Student ProfilesThe Institute seeks to enroll up to 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 2019

Anuja Acharya Anuja Acharya
B.A., cum laude, Political Science; English, NC State University, 2012
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Anuja started her career as an IT analyst at Cisco Systems. While at Cisco, she quickly developed a reputation for her creativity, her ability to connect people to data, and the enthusiasm she brought to every project and challenge. As one of her earliest projects, Anuja helped found the Cisco Data Science Training program, an internal initiative to train employees across all functions in the company to become effective data scientists. Anuja and her team won a company-wide award for their work on this initiative from Cisco’s Chief Information Officer. This program was so well recognized that Anuja became known as the point person for anyone interested in data science at Cisco.

In addition to her work at Cisco, Anuja also serves on the executive board of directors of a local non-profit called Read and Feed. She leads a data analysis committee to analyze student outcome data to inform the program curriculum and entice potential donors. In the community, Anuja is respected for being well informed, passionate, and fully committed to improving people’s lives.This exposure to data science started Anuja’s own interest in pursuing data science as a field of study. It was a powerful way to apply her growing skills in IT to her original passion of public policy and solving problems facing the community. Realizing that there is a unique opportunity to work with both social innovators and data scientists to solve problems, Anuja resolved to be both an ethically minded advocate for social good as well as a technically competent leader.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Alexander Almquist Alex Almquist
B.S.B.A., with Distinction, Business Administration, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2016
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Embarking upon a new career path is a lot like jumping out of an airplane. The combination of nervous excitement, overhanging uncertainty, and exhilarating novelty makes you think right before taking the leap: “How did I get here?”

Alex was born into a medical household where evidenced-based thinking was ingrained within the family. Whether discussing a medical diagnosis or arguing over what to watch on movie night, if compelling data was absent from the argument, no argument existed. For example, when Alex first argued the merits of being a licensed skydiver to his family he cited a decade’s worth of safety data, yet still failed to convince them initially. Nevertheless, Alex continues to enjoy skydiving regularly.

This experience with his family helped Alex during his undergraduate years, where his formal interest in analytics emerged through his internship within the healthcare analytics practice at PwC. Alex witnessed firsthand the potential impact of effective analytics for his client, a major cancer center that was integrating medical and research data to enable individualized cancer therapies. As an associate with PwC, Alex continued to explore analytics by gathering business requirements for analytics solutions, creating role-specific dashboards, and manipulating input data with SQL.

Alex’s strong desire to expand his technical capabilities within analytics and become a genuine data scientist led him to jump into the expansive world of analytics, where he hopes that the fast-paced, intensive “freefall” of the MSA program will enable him to land in a stimulating, fulfilling career.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Tanya Ansari Tanya Ansari
B.S., magna cum laude, Bioprocessing Science, NC State University, 2017
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When Tanya was three years old, her little sister passed away from a congenital brain malformation that was undetected before birth. As Tanya took undergraduate classes in genetics, she immediately took interest in how analytics makes prenatal genetic screening possible. While twenty years ago, resources like genetic screening were not as readily available to her own parents, the potential to prevent other families from experiencing heartache sparked Tanya’s interest towards analytics.

Interning with process development and process engineering teams, Tanya gained a variety of experiences working on continuous improvement and optimization of processes. As a Process Engineering Intern with GlaxoSmithKline, she worked on a team that used analytics from machine output, product defects, and customer complaints to identify root causes of downtime in the manufacturing production process. There, Tanya quickly recognized that the value of data scientists to a technical team is their ability to draw meaningful conclusions from vast amounts of manufacturing data produced and to help the team identify where team efforts, resources, and time should be focused.

Outside of the Institute, Tanya has a variety of hobbies. She enjoys exploring the Raleigh-Durham area for new restaurants, especially tapas restaurants and sushi spots. To connect with her family and friends, Tanya channels her interest in art through doing their hair and makeup for special occasions.
Citizenship: USA
Languages: English, Urdu/Hindi
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Jesse Ball Jesse Ball
B.S., magna cum laude, Computer Engineering, NC State University, 2018
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Whether learning to solve a Rubik’s Cube or studying mathematical paradoxes, growing up, Jesse was always drawn to puzzles and math. This curiosity to solve complex problems and love for numbers led him to discover the world of analytics. Jesse felt the need to get more involved in analytics in college and founded the data analytics club at NC State, which sought to give students the infrastructure to learn more about analytics and popular techniques in the field.

After his junior year in college, Jesse received an internship at Sensus to work as a data scientist. He was pushed deep into data about utility consumption. Using this data, Jesse created dashboards to help Sensus be more proactive in discovering faulty meters or false warning codes. In addition, Jesse got hands-on experience using Amazon Web Services to perform transformations on multi-gigabyte datasets. This experience verified that analytics was a dream career for him.

Outside of work, Jesse is passionate about both soccer and cooking. From a young age, he has played soccer whenever he has the chance and enjoys watching his favorite team, Liverpool. His favorite kitchen creations so far are pan-seared steak, three-layer confetti birthday cake, and homemade kombucha.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Nupur Baviskar Nupur Baviskar
Pg.D., Management, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, 2015
B.Tech., Electronics & Communication Engineering, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, 2011
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Curious, Collaborative, Creative – the 3 C’s that personify Nupur.

An insatiable curiosity to understand the why and how of things fueled Nupur’s success in challenging client assignments as a Research Manager with Nielsen. Her most significant accomplishment was designing a custom distribution optimization solution for a consumer-packaged goods client that enabled them to gain $20 million in incremental revenue. By questioning their existing go-to-market strategy and proposing an efficient alternative, she helped them identify the top 1% of retailers in a market of 10 million retailers. This experience further piqued her curiosity to explore analytics as a tool to solve complex business problems.

In her first role as an Area Sales Manager with Unilever, Nupur recognized that collaboration is fundamental to the pursuit of a shared goal. Leading a team of nine sales officers, she learned how to leverage their strengths as well as manage conflicts. By delegating responsibility and establishing a 360-degree feedback mechanism, she steered her team towards consistently exceeding their monthly sales targets.

A creative mind drives Nupur to explore novel techniques for simplifying complex ideas. While volunteering with Teach India, she designed engaging activities to make the curriculum more comprehensible for the underprivileged students. The experience of performing plays as a part of a theatre troupe motivates her to incorporate various non-verbal techniques in her presentations.

Backed by a career spanning both the research and execution side of business, Nupur aspires to develop innovative analytics solutions and communicate them effectively via powerful visualizations.
Citizenship: India
Languages: English, Hindi, Marathi
Hometown: Mumbai, India

Anthony Berghammer Anthony Berghammer
M.B.A., Business Analytics, Appalachian State University, 2017
B.S.B.A., Marketing; Entrepreneurship, Appalachian State University, 2012
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It was an unwavering passion and a creative, entrepreneurial spirit that led Anthony on the journey from music to analytics. Upon the completion of his undergraduate education, Anthony founded a record label to pursue his passion for music. This experience provided him with a firm understanding of the importance of hard-work and helped Anthony gain the attention of his cousin who was starting a large retail company in the Seattle area. The founder acted as a mentor to Anthony, sharpening his marketing and leadership skill set, in addition to pushing Anthony to use data to drive decisions. While developing marketing plans and operational strategies, Anthony fell in love with finding insights in data.

After leaving the Seattle-based company, Anthony began the pursuit of a Master in Business Administration concentrating in business analytics. This exposed Anthony to many of the tools and techniques he could use as an analyst. For his MBA practicum, Anthony developed a funding model for the State of North Carolina’s police call centers.

Upon graduating at the top of his class in his master’s program, Anthony started a position as a data analyst at the Center for Analytics, Research, and Education. During that time, Anthony began to realize the impact analytics could have on the community. Anthony’s primary project was to predict if students who had reached their junior year in good academic standing would graduate. It was this experience that led Anthony to pursue a full-time career in analytics.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin

Elliott Bessell Elliott Bessell
MPhys (Hons), Physics, University of Lancaster, 2016
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Traveling all over the world from an early age, experiencing things like zip lining over the jungle in Costa Rica, and riding atop an elephant in Thailand, fostered Elliott’s curiosity about the world and how things worked. Growing up close to multicultural Manchester allowed this love of travel and enjoying new experiences to grow, and he got to experience over 20 different countries. Being immersed in all these cultures caused an interest in many different cuisines. This means that the first thing he’s always looking to do when traveling is to try the food of the country, especially the desserts. Elliott’s curiosity about life developed into many different interests, including soccer and a passion for the Manchester United and England soccer teams.

