When not on a new adventure, he also spends his time cycling, playing chess, and engaging in recreational mathematics.

Elliott Reece
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2021
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Elliott is driven. Whether enthusiastically scoring goals in youth soccer or using determination to secure the title of most-improved runner on his high school cross country team, his drive to succeed developed alongside his love of sports. In college, he joined the Sports Analytics Club, eventually becoming co-president. There, he learned how sports teams from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Los Angeles Dodgers use analytics to gain a competitive edge.

After seeing how sports teams use analytics, he landed two internships in different industries: healthcare and technology services. Elliott’s first internship was at Novant Health, where he analyzed population health data. Using R, he created a report on suicide and stroke risk factors and built a network graph application with the Shiny package to predict new health issues. His second internship was at Inmar Intelligence, where he analyzed digital coupons in Tableau and investigated the characteristics that led to a redemption. He presented his findings to C-suite executives, and they asked him to present again to the sales team because of its real-world application. These two internships showed Elliott that he has skills and enthusiasm for finding meaning in randomness.

Outside of analytics, Elliott is right at home in Carter Finley Stadium or PNC Arena cheering on his Wolfpack. As an Eagle Scout, he appreciates time outdoors, including running, biking, or RV camping. He also volunteers with the Autism Social Group at his church. Whether working hard or pulling for the Pack, Elliott is eager to engage.

Ishanee Rudra
A.B., cum laude, Economics; Mathematics, Mount Holyoke College, 2018
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At an early age, Ishanee had a knack for taking the events of an otherwise mundane school day and animating them through skillful storytelling. Having moved from country to country throughout her formative years, her carefully crafted recounts became her way of bridging cultural gaps and assimilating into new environments. At Mount Holyoke College (MHC), she realized that her love for storytelling could manifest itself into a lifelong career in data science.

Ishanee’s inquisitive nature and unwavering tenacity often led her to find biases in datasets that others overlooked. Her passion for uncovering excluded stories awarded her team the first-place prize at the MIT Hacking Medicine Hackathon for designing a mobile app that would connect EMT-certified individuals to medical emergencies. By valuing each data point as an individual’s story, Ishanee saw the need for accessible care in rural communities.

Upon graduating from MHC, Ishanee joined SimpliSafe as a Marketing Specialist, where she made it her mission to grow the podcast channel into a substantial portion of their ad revenue. Through iterative testing and data-driven decisions, Ishanee uncovered the vast potential lurking in the podcast market and led SimpliSafe to become the 4th largest podcast advertiser in the United States.

In her free time, Ishanee enjoys baking her famous banana bread, training for her next 10K, and hunting for the best oat milk latte in town. She also takes pride in finding and restoring mid-century modern furniture.

Gabrielle Ruehle
B.S., with Highest Distinction, Mathematics; Statistics and Analytics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2021
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Gabrielle has always loved to solve problems. At an early age, she became fascinated by math because every problem offered a unique and interesting challenge. Her love of number crunching followed her to college, where she studied mathematics and statistics. Through her studies, she developed a passion for working with data since she could combine her background in mathematics with her problem-solving skills to tackle real-world issues. Because of her enthusiasm and drive, she excelled in her studies and received the 2021 Statistics and Analytics award for academic excellence in statistics.

Gabrielle had several non-academic opportunities that further confirmed her interest in data science. While at MetLife, she worked to design a data warehouse that would greatly assist the analytics needs of the IT Service Management organization within the company. During this internship, her group won the intern Innovation Challenge for creating the best pitch for senior executives. Gabrielle later worked as a UX trial design intern at TraKid, a tech startup company based in Raleigh, where she helped develop experiments to gather user product testing data. The information she collected guided the development of the next version of products.

During her free time, Gabrielle enjoys playing racquetball, reading mystery novels, and exploring new places — especially restaurants. Gabrielle also seeks new challenges in her everyday life. Currently, she is learning how to sew her own clothes and bake all kinds of delicious treats.

John Saile
B.S., summa cum laude, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2018
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Described by his colleagues as the person to call when you need something done right, John’s combination of analytical prowess, steady focus on the big picture, and optimistic nature has afforded him a toolbelt for delivering valuable insight.

After an impressive undergraduate career highlighted by multiple scholarships for academic achievement and leadership potential, John began his career at Bank of America’s Chief Data Office (CDO). As an analyst, he provided the data to back large-scale workforce strategy and organizational health decisions. John was eventually asked to co-lead a CDO-wide workforce management tool migration, where he further developed his ability to execute and drive change. In this role, he proved his technical competencies for working with data while bridging the communication gap with business managers. John’s hunger for professional growth took him to a niche team responsible for the planning, overseeing, and reporting of the $3 billion portfolio of technology work across the Bank. His responsibilities included tracking and concisely summarizing the health of the 400+ programs for senior leadership and federal regulators. His skills as a data wrangler proved invaluable, producing insights and reporting that found its way to the highest level of management in the technology organization.

Outside of working hours, you can find John playing cornhole at a local brewery, perhaps explaining how his Philadelphia 76ers and Eagles are just one move away from greatness. In addition, he makes time for snowboarding trips out West each year. Physical fitness and mindfulness practice are also staples in his daily routine.

Craig Schmier
B.A., magna cum laude, Film, Television and Theatre; Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (Supplementary), University of Notre Dame, 2018
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Craig has always been captivated by introductions; in 2017, he was selected by faculty at the University of Notre Dame to complete a senior thesis investigating the evolution of the opening title sequence on television. Combining his affinity towards storytelling with his passion for analytics, Craig compiled categorical data sets and concluded that economic strategies, as well as changes in viewer consumption habits and media technologies, motivate industry-wide shifts in the structure and function of title sequences.

Visual storytelling has always been at the forefront of Craig’s personal and professional life. In his teenage years, he hosted and produced three seasons of his own version of The Mole, an ABC gameshow about deduction and deception. Craig approached editing the countless hours of footage from this endeavor as one might approach an analytics problem: ample data were collected, but only with clever manipulation can a compelling story emerge. Applying this same mentality to his career, Craig worked as a data analyst constructing presentations about moviegoer behaviors from survey databases and Nielsen programs.

Craig’s favorite ways to start his day include tending to his acorn squash and radishes in his garden and practicing his backhand on the tennis court. Driven by curiosity, he continually sharpens his geography skills by taking online quizzes on world capitals and flags. One milestone he achieved was typing every country from memory in under 15 minutes; his fingertips raced around the keyboard while his family witnessed the event in awe.

Benjamin Schwartz
B.S., cum laude, Economics, NC State University, 2021
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Ben leveraged his lifelong affinity for numbers into a passion for interpreting data and proposing solutions while completing several statistics courses as well as later during his data analytics internship with Caterpillar. While at Caterpillar, he completed projects involving pricing and maintenance schedules of telehandlers.

While in middle school, Ben found an entrepreneurial venture: stringing tennis racquets. After a few years of stringing for his friends, he became a head stringer at Omega Sports. Through helping his high school tennis team become Conference and Regional Champions, Ben learned just how rewarding it could be to collaborate with others towards a common goal. He continued to make connections within the tennis world and soon became a stringer for NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill teams. His work ethic and eye for detail eventually earned him an invitation to string for some of the top players in the world at the Citi Open in Washington, DC.

Ben draws confidence in risk-taking from his past success in daunting tasks and his natural ability to learn. Ben took advantage of being online for his last semester of college and moved out west to Vail, Colorado. As he was completing his degree in economics and several research projects, Ben challenged himself to work full-time as a shuttle driver with Vail Resorts. On his days off, Ben skied at Vail, Breckenridge, and Beaver Creek Ski Resorts.

Robert Seybold
B.S., summa cum laude, Economics, NC State University, 2021
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From taking apart computers to digging through history books, Robert has always desired to determine the “how” or “why” of his surroundings. This calling to understand the deeper context of events and systems led him to choose economics as his major. Throughout his studies, Robert realized that the analytical methods used in these courses allowed him to direct his curiosity towards his love of computer programming and math.

Economics also jumpstarted Robert’s interest in business and government. Intrigued by these fields, he interned with his local congressional representative in Washington D.C. In that role, Robert attended meetings and hearings that gave him a deeper insight into how government and industry interact as well as the ever-growing relevance of technology in governance.
Exploring and working with different cultures has always been at the heart of what Robert values. While studying in Germany, Robert used strong intercultural communication skills to lead successful discussions on international relations and economic analysis with students from all over the world.