The passion for another sport, cricket, the statistics associated with it, and how they are used, led to a fascination with analysis–both in how it can drive improvement and give important insights. Elliott got to explore this interest by working in financial crime for a major financial institution and being part of a project where he became the lead member of the team for all the data analysis. This involved improving poor quality data to increase the screening abilities of the company and prevent terrorist financing.

When traveling back home to the U.K., Elliott loves seeing the latest Marvel or Star Wars release with his brother, trying the newly opened restaurant in his hometown, or just catching up with his friends and family.
Citizenship: UK
Hometown: Nantwich, Cheshire

Ashwin Bhat Ashwin Bhat
B.S.B.A., magna cum laude, Computer Information Systems, Appalachian State University, 2018
B.S.B.A., magna cum laude, Supply Chain Management, Appalachian State University, 2018
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A few years ago, Ashwin jumped out of a plane at 13,000 feet in the air, free fell for about a minute, deployed a parachute, and glided safely to the ground. His main takeaway from this invigorating experience was that it is important to dive head-first into challenges and not overthink the things that could go wrong. He has found that this mindset has translated over to his professional and academic endeavors; even if a challenge appears daunting, it is best faced head-on.

Ashwin faced challenges head-on when working in the supply chain industry, where he worked in global logistics for a telecommunications company and as a procurement specialist for a coffee shop. He has undergraduate leadership experience from serving as the Vice President and Treasurer of the Supply Chain Club. Although he remains interested in the supply chain industry, Ashwin is excited to welcome the chance to learn more about other industries and the value he can contribute to truly make a difference. Ashwin is extremely intrigued by the endless possibilities that data science can unlock, making life easier for people, and better overall.

When Ashwin is not diving into data, he loves to play basketball, watch the Lakers and the Cowboys, go on scenic hikes, and play video games like Fortnite.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Cary, NC

Emily Bisenius Emily Bisenius
B.A., magna cum laude, Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Northern Iowa, 2015
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Whether it’s being curious about a new dataset, recipe, or country, exploration gets to the crux of who Emily is. Since her Junior year of high school, Emily was determined to be an actuary. After two internships and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science, she landed her dream job at a small life insurance company. After two months on the job, the company made a strategic decision that changed every aspect of their data. The following three years she spent learning a new data structure, identifying data flow issues, and building report tools from scratch. It also forced her to get creative in analyzing policyholder behavior.

Once Emily realized exploring data was the reason she loved her job, she decided to pursue the MSA program. As the analytic world changes and grows rapidly, Emily is elated to see what doors the program will open.

When Emily is not digging into data, she is exploring in different avenues. On a day to day basis, Emily experiments to discover what flavors meld together when cooking. Lima beans are currently her ingredient of choice. Additionally, with a semester abroad spent in Scotland and a fifteen-day trip to Scandinavia, exploring new countries feeds Emily’s curiosity. She hopes to return to Scotland for a tour of the Western Islands.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa

Dylan Blackwell Dylan Blackwell
B.A., with Distinction, Economics; Political Science, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2016
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Dylan is a passionately curious individual dedicated to understanding the world and making it a better place. Before joining the Institute, he spent two years as a Teach for America corps member teaching high school math in Los Angeles. During that time, he implemented an innovative online learning platform that combined individualized self-paced learning with project-based collaborative experiences. In addition to building relationships and connecting with students, he regularly spent time examining student data, clustering students by specific identifiers, and finding trends to illuminate common misconceptions among his students.

As an undergraduate student, Dylan developed an appreciation for people and the power of data. Off campus, he worked for a student-run startup that matched national non-profits with children in need, leading to more than $65,000 in holiday gift donations. He also spent a summer working with a community development financial institution gathering data and tracking metrics to measure the social impact of the organization’s $10 million loan portfolio. On campus, Dylan inspired his peers as VP of community service for his professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, resulting in over 400 hours of service and more than $800 in donations.

Outside of work, Dylan enjoys reading about current events and politics, while also making time for activities related to aquatics and the outdoors. He loves traveling the world in search of prime surfing, snowboarding, and camping locations.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Wilmington, NC

Hadia Block Hadia Block
B.S., Accounting, NC State University, 2008
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Tackling numbers by day and stargazing by night, Hadia appreciates the complexity and beauty of this universe. She has always been amazed at how math is one of the most common tools used in understanding questions in any field. Since childhood, her natural interest in mathematics guided her academic path and her 9+ years of professional experience in Supply Chain.

Hadia’s most recent role was with Dell in Demand & Materials Planning, where she was solely responsible for $50-$70 million in raw drives inventory. She led daily cross-functional meetings to drive behaviors that resulted in an average annual savings of $40 million in material costs.

Preceding her time at Dell, she gained experience in international and domestic customer account management, procurement, and project management. One of her greatest accomplishments was leading a multi-departmental team that transitioned that company’s freight system to a third-party logistics group. Through this experience, she was thrilled to find that she had the ability to communicate technical findings to solve business problems.

Those who know Hadia well describe her as a positive person with a propensity to bring people together to accomplish a common goal because she finds satisfaction from ensuring a collaborative, supportive, and efficient atmosphere. In her spare time, she strives to do things following a simple mantra – live to laugh! This ranges from seeing comedy shows, catching up with loved ones, and always looking for that next meteor in the night sky to bring her a different kind of smile.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Connor Campbell Connor Campbell
M.S., Biomedical Science, Duke University, 2016
B.S., cum laude, Biochemistry, NC State University, 2014
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During a three month expedition in the Brazilian Amazon, Connor and a group of twelve students experienced an unrelenting environment that the conquistadors aptly named “Green Hell.” For 80 days, this ragtag team of students was isolated in the beautiful and unforgiving landscape of the Brazilian Rainforest. In this setting, Connor learned the paramount importance of being part of a team, leading a team, and interacting with team members under stressful situations. Over the next seven years, Connor applied these skills in his life. When Connor ran into difficult times (like when his passport and belongings were stolen while traveling in Peru), he would reflect on all the different species of ants he was bitten by while in Brazil. After this reflection, he knew he could overcome any obstacle.

Connor’s personality and educational background led him to a career in Emergency Medical Services. Connor worked in concert with Durham Fire, Police, and his paramedic partner to ensure patients received rapid and lifesaving medical interventions. While Connor enjoyed helping individuals in Durham, he knew he could have a greater impact by addressing issues within his community through data analysis. He sought out a position as a bioinformatics analyst at Peng Lab at NCSU. Under the tutelage of an accomplished computer scientist, Connor learned the necessity of reproducibility as well as how to analyze gene expression data. Connor is looking forward to addressing multifaceted problems through the application of analytical and programming skills.
Citizenship: USA, Canada
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Zhongshuai Cao Zhongshuai (Jonathan) Cao
Master of Industrial Engineering, NC State University, 2014
B.E., Biomedical Engineering, Zhejiang University, 2012
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As a technology enthusiast, Jonathan installs IoT devices to build his smart home. He appreciates that data gathered by the devices are analyzed to benefit society. Feeling fortunate to be living in the data era, Jonathan is determined to have a positive impact.

Jonathan has a hunger for knowledge. Curious about nature, he learned college biology in high school and won 1st place in the Biology Olympiad, then he was automatically admitted to one of the top universities. In college, Jonathan worked with data while researching the anti-tumor effect of natural plant extracts using the high-throughput screening method. This ignited his interest in data, and he continued to strengthen his skills in graduate school.

After getting his education, Jonathan worked at Foxconn, where he used his data talent to excel in cross-functional roles as a supply chain analyst, process engineer, and database administrator. He compiled unstructured data from internal and external sources to build a model to predict customer demands, ultimately reducing finished goods inventory and inventory cost by 50%. Jonathan also worked on data-based optimization projects and trained the team to implement the new processes. As a database administrator, Jonathan maintained the database and managed system improvements. He is always thrilled to develop automation to make his colleagues’ lives easier.

Jonathan, a certified scuba diver, enjoys exploring life in the ocean just as he explores data at work. With great attention to detail, he plans each dive in advance and monitors his diving computer to make each dive safe.
Citizenship: China
Languages: English, Mandarin
Hometown: Shenyang, Liaoning, China

Christopher Cardullo Christopher Cardullo
B.S., summa cum laude, Mathematics, NC State University, 2018
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Due to a lifelong love for problem solving and puzzles, Chris pursued a degree in mathematics. During his undergraduate career, Chris participated in research with his mentor on a topic of mathematical physics called “super math.” This culminated in a research paper, and a presentation he gave in front of a small group of his peers and professors. He also took graduate-level courses, focusing on analysis, topology, and probability. Chris continues to enjoy reading about math theory and understanding how these systems work.