In his free time, Robert loves to cycle down local greenways. When he is not on two wheels, Robert is finding the “how” of baking. From croissants to sourdough, babkas to biscotti, baking offers another fascinating outlet for him to investigate and learn new skills.

Iman Sheikh-Ahmad
B.S., cum laude, Biology, Meredith College, 2012
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The structural symmetry of Fibonacci spirals in sunflower heads and nautilus shells inspired Iman’s first interest in numbers. A keenness to learn more about the patterns of the natural world drove her to obtain a bachelor’s degree in biology. For her honors thesis, she designed and conducted a survey to collect data on habits of dietary supplement use among students. Learning to analyze, visualize, and communicate her findings kindled her excitement for the field of data analytics.

Iman’s practice as an analyst is bolstered by her strong interpersonal skills and fed by an appetite for knowledge. As a first-year student, she was recognized by the Biological Sciences Department for demonstrating outstanding potential for scholarship. Following this award, she accepted an invitation to join the Paschal Scholars, a mentorship program for women pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers.

After receiving faculty recommendations to become a peer tutor in English and computer science, Iman developed a talent for explaining complex concepts using an audience-tailored approach. By helping others learn to code, she also recognized her own interest in exploring other programming languages and found online resources to learn Python, showing curiosity and self-sufficiency.

In her free time, a passion for storytelling compels Iman to fill her podcast playlist with episodes of LeVar Burton Reads, Reply All, and Jim Harold’s Campfire. She also loves to plan game nights for family and friends and finds joy in connecting with others through comedy and laughter.

Giovani Silva
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, NC State University, 2020
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Giovani’s drive to understand how things work has always been a defining characteristic. Ever since he was young, Giovani would take things apart to learn how they functioned, whether toys, MP3 players, or even computers. This passion for learning about the world around him led Giovani to pursue an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. He also led a team in underwater robotics, brought in first place at his undergraduate senior design competition, and volunteered at the university’s food pantry. After graduation, Giovani shifted his focus to a slightly different way to learn about the world: analytics.

It was at Grass America that Giovani discovered how powerful a tool analytics could be. Giovani completed two fruitful co-op rotations at Grass America as a design engineer. He quickly designed various testing equipment and managed the product testing department for a short time. Speaking with the lead manufacturing engineer, he learned that many manufacturing techniques are modeled after Six Sigma and other statistical techniques. This caused Giovani to take a keen interest in the world of statistics and programming. After graduating, Giovani worked as a business systems analyst at National General, where he implemented aspects of analytics, such as database management and running SQL queries.

In his free time, Giovani enjoys tinkering and working with cars, going to the gym, finding the best new restaurants around the city with his friends, and traveling to visit his family in Brazil.

Stephen So
B.S., Statistical Science, Duke University, 2018
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In this gold rush of data and technology, Stephen thinks of analytics as an indispensable set of worker’s tools. During an undergraduate course, he worked with other students to create a model that identified hate speech on Twitter. He and his team, using sentiment analysis and text mining, produced a report that revealed insights about how social networks can be better guarded against objectionable content and malicious users. This experience motivated Stephen to pursue a career using analytics to make positive impacts in his community.

After graduation, Stephen continued to apply his statistical and programming skills at Truist in a data science role. In one project, he methodically combined Census Bureau data with bank data to create a zip code map of population trends, using R and Tableau. These trends were forecasted using regression modeling, and the results identified precise geographic regions with exceptional growth potential. Stephen also won first place in an internally hosted Tableau Data Viz Challenge by constructing an innovative and interactive visualization that explored historical Olympic Games data and illustrated the competitive performance of national teams across time.

Besides playing with numbers, Stephen also enjoys playing the piano, a skill that has been distilled from a lifelong love of music. Among his favorite piano composers are Frederic Chopin and Elton John.