Alongside Chris’s love for pure mathematics, he is interested in applying these skills to real-world problems. This is what attracted him to data analytics, as it allows for the combination of mathematics and statistics theory with real-world techniques and programming.

When Chris isn’t working on a problem, he enjoys a wide variety of hobbies. One of these is watching movies, which can range from films like Hereditary to Addams Family Values. Most weekends he’ll be at a movie theater watching recent releases or old showings at the Alamo Drafthouse. He also enjoys playing board games with friends, especially deck building games that require strategic thinking on the fly. While Chris does enjoy a good competition, he also loves cooperative experiences and is an avid roleplaying game player. He has spent many late nights playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends, commiserating over bad dice rolls, and cheering over a slain dragon.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Knightdale, NC

Ryan Carr Ryan Carr
B.S., summa cum laude, Economics, Frostburg State University, 2017
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Ryan’s interest in analytics originated from his curiosity and hunger to know more. When doing undergraduate research about how the price of natural gas depended on factors like the volume of wells per state, he found the complexity of analytics exciting. It was then that Ryan caught a glimpse of what was possible. He took the initiative to learn and meet regularly with his advisor, discovering new techniques that he would then apply to his project. With his consistent efforts to exceed expectations, Ryan was named the 2017 Economics Department Honors Graduate in recognition of four years of academic distinction.

Ryan’s commitment to hard work doesn’t only shine through in his studies. After graduating college, he spent the following year working as a plumber’s assistant. Success in this role demanded strenuous physical labor in a fast-paced environment. Fitting right in, it wasn’t long before Ryan could install water and drain lines with little to no guidance. In only a short time, he had become a valued team member.

To conclude the day, Ryan will typically reach for his headphones and play a podcast. Over the course of years, he has listened to the voice of Joe Rogan for more than one thousand hours. He also impatiently awaits the release of the sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series and the final season of Game of Thrones.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Oakland, Maryland

Richy Castellanos Richy Castellanos
B.S., magna cum laude, Mathematics, Campbell University, 2017
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Richy has always been fascinated with numbers, which later transformed into a passion after a college statistic courses. What drives him to the field of data science is the process of manipulating data to uncover deeper insights. Richy’s first experience in data science involved analyzing a data set of heart rate information on basketball players through the course of 63 practices. That semester-long project taught him how to clean and work with a messy data set as he investigated the relationship between the distances traveled at different velocities and how strenuous the practice was for the players. Before starting the MSA program, he worked for a construction subcontractor, Alkat Restoration, specializing in wood restoration. Richy used his zeal for data analysis to formulate bids for jobs. He created budget estimates for each project based on labor, cost of materials and equipment, and the time needed to complete the job.

As an undergraduate, he worked as a library assistant, calculus tutor, and a teacher’s assistant for both the math department and the engineering school. Managers and supervisors consistently praised Richy’s work ethic and timeliness. He is committed to devoting the time necessary to thoroughly complete any task assigned.

In his free time, Richy enjoys playing pickup soccer with friends and staying active. He also enjoys collecting tee shirts and working with his hands through tasks such as yard work and small carpentry jobs.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Benque Viejo, Belize

Carlos Chávez Reyes Carlos Chávez Reyes
B.S., Engineering Statistics, Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (Peru), 2013
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Carlos has persistence, grit, and empathy, and he is passionate about analytics.

During his undergraduate studies, he realized that statistics and programming are a powerful combination for finding solutions to real-life problems. Motivated and committed to learning, Carlos graduated as the top-ranked student in his class. The most challenging experience he faced was his senior thesis, in which he applied survival analysis to identify variables associated with school dropouts in Peru. This research was lauded as one of the best undergraduate theses of 2016 by his university.

Throughout his professional development, Carlos has worked in a variety of sectors such as financial institutions, healthcare, and education, showing his capacity to adapt quickly to different areas and provide business solutions. His most enriching experience was as a statistical analyst in a private university, where he applied text mining to analyze students’ opinions about university’s services and contributed to developing a predictive model to estimate the probability of students’ attrition.

Carlos is always open to new experiences. One of his fondest memories was being a math volunteer teacher for unprivileged Peruvian children between 2016 and 2018. Surrounded by people disposed to share their time and energy in favor of others, he experienced great personal growth and learned that the more you give, the more you receive. In addition to volunteering, he enjoys traveling with friends to rural areas or beaches for camping and trekking, visiting museums and theaters, karaoke and dancing, especially Latin rhythms.
Citizenship: Peru
Languages: English, Spanish
Hometown: Lima, Peru

Jesse Chen Jesse Chen
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2018
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Jesse believes in improving people’s lives through meaningful work, and he uniquely exhibits his passion for analytics through his interest in data cleaning and data visualization. He frequently dealt with untidy data during his internship at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education, and he enjoys how this kind of data pushes him to think critically and empowers him to utilize his problem-solving skills. However, it is the challenge to be creative that fuels Jesse’s curiosity about data visualization. It provides him with a canvas to effectively communicate findings and express himself in the world of analytics. By employing his enthusiasm for data cleaning and data visualization, Jesse was able to identify and illustrate the most cost-efficient method to estimate bike and pedestrian traffic.

When Jesse is not doing analytics, he focuses his passion on various indoor and outdoor activities. Sometimes, he indulges himself in a city-building game called Cities: Skylines. He gets fascinated by its in-game data visualizations, and he finds joy in implementing changes that benefit his virtual citizens. During long breaks, Jesse travels to cities like D.C. and New York to experience foods such as New York style halal trucks and all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ. Because he loves the bonding time during road trips, driving is always his favorite means of transportation.
Citizenship: USA
Languages: English, Mandarin
Hometown: New York, NY

Elliott Cobb Elliott Cobb
B.A., with Distinction, Economics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2014
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Elliott has never shied away from a late night at the office, but there was one night that changed his career. While he was validating a bank’s fair lending model, which performs logistic regression to analyze the relationship between denial rates and demographic factors such as race, gender, and income level, Elliott was able to see how statistical modeling can be used to have a real impact on the community by helping to prevent discriminatory lending practices. From that point on, Elliott knew that he was going to become an analytics professional.

During his four years of working in finance and becoming an Excel junkie, Elliott discovered his passion for analyzing data and building models. At the same time, he was able to take on more responsibilities as a consultant and improve his confidence in communicating with clients.

When away from work, Elliott loves to play golf or hit the driving range. He incessantly follows the PGA Tour to keep up with who is playing well in the pros. During the fall, he reverts to a favorite Saturday afternoon pastime of watching college football. Outside of following sports, Elliott also enjoys getting outside and going for a hike. He loves John Rock Trail in Pisgah National Forest, but a short day-trip to Pilot Mountain will also do the trick.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Jamestown, NC

John Coletta John Coletta
B.S., with Distinction, Mathematics; English, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2017
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Ever since reading The Number Devil, a novel chronicling a young boy discovering the beauty of mathematics, John has had a dual fascination with both the magic of numbers and the power of language. This passion followed him throughout his early academic career where, after graduating from the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics, he matriculated at UNC-Chapel Hill as a Mathematics and English double major, developing a special affinity for number theory, literature of the early twentieth century, and the poetry of John Milton.

John’s diverse academic background gives him a unique perspective on data. For him, data is more than a collection of numbers; it is a story waiting to be told. Clear communication of this story is as important as profound analysis to use that data effectively. This interest naturally extends to the burgeoning fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence, where previously unimagined possibilities are becoming a reality.

John was an oarsman on the UNC men’s rowing team for his sophomore, junior, and senior years. He was fortunate enough to study abroad at King’s College London and, while there, was a member of King’s College London Boat Club, rowing out of their boathouse on the Thames. When he is not in class, exercising, or reading a good book (often a presidential biography or Vonnegut), John coaches at Jordan Lake Rowing Club, a local youth team, and greatly enjoys helping athletes both discover a passion for the sport and grow as people and as rowers.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Carlsbad, California

Annie Cooper Annie Cooper
B.S., Biology, Duke University, 2011
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Annie has over seven years of experience working at the intersection of science and data analytics for Fortune 500 companies.

Annie’s experience uniquely enables her to identify bottlenecks and create novel tools that optimize processes and simplify workflows. In the biotech R&D space, she successfully solved system interoperability challenges by automating the communication between sample management and robotics systems. This solution streamlined the collection, storage, and analysis of data, increasing efficiency 10X. Her vision of a unified, automated data platform laid the foundation for her department’s strategy of building a “lab of the future.”

Annie believes that a company’s data can be its biggest asset if its employees have the tools and knowledge to utilize them. She is passionate about making data accessible to business stakeholders through the development of web application and visualization tools. She advocates for the adoption of modern analytical technologies to support decision-making and drive innovation in technical industries.

In her free time, Annie supports local businesses by designing and developing websites and online advertising programs. She is also an avid learner about nutritional and fitness sciences and enjoys experimenting with new recipes and cuisines as part of a cooking club. She spends her weekends hiking with her two dogs and riding bikes on the Greenway Trails of Raleigh.
Citizenship: USA
Languages: English, Taiwanese, Mandarin
Hometown: Burlingame, California

Katrina Crawford Katrina Crawford
B.S., magna cum laude, Accounting, NC State University, 2018
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A small-town girl with big dreams, Katrina has never been afraid of going after what she wants in life. Katrina was born and bred in Maine; however, her hunger for opportunity has taken her to all four corners of the United States. After spending a year living in Las Vegas, Katrina was given a once-in-a-lifetime offer to work in sales on the Sesame Street Live tour. While on tour, Katrina traveled to 63 cities, experienced a minimalistic lifestyle, and realized her love for exploring new places while learning to adapt to different settings quickly.

Katrina’s introduction to analytics occurred during her employment with a credit card company who was rolling out the world’s largest fleet account, the General Services Administration (GSA). Throughout this time, Katrina worked closely with analysts who collected data that they then used to implement modifications and make recommendations to help ease into what could have easily been a difficult transition period.

During undergrad, Katrina’s passion for analytics became apparent once she began the Data Analytics Honors Program. At this time, Katrina completed a real-life practicum working to solve a data merging issue with the Office of the State Auditor in Raleigh. Simultaneously, Katrina gained industry experience at SAS as an Accounting Project Manager Intern where she supported the conversion to a cloud-based ERP system.

Although Katrina is committed to her schoolwork, her most important role is being a dedicated mother to her son. Together they enjoy playing in parks, riding bicycles, and traveling to big cities.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Lisbon Falls, Maine

Brandon Creech Brandon Creech
M.A., Psychological Sciences, UNC–Wilmington, 2018
B.A., magna cum laude, Psychology, UNC–Greensboro, 2013
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As a student of Psychology, Brandon has a keen interest in understanding and predicting human behavior using a wide variety of data. While studying for his master’s degree, he collected and interpreted both brain and behavioral data to understand how self-related information affected memory. He utilized a new brain imaging technology, called functional near-infrared spectroscopy, to collect data from participants for his thesis. During this time, he also learned experimental design and methods that strengthened his understanding of data collection. In addition, he had the opportunity to teach undergraduate and graduate students statistical methods, cognitive psychology, and biology as a teaching assistant and tutor.

These teaching opportunities fostered his passion for communicating statistics and theories of human behavior to others. After taking a data mining course, Brandon found a common thread between his psychology and statistics knowledge within data analytics. Utilizing data analysis and his teaching experiences, he hopes to continue learning and teaching how data can be used to explore the world around us.

In addition to his passion for psychology and data, Brandon is also a lifelong musician, playing both the guitar and mandolin as well as singing. He has traveled to Austria, Italy, and throughout the United States singing in choirs and collaborating with other musicians. When he is not playing music or attending concerts, he spends his time hiking in the Appalachian Mountains and traveling to new places.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Burlington, NC

Debosmita Das Debosmita Das
M.S., Computer Science, NC State University, 2018
B.Tech., Information Technology, West Bengal University of Technology, 2011
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Debosmita’s quest of seeing the unseen started early when she first learned to paint. Her ability to improvise stories from a vague prompt earned her 18 state-level winning titles from 20 painting competitions. She later implemented this skill of improvisation in her professional life. While working for Tata Consultancy Services, she learned that the testing team was facing problems with time efficiency. She independently developed a database automation tool with data analysis, which sped up the database testing 16-fold. Implementation of the product required analysis of around 40 tables containing billions of observations and saved $80,000 per year. Two different teams soon adopted the tool, further scaling its impact.

During her undergraduate degree, Debosmita learned that a complete analytics solution needs equal expertise in programming and statistics. Due to her consistent effort to achieve that expertise, she was featured in TechCrunch when her team developed an artist recommendation application in “OutsideHacks.” At the end of her master’s degree, Debosmita applied her knowledge on the intersectionality of programming and statistics domains through her research on time series. She developed an efficient time-series model for detecting abnormal pattern changes in a time series data stream of weather and stock.

Aside from studies, Debosmita, as an officer in Women In Computer Science at NCSU, organizes coding workshops to inspire other women in technology. Her strong academic performance and relentless work in WICS earned her NCSU’s prestigious Grace Hopper Scholarship.
Citizenship: India
Languages: English, Hindi, Bengali
Hometown: Kolkata, India

Kalie Davis Kalie Davis
M.Accy., Accountancy, University of Mississippi, 2018
B.Accy., summa cum laude, Accountancy, University of Mississippi, 2017
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As early as first grade, Kalie showed an unusual zeal for counting coins in her piggy bank. Soon, she was rolling her father’s collected change and taking pride when her count reconciled with the teller’s machine. Math became her favorite subject throughout school. So when university called, Kalie naturally majored in accounting.

Applying her interest in math to her extracurriculars, Kalie served as VP of Finance on the Panhellenic Executive Council – overseeing the billing and spending for the largest organization on campus. Additionally, through the LeapFrog mentoring program for underprivileged youth, Kalie tutored first-grader, Anija, with her math homework and helped raise her grade from a C to an A. After graduating as valedictorian of the Patterson School of Accountancy and receiving Ole Miss’s Taylor Medal, faculty members chose Kalie to be a graduate assistant, where she had the opportunity to work under a former chancellor and tutor advanced accounting concepts.

Through internal and external audit internships with United Airlines and PwC, Kalie honed her interests and discovered how the valuable skill set of data analytics perfectly complements her background and provides an array of opportunities.

In line with her go-getter personality, Kalie delights in the limelight. As a former studio dancer and member of the Ole Miss Rebelettes dance team, she has enjoyed the rush of performing for sold-out theaters and stadiums. She continues to take classes in ballet, jazz, hip hop, and tap as often as she can.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana

David DeLissio David DeLissio
B.S., Chemistry, Elon University, 2009
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With a strong scientific and ethical grounding, David has always had a natural curiosity for the world around him and a strong desire to leave a positive impact upon it. Throughout his professional life, analytics has become a natural extension of this drive for understanding and improving our modern world.

Studying chemistry provided David with a robust foundation in scientific principles and exposed him to analytics and leadership. He focused his undergraduate research in the Analytical Chemistry Lab, building linear models attempting to predict the alcohol content of wine. During his senior year, David led a team of teaching assistants, who prepared and supervised the Organic Chemistry Laboratory.

Driven by his passion for leaving a positive impact on the world, David spent over three years as an operational lead at WIRB-Copernicus Group, a leading provider of ethical review services for clinical trials. He excelled in assembling high functioning teams, built around mutual respect and results-driven expectations. David’s experiences as a team lead ignited a true passion for analytics, as he developed and applied these skills to his leadership role. As a team leader, he set the benchmark for how performance metrics were measured throughout operational teams, utilizing SQL queries and Access reports to measure individual productivity. David drastically improved his team’s production timelines by implementing a prioritization dashboard and tracking all team projects and their due dates. While operational in nature, these improvements aligned with the company’s greater goal of reducing the time needed for bringing life-saving drugs to market.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Burlington, Vermont

Alexandria Dempsey Alexandria Dempsey
B.A., magna cum laude, Economics, UNC–Wilmington, 2017
B.S., magna cum laude, Statistics, UNC–Wilmington, 2017
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Since grade school, Alexandria has been passionate about helping others–everyone from colleagues to total strangers. Whether tutoring her peers after classes in high school or training newer employees at work, her eyes light up when her colleagues excel using her guidance and feedback. As a distinguished Mathematics & Statistics Scholar and magna cum laude graduate, Alexandria worked diligently during her undergraduate career both on and off campus. Interning as a statistical programmer for nearly a year and a half, her work on clinical trials aligned well with her mission of helping others.