Surabhi Sood
M.B.A., Symbiosis International University, Pune, 2016
B.Tech., Electrical Engineering, Punjab Technical University, India, 2011
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Surabhi started her career in a highly dynamic field as a learning and development associate, where she helped her company transition from a traditional classroom structure to a more blended one. During this time, she gained a reputation for developing and implementing innovative solutions. She always valued decision-making based on data and took on a project where she analyzed the qualitative feedback from the stakeholders to ideate new learning programs. Based on her findings, she designed training on time management, cultural sensitivity, and design thinking. She then executed and administered these programs for over 6,000 employees while managing operational challenges with positivity and reason.

Surabhi also worked at Fidelity Investments as a team manager, where she became passionate about data analytics. There, she successfully conceptualized and built a centralized graphical user interface for various reports used by her team to assess the organization’s performance in terms of Key Performance Indicators. This led to efficient decision-making directly affecting the bottom line of the company and saving work hours. She routinely seeks to streamline processes and develop protocols that enable consistency and accuracy. This was evident when her team’s productivity increased by 30% while maintaining the quality parameters.

In her free time, Surabhi aims to teach herself new ways of staying healthy. During the pandemic, she learned Hatha yoga practice with the help of online resources. She is also a self-taught painter and enjoys adorning her abode with her creations.

Grant Spangenberg
B.S., Statistics, Brigham Young University, 2021
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Grant’s interest in statistics started when he was young. Every morning he would read the paper to see the stats of the previous day’s sports games, and he could tell you every individual basketball stat for the major players. He continued his love of sports by lettering on the swim team in high school. After graduating, he served a two-year church mission in Berlin, Germany. While he was there, he learned the language and German culture, which remain a big part of his identity.

Following his mission, he completed his undergraduate studies at his hometown’s rival college. During his undergraduate studies, he had the opportunity to participate in multiple statistical projects using t-tests, ANOVA, regression, and random forests. His senior year, he finished a sports data science project where he partnered with a basketball data scientist and used multiple regression to make a model that predicted all NBA players’ effective field goal percentages in the playoffs over the last 20 years.

In his free time, Grant likes going to the gym and playing basketball. He is also an avid college football and NBA fan. He is always down for a good burger and can usually tell you where the best chicken sandwich in town is.

Hannah Stanley
B.S.B.A., with Distinction, Business Administration, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2016
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During her career, Hannah developed a laser focus on driving business impact through data analysis. As a senior research manager at a strategic marketing research firm, she combined her analytical acumen and business perspective to provide clients with a robust understanding of their customers and deliver data-driven recommendations. Hannah’s interest in analytics grew stronger as she saw firsthand the power that data has to bridge gaps in understanding between communities and corporations.

Hannah honed her problem-solving and project management skills as she led teams across quantitative projects from initial design to final reporting and presentation. In these leadership roles, she liaised with clients to understand their business questions and collaborated with teammates to answer them using primary data analysis and visualization. Because of her strong initiative and quantitative knowledge, company leadership selected Hannah to train new hires. This opportunity allowed her to become well-versed in distilling down complex topics and multistep procedures to optimize learning. The diverse clients and teammates with whom Hannah partnered have shaped her into an adept, empathetic communicator. She is comfortable discussing insights with data-savvy and non-technical audiences alike, and she is eager to discover points of connection with colleagues.

Hannah finds joy exploring local trails and spending time with friends and family, whether sharing a meal at home or traveling to new destinations. After a recent trip to Yosemite, where she summited Half Dome, she has set a goal to visit more national parks in the future.

Jessica Stepanova
B.S., Computer Science; Systems Science and Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2021
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“She produces results in an expedited manner and provides outstanding coordination.” This is written feedback Jessica received after completing a data collection and analysis project in three days rather than the predicted two weeks. Throughout her undergraduate years, she interned at the Department of Energy in the Office of Management and the National Nuclear Security Administration, Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation. Her employers enjoyed her efficient, high-quality work and delightful personality, and they repeatedly invited her back at the end of each summer. Additionally, her office extended her most recent internship, but only for her. Her projects included collecting and analyzing data, increasing efficiency by organizing online materials and systems, and creating national emergency guidance about nuclear detonations.