Turning raw data into actionable insights gets her out of bed in the morning, and knowing her efforts will benefit society helps her sleep at night. Alexandria keenly understands data’s role in problem-solving across various industries. From predicting income based on demographics to investigating the impact of hydraulic fracking on water quality, she has worked on projects utilizing data to explore topics close to her heart. Beyond gathering insights, she strives to ensure the implementation of practical solutions that serve individuals and communities alike.

Always up to date, Alexandria enjoys reading the Wall Street Journal’s articles focusing primarily on politics, macroeconomics, and international affairs. As an avid traveler (concentrated in Europe thus far), her favorite part about exploring is appreciating the fresh perspectives encountered. The uniqueness of each culture and landscape inspires her to contribute to the betterment of this beautiful, complicated world one project at a time.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Fayetteville, NC

Rachael Depolt Rachael Depolt
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2018
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Rachael is passionate about purposeful work and is dedicated to helping others. Beginning in elementary school and continuing through high school, she helped her classmates understand important mathematics concepts. Later, Rachael utilized her teaching and organizational skills to pay for her undergraduate education. She worked as a Calculus II teaching assistant for six semesters, assisted students with disabilities during their classes, and served as the secretary of the Disability Resource Office.

While working as a data analytics intern for Delhaize America’s Customer Engagement team, Rachael used R programming to discover valuable marketing insights from a recently released shopping program. Her insights provided the framework for a model to target specific customers and opened her eyes to the infinite possibilities that lie within the field of analytics. The power of merging critical thinking with statistics to understand and solve problems fascinates Rachael. She is now pursuing a meaningful and fulfilling career in analytics at a company that supports diversity and encourages innovation.

Rachael is notorious for challenging herself and seeking opportunities to grow as an individual. Hungry for a new challenge, Rachael spent a semester studying in Cork, Ireland. While abroad, she learned from students with varying backgrounds, explored different cultures throughout Europe, and hunted for castles across Ireland. As a first-time traveler, this experience provided Rachael an opportunity to step out of her comfort zone and adapt to stressful situations.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Greensboro, NC

Abigail Dexter-Boone Abigail Dexter-Boone
M.S., Crop Science, NC State University, 2018
B.S., magna cum laude, Plant Biology, NC State University, 2016
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Since early childhood, Abigail has been fascinated with studying the plants and nature around her. Starting in high school, she began applying numbers to her efforts to develop the most efficient and productive methods within her backyard garden. This passion has only intensified over the years, as she continues to love quantifying and analyzing complex biological processes and solving critical real-world problems with analytics tools. The desire to pursue this passion has motivated her to cultivate a thorough background in analysis of plant science experiments and plant genetics, specifically in applied crop breeding.

Abigail has a strong track record of working in diverse teams to solve pressing issues. She thrives on applying her knowledge and in-depth experience in a variety of research areas to find novel solutions to challenging problems. Her research within the United States Department of Agriculture gave her experience with management and plant breeding efforts to increase the food supply. Abigail’s further research experience was targeted towards the advancement of methodology within plant breeding and the development of novel crop varieties with reduced harm to human health. These focused projects led to a better understanding of how to use data analysis to solve complex issues.

When Abigail is not in front of a computer screen, she enjoys time spent outside in the great North Carolina weather walking the greenway system or reading a variety of fictional novels and non-fiction genetics literature to her three-legged cat, Trillian.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Prairie Village, Kansas

Andrew Dotter Andrew Dotter
B.S., summa cum laude, Economics, UNC–Charlotte, 2013
B.S.B.A., Operations and Supply Chain Management, UNC–Charlotte, 2013
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“Go! Go! Go!” is the phrase that starts an exhilarating weekend for Andy as a Porsche Club of America race car driver and high-performance driving instructor. Whether in the driver seat or coaching people how to achieve their best, he strives for continuous improvement. When not at the track, he enjoys traveling, hiking, snow skiing, boating, and playing hockey.

Andy’s passion for logic and problem solving drove him to double major in Economics and Operations. During college, his interest in entrepreneurship led a professor to introduce him to Chariots of Freedom, a non-profit organization that pulls disabled children behind a bicycle in a chariot. Andy developed a business plan using market research and analysis that enabled the founder to expand his organization. Seeing first-hand how data can empower businesses and have a positive impact on communities and families motivated Andy to build a career in analytics.

Andy worked as a Business Improvement Manager of Analytics at Element, a material testing company. Over four years, he worked alongside executives and directors managing a global pricing program. The program utilized customer, market, and transactional data analytics to create, implement, and further a strategy that increased revenue by $10 million annually. Additionally, Andy obtained his Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and managed various projects ranging from machine shop improvements to key performance indicator development and automation. Andy’s experiences have taught him it is not just about data; the ability to lead and build relationships is critical to being a successful analytics professional.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Cary, NC

Roger Dugas Roger Dugas
M.S., Management, Elon University, 2016
B.S., Applied Mathematics, Elon University, 2013
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Sacrifice, hard work, and determination led Roger to a full scholarship to play Division I basketball at Elon University. At the age of 15, Roger was selected as one of 12 players from across the province of Quebec and then Canada to play basketball for the Quebec Provincial team and later the Canadian Junior National team. During that time, he lived with host families in their homes or with his teammates in dormitories, attended four different high schools, and traveled the world playing elite basketball against other countries. Despite a career-ending injury involving multiple invasive right knee surgeries, his determination, work ethic, and intellect inspired him to pursue new goals.
Roger decided to study applied mathematics and art in college because he found these fields to be intellectually rewarding. Following his undergraduate studies, he worked as an actuarial analyst at a reinsurance brokerage firm and enjoyed being able to apply his problem-solving skills in a business environment. He then chose to further his studies with a master’s degree in management while living with the former President Emeritus of Elon University, Dr. J. Earl Danieley, who was one of North Carolina’s strongest advocates for higher education and also a close friend.

More recently, Roger worked at a global textile manufacturing company working on implementing a data-driven planning software program in the US and France. Enjoying challenges and adversity, Roger is a competitive athlete and problem solver who values curiosity in whatever new challenge or goal he is striving towards without fear of failure.
Citizenship: Canada
Languages: English, French
Hometown: Georgeville, Quebec

Hayley Edmonds Hayley Edmonds
B.S., summa cum laude, Chemical Engineering, NC State University, 2018
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After witnessing a family member with a serious illness struggle to find proper medication, Hayley decided to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry to develop new life-changing treatments for patients. This passion inspired her to attend NC State University and pursue her degree in Chemical Engineering to better understand the science behind pharmaceutical development. In her junior year at NC State, Hayley’s time in a chemical engineering unit operations class piqued her interest in analytics. She discovered she could enhance and leverage her chemical engineering skills within the field of analytics through the integration of engineering, computer science, and statistics. Hayley’s growing passion for analytics combined with her desire to help others also motivated her to secure an internship with GlaxoSmithKline, a leader in drug discovery and development. Additionally, the experience confirmed her long-term career goal to work for a company striving to improve the lives of others.

Hayley loves to experience new customs and cultures in her travels around the world. One of her favorite adventures was an Alternative Spring Break trip with fellow engineering students where she assisted in planting over 1,000 trees for a local Nicaraguan community. When she is not analyzing data or exploring new places, Hayley enjoys team sports like soccer and basketball. She also takes pride in her ability to quote her favorite TV shows, particularly The Office.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Qing Feng Qing Feng
B.S., Economics; Statistics, George Washington University, 2016
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More than an aspiring analytics professional with solid technical skills, Qing is passionate about sharing her insight through visualization along with an easy-to-understand narrative for audiences of different backgrounds. Qing discovered this passion while she was working as a Data Visualization intern at the Peace Corps headquarters. At that position, one of the major projects involved presenting her analytics findings to organization-wide departments using Tableau. It was Qing’s first time realizing how visualization graphs trigger so many deep conversations that can lead to broader research within the office. Qing is looking forward to fostering this passion in her future career.

Prior to the MS Analytics program, Qing started her career in the pharmaceutical industry in a clinical data management role. Seventy-five percent of her job responsibility was to coordinate and communicate with database vendors. Due to the complex and highly regulated nature of the clinical trial study, the ability to understand the data issue and to articulate the response was quite essential. The communication-intense role made Qing stand out as an analytics professional who can deliver a message simply and accurately.

In her leisure time, Qing loves to take her dog, River, to the dog park to take a break from her daily routine and socialize with a broader range of people. She enjoys hearing about other people’s life experiences and rethinking her own future in light of new perspectives.
Citizenship: China
Languages: English, Chinese
Hometown: Pingxiang, Jiangxi

Grant Fleming Grant Fleming
B.S., magna cum laude, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of South Carolina, 2017
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During his time at Poe Elementary School, Grant watched how his classmates from poor and unsafe homes often failed to succeed despite the best efforts of their teachers. Later in life, he wondered whether problems like these were simply impossible to solve or if the attempted solutions were based upon poorly-designed analyses of bad data. Inspired by these questions, Grant focused on his desire to alleviate inequality by completing an honors major in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of South Carolina where he examined the effects of foreign aid on Sub-Saharan African development.

Working for over a year on USAID government-contracted research in the Humanitarian Research and Development Lab, Grant co-authored two academic articles on how specific technological assistance programs failed to fix gender disparities in rural Senegal. In this case, delivering the right assistance required better utilization of statistics, software, and stakeholder collaboration. Failing aid was not an impossible to solve problem, just one that required better analytics.

Grant’s later experiences as a United States Boren Scholar in Shanghai, China, and as a Taiwan-US Ambassador Scholar impressed upon him the global applicability of and need for analytical skills. While in Shanghai developing professional proficiency in Mandarin Chinese, Grant worked as a financial modeling and business development intern at a Chinese smartphone app company. The language had changed, but the relevance of analytics remained clear.

When not considering new applications for analytics, Grant can be found performing in musicals, writing new fantasy and sci-fi worlds, or competing in Super Smash Bros. gaming tournaments around the nation.
Citizenship: USA
Languages: English, Chinese
Hometown: Cary, NC

Morgan Groves Morgan Groves
B.S., cum laude, Business Administration, NC State University, 2013
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Morgan’s aspiration for self-improvement and iterative growth pours out into her work and personal interests. Her ability to envision an improved and more efficient future pairs well with the foundational purpose of data analytics. Therefore, Morgan has sought out opportunities within this field through undergraduate opportunities and in the professional workplace.

During her undergraduate coursework, Morgan collaborated with her marketing research professor to publish a report on the statistical significance of the naming of airports. In her marketing internship, Morgan studied and deployed Google Analytics as an approach for building marketing campaigns for clients. During her practicum project, Morgan assisted as a procurement analyst, exploring spend data to make meaningful data-driven decisions for the organization.

In her professional career, Morgan worked at IBM for five years as an analyst, process engineer, and consultant. She worked with both internal and external clients to solve complex problems, reinvent organizational structure, and use cognitive software to more efficiently provide visibility to data across the enterprise on a single platform. She completed IBM’s Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training and taught others Design Thinking and Agile methodologies.

Morgan’s passion project outside of her career is co-leading a local contemporary dance company. Over the past three years, she has been able to grow this company and give women the opportunity to dance and perform. Morgan appreciates that while on-stage dance emulates perfection, it is an art that always requires further improvement and growth.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Jobstown, New Jersey

Zuriya Haider Zuriya Haider
B.S., cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2018
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Creativity and Compassion. These are two of the driving forces in Zuriya’s life that heavily influence the type of analyst she aspires to be. While it is her creativity that inspires her when learning new photography techniques or exploring other forms of visual art in her free time, her compassion and experience with community service drive her to work on projects with meaningful impact. Through the field of analytics, she can integrate these two driving forces and deliver concise, clear messages using data visualizations.

Growing up, Zuriya always had an aptitude for math, the arts, and helping others. Her appreciation for numbers influenced her to major in statistics during her undergraduate studies. Through her academic and extracurricular experiences, she started to realize how her interests could come together. While interning at a research institute, she got the chance to look at forecasting models of student populations in schools across North Carolina. There, she was exposed to an array of new data visualizations, opening her eyes to how visualizations are crucial for relaying key analytical insights to a variety of audiences.

Throughout college, Zuriya’s love for community service inspired her to take on various leadership roles in Service Raleigh, which organizes the Triangle’s largest annual day of service event. This passion for helping others was strengthened by a social entrepreneurship fellowship through which she gained exposure to a new sector and realized how her analytical background could be utilized in an array of organizations.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Apex, NC

Graham Haines Graham Haines
B.S., Mathematics, Davidson College, 2018
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You have less than eight weeks to improve the food desert epidemic in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was the problem given to Graham last summer during his internship for a data analytics company. By finding his own data and writing programs to analyze it, Graham exceeded the expectations of his colleagues. As a result of the project, Graham now recognizes the value of using data to solve real-world problems and feels that his lifelong passion for numbers, problem-solving, and communication creates the perfect blend for this type of work.

Each morning before elementary school, Graham ran outside to grab the newspaper so that he could read the box scores in the sports section while eating his breakfast. Numbers and sports, especially playing and watching baseball, were always an interest, yet it was not until joining a club known as Cats Stats during his sophomore year at Davidson College that Graham realized the strong association between the two. Graham performed analytics for the women’s basketball team at Davidson. This position then led him to an internship with the Chicago Sky, a professional women’s basketball team, as their lead data analyst. However, what he enjoyed most about these opportunities was the ability to communicate his results. While working as both a tutor and tour guide throughout college, Graham thoroughly enjoyed explaining new information to people, a strength that will serve him well in the analytics community. In the future, Graham hopes to use his diverse skill set to continue to solve real-world problems using data.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware

Amy Hand Amy Hand
B.S., summa cum laude, Physics; Mathematics, Southern Methodist University, 2010
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Amy’s interest in math and analytics began as a love of physics in high school, when she took multiple physics classes in the same academic year. At Southern Methodist University, she continued to pursue an education in physics, while expanding her outlook to also include mathematics and computer science. During her first job after college, she realized the analytical and business applications of her educational foundation, which compelled her to pursue data analytics professionally.

Amy worked as a marketing analyst at One Technologies in Dallas, Texas. There she optimized Google AdWords campaigns and analyzed affiliate quality and conversion metrics. Amy later worked at Leading Response, where she expanded her analytics role to support several departments in the company. Her position included managing revenue optimization, pricing strategy, and aligning marketing efforts with sales demand. Along with the team she assembled, Amy quickly became the analytic hub of the company and the go-to source for problem solving and data-driven insights.

In her free time, Amy enjoys browsing the shelves at Half Price Books and having a cappuccino at local coffee shops. Her other hobbies include training her two Jack Russell Terriers, spending time with family, and traveling.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Orlando, Florida

Jagadeesh Hariharan Jagadeesh Hariharan
B.E., First Class with Distinction, Mechatronics Engineering, Sri Krishna College of Engineering and Technology, 2017
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When dismantling toy-cars as a child, Jagadeesh was curious to know about the underlying mechanics and electronics inside them, which led him to pursue Mechatronics Engineering. Being passionate about automobiles, he joined his college racing team and built a Formula-3 race car to participate in student formula racing competitions. His interest in robotics motivated him to construct a rover, hovercraft, and quadcopter to participate in many additional competitions.

Jagadeesh’s fascination with data science started during his internship at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore where he worked on an unmanned surface vehicle project. His curiosity about visual detection and identification tasks led him to explore how machine learning techniques could help examine data and identify interesting patterns. Being a flexible and quick learner, he taught himself Python and image processing techniques to develop a cognitive vision principle algorithm. Jagadeesh created a GUI that uses the algorithm to predict appropriate color names of different objects in the image. Experiencing the way that engineers approach real-world problems with data inspired him to pursue a career in analytics.

Outside of work, Jagadeesh is fond of traveling around the world and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking. His most recent hike was at the Dog Mountains in Portland, Oregon where he saw the gorge that divides Washington and Oregon. In addition to hiking, Jagadeesh values a good cup of coffee. Having found that his weekdays are possible only with coffee, he traveled to Bali, Indonesia to try out the most expensive coffee in the world.
Citizenship: India
Languages: English, Tamil
Hometown: Tuticorin, India

Dave Hiltbrand Dave Hiltbrand
B.S., Statistics, UNC–Wilmington, 2017
B.S., University Studies, University of Texas at Arlington, 2015
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After receiving his first PC when he was nine, Dave became fascinated by computers and how quickly they evolve. Throughout his twenties, his passion for computers grew stronger, and he sought employment in jobs that allowed him to explore both the hardware and software aspects of computers, like medical manufacturing equipment repair and drafting with AutoCAD. During his time in San Francisco, the technology mothership, he developed an interest in the “Big Data” boom and crafted a plan to combine his love for computers with the field of data science.

The first step in the plan was to acquire a second bachelor’s degree, in statistics, and relocate to NC to be closer to his family. To support himself during school, Dave worked as a full-time computer sales supervisor, which turned into a fantastic opportunity to hone his leadership skills. He coached employees on how to show customers the benefits computers bring to everyday activities in life. Additionally, Dave worked in a research lab, using R programming to deploy statistical and machine learning models such as elastic net, negative binomial, and profile regression to biological datasets.