During college, Jessica made the Dean’s List while completing an engineering double major. In addition to her coursework, she took on twice the usual Teacher Assistant workload for the Data Structures and Algorithms class. In her free time, Jessica served as the treasurer for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and coordinated on-campus events as well as the financial aspects of travel to the SHPE National Convention. For fun, Jessica worked on a team to design and build an unmanned, radio-controlled aircraft for an international competition as a member of Design/Build/Fly.

Jessica enjoys staying active. In the past, she trained with her university’s triathlon team and competed in sprint and Olympic distance events. Currently, she prefers to spend her time running or discovering hidden gems in her neighborhood.

Sarah Stott
B.S., with Distinction, Biology; Global Studies, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2017
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Self-directed learning has always been a favorite pastime for Sarah, and her interest in spoken languages sparked her discovery of programming languages, such as Python and SQL. Knowing her instinctual desire to understand how the world works, a family member brought the data analytics field to her attention. Sarah was delighted at the opportunity to apply coding in a field with such potential for positive impact.

Sarah’s rigorous scientific background and innate curiosity provided a platform to hone her analytical and problem-solving skills. While a financial services officer at State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU), Sarah managed the insurance irregularity project, handled loan delinquencies, and trained employees to analyze loan data. She listened carefully to members’ needs and worked with her teammates to provide excellent customer service. Her ability to break down issues into simpler components led to her role as the unofficial tech support for her coworkers at SECU and the sports organization with which she volunteered.

A fierce competitor in judo and a detail-oriented technician in karate, Sarah’s dedication to martial arts developed into a third-degree black belt and an enduring pursuit of nutrition and physical well-being. She furthered this passion at UNC-Chapel Hill by volunteering in a psychology as well as a nutrition lab on campus. When she has spare time, Sarah enjoys reading adventure and mystery genres with a cup of strong coffee and exploring new cities rich with history.

Andrew Tammaro
B.S., Data Science, Honors Scholar, University of Connecticut, 2020
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Andrew’s passion for data science began with his habitual reading of the MLB box scores every morning before school. His fascination with statistics and metric comparisons eventually led him to use baseball cards, a dartboard, and an extensive system kept in a notebook to simulate an imaginary league of his own. As Andrew got older, he discovered opportunities to apply his interest in sports analytics. In high school, he worked on the basketball team’s staff, collecting statistics and calculating advanced metrics used in roster and lineup decisions. In addition, Andrew’s problem-solving skills earned him a captainship on the math league team.

In his undergraduate career, Andrew combined courses in computer science, statistics, mathematics, and economics to design his own major in data science. This pool of knowledge enabled him to explore side projects in athletic performance and sports finance. One example was his thesis, which used predictive modeling to predict professional success using collegiate quarterback statistics. Andrew also served as a wealth management intern at Janney Montgomery Scott, creating probability models and other analytical measures to assist in the team’s options trading program.

Andrew spends his free time fixing his slice on the golf course and unwinding with friends at local breweries. He also enjoys flexing his memory in trivia nights; he is sure to get a high score in any sports or geography category.

Rachel Tan
Master of Accounting, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2019
B.S., Statistics and Analytics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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In her first philosophy class, Rachel learned to make sense of the world by following assumptions and arguments to their logical conclusions. She found this same paradigm in her undergraduate statistics coursework in using assumptions and sample statistics to draw conclusions about populations. She is fascinated by the intersection of analytics, philosophy, and ethics, and she is especially interested in using empirical data to gain broader insights.

As a student, Rachel acquired hands-on experience with the complexities of experiment design, data collection, and mixed methods research. Using mixed methods, she assisted her undergraduate professor, who studied the impact of social contexts on the educational attainment of HIV/AIDS orphans. In addition, she developed a survey with her graduate professor for a study on cognitive perceptions of management and firm valuation.

Rachel enjoys creative problem solving and coming up with solutions that enable transparency and accessibility. During her technology internship with Credit Suisse, she developed a workforce dashboard for the Global Markets COO team to analyze global retention trends. Most recently, as a senior technology risk consultant at EY, Rachel audited the IT environments for clients in the healthcare, commercial, and manufacturing industries. She oversaw global teams, managed client communications, and evaluated IT deficiency findings and remediation for key stakeholders. She also assessed IT control and cybersecurity risks through security breaches, mergers and acquisitions, and COVID-19.

In her free time, you can find Rachel paddle boarding on Falls Lake or relaxing at the beach reading her book club’s latest pick.

David Tran
B.S., Biology, University of Miami, 2020
B.S.B.A., cum laude, Business Analytics; Management, University of Miami, 2020
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Growing up, David was always curious about how the world worked. He enjoyed home science experiments, so it was no surprise when he quickly became immersed in research projects during his undergraduate studies. His favorite experience was studying the mechanism behind fruit fly light interactions. His responsibilities included creating a script to record and take photos at different intervals, soldering light strips, and designing an apparatus to block out light. He enjoyed being able to combine coding skills and analysis into one project. While at Booz Allen Hamilton as an intern and a consultant, David had the opportunity to combine Census tract, Medicaid, and SNAP data using R and Tableau and found a correlation between government program usage and low-response rates. Through his projects, he discovered that data could help people and decided to pursue a career in analytics.

As a Gates Millenium Scholar, David seeks to give back to low-income communities. While in Miami, David volunteered at a Title I high school; he assisted students in applying for college, applying for financial aid, and registering for the ACT and SAT tests. He also developed a presentation to help students understand the financial aid process and factors students should consider when looking at all the data to select their undergraduate institution.

Outside of work, you can find David cooking and trying out new recipes. When he needs a moment of rest, you can find him exploring the wonders of the outside world at a nearby park.

Brett Vogelsang
B.S., magna cum laude, Computer Science, Lenoir-Rhyne University, 2021
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Brett’s hallmark traits are the energy, enthusiasm, and work ethic he brings to any team project. He nurtured these traits during his time as a cross country and track student-athlete. As a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which was dedicated to educating student-athletes on addressing locker room racism, engaging in difficult conversations, and creating safe spaces for all minorities, Brett supported education on civil rights, social justice, inclusivity, and equity.

Brett’s fascination with analytics began after undergraduate courses in statistics and algorithm analysis, where he found a passion for using data to solve complex, real-world problems. During his senior year, Brett worked on a research project where he built classification models to determine US states with abnormally high or abnormally low murder rates. This project gave him valuable experience in R by coding various unsupervised machine learning models, such as k-means clustering, decision trees, and random forests.

In his free time, Brett enjoys watching, reading, and entertaining himself with anything Star Wars-related. He also thoroughly enjoys the outdoors and makes it a mission to hike at least once per month to reconnect with nature. To keep things interesting, he tries to explore somewhere new every time he goes on a hike!

Jason Willett
B.S., with Distinction, Statistics and Analytics; Economics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2021
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Throughout his undergraduate career, Jason made it his goal to help the younger generation inside and outside the classroom. Jason took part in many tutoring organizations like Mathnasium and Carolina Teaching English Language Learners. Outside of the classroom, he loved being a soccer coach. Working with kids allowed him to expand on a variety of his team-oriented traits, such as leadership, communication, and patience.

Analytics have been a passion of Jason’s from a very early age. His intrigue in sports opened his mind up to the power of numbers. He was curious about where analytics were used elsewhere, so he began to listen to a variety of podcasts that discussed the use of analytics in economics, health, sports, and many other fields.
Beyond analytics, Jason is passionate about traveling and staying healthy. One of his life goals is to travel to all seven continents. Jason loves running 5k’s, lifting, and eating well to keep his mind and body healthy.

Jason is legally blind, but he does not allow his visual limitations to define him or impact his future aspirations. In the presence of adversity, Jason continues to overcome obstacles and find success in all aspects of his life. He is more motivated than ever to prove he is just as capable, if not more, as a sighted person.

Landon Wilson
B.S., Accounting, Brigham Young University, 2017
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Landon’s interest in data science began as he spent evenings and weekends teaching himself Python and SQL while working at Deloitte. During this time, he developed code to scrape 12 generations of data from a family history site, wrangled the extracted data using Regular Expressions and Pandas, and generated a word cloud based on last name frequency. His data science skillset bolsters the already existing foundation formed through his approximately four years of experience at Deloitte.

As a lead senior at Deloitte, Landon (CPA, CFE) managed teams located in multiple countries and engaged in critical conversations with executives and upper management. To ensure his clients’ financial statements were not materially misstated, Landon executed intricate work with accuracy and efficiency. Consistently marked as a high performer, Landon developed in-depth domain knowledge of his clients.