Working multiple jobs and attending school full time has kept Dave busy and helped him to develop an exceptional work ethic. To relax and recharge, Dave and his wife, Karin, enjoy traveling to the Caribbean and indulging in exotic cuisines. As an animal lover, Dave also enjoys drinking coffee on the porch with Karin and the two special needs cats they rescued, Nathan and Twinkle.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Arlington, Texas

Kristin Hooper Kristin Hooper
B.S., cum laude, Business Administration, UNC–Wilmington, 2015
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Named the ‘Most Outstanding Graduate’ in economics, Kristin strives for achievement. During her sophomore year, Kristin was invited to compete in the College Federal Challenge, a nationwide competition in which teams research and present economic trends and propose their own monetary policy recommendations. She competed for two years as a member of a five-person team, serving as team lead the second year. From that experience, Kristin developed valuable skills such as connecting data from multiple sources, collaborating with others, leading teams, and presenting strong, in-depth arguments to a panel of judges. In her junior year, Kristin was selected to join the BB&T Foundation’s one-million-dollar student-run investment portfolio where she researched and made investment decisions in the consumer discretionary industry. In the same year, Kristin took an econometrics class, for which she created a linear regression model in SAS to explain manufacturing growth rates by county level in North Carolina. After graduation, she worked in administration and finance in the legal industry.

On a personal level, Kristin has coached middle school girls’ basketball for the past six years. Every team she has coached had historic winning records, and many placed first or second in the conference tournament or season. Kristin is also a huge dog lover; she adopted two Miniature Australian Shepherds, and nothing brightens her day more than seeing her dogs happy. To relax, Kristin plays cards and shoots pool.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Garner, NC

Charlotte Hopson Charlotte Hopson
B.S., Statistics and Analytics; Environmental Sciences, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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Charlotte’s interest in data and analytics was born out of her love for the natural world. As a child, she played in creeks, and as a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she studied environmental science and worked in ecological laboratories. She researched topics ranging from water patterns in the Appalachian Mountains to heat tolerance of caterpillars, even helping to sustain a forty-year-old caterpillar colony. Her favorite project, however, involved using Excel and R to develop and analyze a database of local butterflies so that a farm could try to attract rare species. Charlotte found the project’s potential for positive impact to be inspiring. It led her to add a major in statistics and analytics and transition to taking more decision-making business courses where she developed an interest in efficiency and optimization, the perfect intersection of sustainability and business.

Charlotte also completed an internship with Healthlink Europe & International, a logistics provider for biomedical device companies. In this position, she conducted research on the device market, helped to create and organize databases of potential clients, and learned about the types of decisions that are made at an international company.

When she’s not learning new programming languages and analysis techniques, Charlotte enjoys spending time outside, from hiking in national and state parks to biking on the greenway around Raleigh. Additionally, she loves traveling and learning about different cultures and languages, having spent a summer in Salamanca, Spain and traveled through parts of Central America and Europe.
Citizenship: USA
Languages: Spanish
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

William Jenista Bill Jenista
M.B.A., University of Notre Dame, 2016
B.S., magna cum laude, Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 2006
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Bill’s interest in engineering began with a small mountain of Legos in his family’s basement. Growing up, he spent many hours sifting through thousands of pieces for that perfect one to finish his current project. This interest and a natural talent for engineering and math led Bill to a nuclear engineering officer position in the US Navy. There, he led a team of fifteen sailors to safely conduct power plant operations and analyze real-time data to combat changing plant conditions. Demonstrating superior operational skill, Bill was selected to teach nuclear power operations to new officers at the Navy’s nuclear power training facility.

After proudly serving his country; Bill left the Navy to pursue further education. While getting his MBA at Notre Dame, he developed an interest in data-driven decisions and took as many business analytics courses as were available. Bill applied his burgeoning skills to help a local food bank with its inventory management challenges through a Six Sigma process improvement lens.

In his free time, Bill likes to play board games with friends, whether the game is an epic ten-hour strategic throw-down or a friendly thirty-minute activity over lunch. When alone, he enjoys reading a good science-fiction or fantasy book and painting miniatures for his Warmachine game.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Kyuhyun Jeong Kyuhyun Jeong
B.S., Computer Science; Mathematics, Calvin College, 2018
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As early as high school, Kyuhyun showed an aptitude for analytics. He researched Korea’s unique educational system through the lens of behavioral psychology. For his research, the board members of the International Conference for Youth (ICY) awarded him an excellent youth scholarship and gave him the opportunity to present his analysis on the Korean education system to the board members and students.

During his undergraduate studies, Kyuhyun interned at TBD Solutions, a consultancy company whose primary customers are psychiatric hospitals. He was responsible for cleaning and building user interactive applications. Kyuhyun’s research experience on the “Clean Water for Liberia” project also helped him understand the complexity of the survey data and automation of data cleaning process. His interests in analytics led him to participate in the “Big Data Ignite” conference, the largest data science conference in Grand Rapids, MI, where he and his instructor co-presented on dplyr and Shiny packages in R to an audience from multiple industries.

Kyuhyun’s genuine interest in different cultures motivated him to travel to more than ten different countries, including Turkey, Iceland, and Japan. These experiences have enhanced his adaptability to work in new environments. He enjoys trying indigenous foods, learning new languages, and making friends.
Citizenship: South Korea
Languages: English, Korean
Hometown: Incheon, South Korea

Aaron Johnston Aaron Johnston
B.Ec., Economics, Macquarie University, 2012
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Growing up on a dairy farm in Australia, Aaron quickly learned the practical value of technology when his family adopted its first farm computer. At an early age, he was fascinated with how a computer could communicate with farm machinery and produce complex reports. When he was old enough to manage the farm operations, he oversaw the adoption of a new automatic milking system, which resulted in an increase of milk production by 25%. It was there, on a dairy farm, that Aaron’s passion for using data and technology to drive efficiency first began.

Pursuing his interests in human behavior and decision-making, Aaron went on to earn a degree in Economics, later working in banking before transitioning into a relationship manager role. In this position, Aaron was able to combine his excitement for analytics with his biggest passion: people. Aaron believes everyone has a story worth sharing and has made it a lifelong endeavor to discover those stories. His eagerness to learn more about people and their cultures, paired with his enthusiasm for the outdoors, has driven him to travel to more than 50 countries, spanning six continents.

Aaron is notorious among friends for his creative storytelling (ask him about his New Year’s Eve on the Trans-Siberian Railway or his backpacking trip through the Patagonian wilderness). He hopes to bring this love of stories to a career as a data analyst, translating data into insights that reveal the faces and patterns behind the numbers.
Citizenship: Australia
Hometown: Taree, NSW, Australia

Elijah Jones Elijah Daniel Jones
B.S., summa cum laude, Business Administration, NC State University, 2018
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A good story captivates and profoundly makes sense; Eli is always looking to find the story, whether it is in the works of his favorite author Hemingway, his hour-long quests to find great songs on Spotify, or most importantly his interest in how people make decisions and how those decisions affect the economic world. Eli found that his lifelong passion of sailing matched perfectly with his desire to find the story, no matter the subject—much the same way that a skilled sailor can find endless adventure on the water, a data analyst has the skills to navigate oceans of data to find the insights within.

Fortunately for Eli, his hobbies complement his interest in data science. His creative side lends itself to not just charcoal sketching, but also the skilled design of sales and forecasting dashboards in his data analyst internship. His love of a challenge fits with the puzzle of programming. An interest in finding an explanation for any question he thinks of draws him to statistics and the opportunities it presents. Backpacking and hiking are his hobbies, and he can find adventure in the exploration of the datasets he has worked on for numerous projects in his academic and professional career.

Through his coursework, leadership, and teamwork roles in the Sailing Club at NC State and work as a Data Analytics intern, Eli has developed his professional skills and personal interests. Ultimately, he discovered that he can enjoy all his passions through the field of data analytics.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Hickory, NC

Jordan Kent Jordan Kent
B.S., summa cum laude, Business Administration, UNC–Wilmington, 2017
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Jordan has found fulfillment through diverse experiences. During undergrad, he spent a summer studying Spanish in Chile. Immediately after, Jordan took a semester to gain experience working for Walt Disney World. Disney educators formally introduced him to analytics by teaching methods of improving the customer experience using data on wait times. Excited to continue learning, Jordan returned to undergrad and further explored analytics. In his econometrics course, he conducted research using SAS on the effects educational attainment had on the unemployment rate in each state. Maintaining a perfect GPA, Jordan was the recipient of “The Most Outstanding Economic Graduate Award.”