Landon demonstrated his innate ambition and curiosity as early as high school, where he was one of three students (out of a graduating class of 700+) awarded the New Century Scholarship — an award granted to students who graduate with an associate degree.

Landon spent two years volunteering in Spain, where he learned Spanish. Volunteering has remained an important aspect of his life as he has regularly volunteered at local hospitals. He also earned a National D soccer coaching license and was selected for his undergraduate university’s soccer team. Landon is also an Eagle Scout, a local pickleball league winner, and an aspiring self-taught classical guitarist.

Nathan Woelfel
B.S., cum laude, Industrial Engineering, NC State University, 2021
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Nathan’s interest in analytics started after his first statistics class in high school. After that day, he saw the endless problem-solving capabilities of analyzing data, and the idea of problem-solving carried through his undergraduate career.

In college, his passion for analytics pushed him to learn Python programming. For two semesters, Nathan used that skill set as a teaching assistant for a Python programming course in NC State’s Industrial and Systems Engineering department. He also used his knowledge with Python to work for PNC’s Internal Audit line of business on the Automated and Cognitive Intelligence team. Within six weeks at PNC, he was able to lead development on two automation projects and co-lead development on Internal Audit’s first deep learning model, which is used for name/nickname recognition. For his senior design project, he worked with Advance Auto Parts’ Data Science Team. He served as project and technical lead, where he used k-means clustering to identify eight buying patterns that accounted for over 75% of customers.

When not analyzing data, Nathan enjoys being active. One of the first things he did when he got his license was get a gym membership, and he has been working out ever since. Nathan grew up playing as many sports as he could. However, his favorite sport is football, and he watches it often. More than anything, his favorite thing to do is spend time with friends and family.

Andrew Wolschlag
B.S.B.A., Marketing, Elon University, 2014
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Never one to shy away from competition, Andrew is always looking for patterns and insights to help gain an advantage for his clients, his teammates, and himself. He has a diverse background in technology sales, selling both physical hardware and complex software solutions. Andrew also has an intense desire to learn new things, which enabled him to be successful when working with clients across various industries, including higher education, healthcare, and the federal government.

Most recently, Andrew was an inside sales representative at Red Hat. There, he worked in a fast-paced, results-driven environment on a team that helped lead the federal government through digital transformations. He was skilled at highlighting IT processes that his clients could optimize through automation. As a result, his clients were more agile and more effective at delivering value to their stakeholders. In his last full year with Red Hat, Andrew was nominated for Public Sector Inside Sales Representative of the Year.

Even in his spare time, you will find Andrew competing. He can be found playing in disc golf tournaments or playing strategic board games with friends. Andrew is a sports fanatic and avid traveler whose dream afternoon would be catching a soccer match in Europe. One of his favorite books is The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis, which examines implicit bias in our decision-making process. When Andrew is looking to relax, he enjoys cooking with his wife and playing with his dog.

Nour Zarrouk
B.S.P.H., with Distinction, Biostatistics; Religious Studies, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2021
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Nour’s interest in research and analytics started when her grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer during her childhood. At that time, she was determined to build a career by finding a cure for cancer. At UNC-Chapel Hill, Nour was able to combine her interests through the biostatistics program at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. There, she worked on multiple analytic and research projects using R and SAS, where she cleaned, analyzed, and visualized different sources of data. These experiences led Nour to work as a research assistant at the Internet Tobacco Vendors Study conducted through UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Nour collected data from online tobacco and nicotine retailers, reviewing the efficacy of state and federal government policies on online tobacco sales.

As a resident advisor, Nour honed her creative and empathic leadership skills. She promoted an inclusive and interactive environment where students felt comfortable sharing their ideas and passions. A readily available resource for students in her housing community, Nour strove to make others feel welcomed by providing memorable experiences and crafting a supportive community.

In her free time, Nour enjoys photography and has recently started her own professional photography business. Outside of academics and photography, Nour likes to spend time outdoors playing tennis and soccer. Additionally, she loves to cook Mediterranean food and travel, especially to her parents’ home country, Tunisia.

Photo credit: Roger Winstead