Jordan had a wide variety of professional development experiences while he was an undergraduate student. He interned at Cox Media Group, Walt Disney World, and Wells Fargo. While these companies are different, they all use analytics to drive business decisions. Jordan incorporated his love for working with numbers during each experience.

Outside of academia, Jordan is very passionate about his travels. He loves learning about different cultures and continuously building a large, diverse network of connections. Soccer is another one of Jordan’s pleasures. He switched from a player to a referee after watching a confident official call his championship soccer match. Through working with new teams of officials at every match, he has noticed a substantial improvement in his communication and teamwork skills.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

John Klimek John (JT) Klimek
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2018
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JT has always pursued his goals with focus and determination. In three years, JT graduated summa cum laude from NC State’s University Honors Program while majoring in statistics and minoring in political science.

Making the most of his accelerated academic career, JT conducted research on the effects of concussions on NFL player performance. Intriguingly, his research indicates quarterbacks recover more quickly from head-related injuries than running backs or linebackers. JT performed further research with the PackPoll, an organization responsible for surveying the NC State student body on current political issues. As a devout Catholic, JT took an interest in students’ religious affiliations, and he discovered that previous surveys had underestimated religiously-unaffiliated students at NC State by nearly ten percentage points. Additionally, JT interned at the Martin Center for Academic Renewal where he explored the effects of student loans on rising tuition rates. While carrying an intensive undergraduate course schedule, JT represented the College of Sciences as a Senator for Student Government, and he culminated his education with a summer in Germany at the University of Marburg studying “Politics of the Middle East.”

With a personal best time of 9:36 for two miles, JT has been a passionate runner since high school. As a two-time Captain and MVP, JT led the Cardinal Gibbons cross country team to a state championship victory. A rabid fan of Wolfpack sports, JT even faced down a roaring hurricane to personally attend every NC State home football game as an undergraduate.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Morrisville, NC

Tommy Lang Tommy Lang
B.A., summa cum laude, Mathematics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2014
B.B.A., summa cum laude, Accounting, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2014
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Those who know Tommy describe him as a workhorse. He is a self-starter and possesses incredible grit that enables him to succeed in challenging environments that are full of uncertainty. During his time as an analyst at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (MA DOR), he created the organization’s first internally developed machine learning based predictive model. After teaching himself about predictive modeling and programming with R, he initiated and led training sessions on it for his co-workers. He has also presented to members of the Emerging Leaders Program at the MA DOR about Data Science to promote a more data-driven culture. Tommy’s contributions to the MA DOR have elevated its analytics capability to a new level, and it will pay dividends to the agency for years to come.

Tommy excelled during his undergraduate studies despite pursuing challenging coursework. He took up to 23 credits per semester while working a part-time job and still managed to graduate with a 3.93 GPA. Although he didn’t consider himself to be the smartest person in the classroom, he consistently placed at the top of his class through an intense amount of hard work and dedication.

When Tommy is not working with data, he enjoys being active. He is frequently pushing his limits in his favorite activities: weightlifting, boxing, and road cycling. Weightlifting and boxing have been his hobbies for over a decade, and he has been persistently training in them. Every day he strives to beat his personal records.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Malden, Massachusetts

Jacob Lasky Jacob Lasky
B.S., magna cum laude, Biochemistry, NC State University, 2017
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A multipotentialite, Jacob loves to learn, understands how to rapidly synthesize complex information, and excels at creating novel solutions to difficult problems. As an undergraduate, Jacob was a member of the Honors College and received a Chancellor’s Leadership Scholarship honing his skills in strengths-based leadership. His freshman year, he was awarded the Caldwell Fellowship, a four-year scholarship that includes focused training in the philosophy of servant-leadership. Armed with this knowledge, he became president of NC State’s National Residence Hall Honorary and tripled its members’ participation and national presence.

In addition to developing leadership skills, Jacob spent three years as a Research Assistant. In this position, he used R and R-Shiny to create a robust analysis tool that uses reporter input to create a prioritized list of genes for scientists to study further. Upon presenting this research, he earned the top presentation award at NC State’s Spring 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium. It was through his work on this project that Jacob discovered analytics and found his greatest interest and career path.

After graduation, he worked as an analyst at TRAKAmerica in a position that enabled him to use his foundation in analytics and experience with servant-leadership. Jacob’s responsibilities included managing, reviewing, and analyzing data quality from 30 vendors with over 200,000 accounts.

When Jacob is not studying or working, he spends time playing games such as Rocket League or Fishbowl with his wife, family, and friends. While alone, he maintains his ecosystem of orchids and two planted freshwater aquariums.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Beaufort, NC

“Peixing Peixing Li
B.S.B.A., cum laude, Business Administration and Management, Boston University, 2017
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“Put yourself in your client’s shoes” is what Peixing’s parents always tell her. This expression has been the key to the survival of their family’s business despite fierce competition. Inspired by her entrepreneurial parents, she has been keenly interested in business since a young age. As an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, she was proactive in problem solving and adding value to both the firm and clients. She attended strategy meetings hosted by partners and contributed innovative ideas. Through this process, she realized that data is fundamentally changing the business world. Immediately, she began learning Python online after work. Using Python, she helped her company’s data assurance team automate reconciliation processes, which saved three hours of repetitive work each audit cycle. Furthermore, managers praised her ability to quickly understand her client’s business process and to help interns navigate tasks.

Peixing is enthusiastic about exploring restaurants that serve a variety of ethnic cuisines, such as Peruvian and Italian. To her, food is a form of art. All of her fondest memories involve delicious food with her family and friends, which makes her believe that food brings people together. This year, she and her data-savvy friends started documenting comments and ratings for all the restaurants they visited. The list has grown to 120 restaurants! Moving forward, they want to develop it into a data analytics project.

Peixing also loves riding her bike. Recently, she challenged herself to finish the 37-mile bike trail around Cape Cod and plans to explore the Greenway in Raleigh.
Citizenship: China
Languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Hometown: Foshan, China

Yutong (Sophee) Li Sophee Li
B.S., cum laude, Business Analytics; Finance, Babson College, 2017
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Sophee’s motivation is evident in her enthusiasm for meeting new challenges and embracing changes. In her freshman year, she not only learned business knowledge from her entrepreneurship class but also discovered the world of analytics; she was fascinated by it. Taking the entrepreneurship class gave Sophee an opportunity to be a member of a student-run business – Frocket T, and she discovered her interests in building models to evaluate the company’s achievement as a member of the finance department.

By analyzing the performance of the cinema’s promotional campaigns during her internship at Rainbow Cineplax, Sophee suggested adjusting the target market for future marketing strategies and helped the cinema to be more competitive. Following her internship experience, Sophee decided to pursue analytics as her career. Upon graduation, Sophee began working as a data analyst in iSoftStone in Beijing. She was outsourced to work in China Everbright Bank and joined the team of RWA group to analyze the bank’s capital performance by calculating its risk weighted asset.

During her leisure time, Sophee indulges her passion for classical music by playing the piano, which she took up at the age of five. Her favorite music piece is “Clair de Lune” by Debussy. She also enjoys traveling to learn and experience different cultures. Her most unforgettable journey was to the North Pole, where she had the opportunity to see a polar bear.
Citizenship: China
Languages: English, Mandarin
Hometown: Beijing, China

Che-Jui (Jerry) Liao Che-Jui (Jerry) Liao
B.A., Economics, National Taiwan University, 2016
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Following his parents to numerous sites to learn about the ins and outs of real estate investment, Jerry has been developing an enthusiasm for business since he was young. During his internship at Athena Capital Management, he researched one hundred stocks and built an investment strategy that generated a 180% return rate over a one-year period. He realized that analyzing a multitude of companies individually was inefficient and began honing programming skills. To improve this process, using Python, he built a stock valuation comparison program to inform investment decisions. Later, while working at Teascovery, an e-commerce startup, Jerry learned the operations of e-commerce business and kindled an interest in analyzing customer behavior. His experiences in both business and programming have paved the way for him to thrive as a data analyst.

An exceptional organizer, observer, and listener, Jerry shined at communication and leadership skills when serving as a project manager in the University Consulting Club. He arranged the project with the sponsor and led a team of nine people to formulate a market entry strategy for a fuel cell company by dissecting the problem step by step, delegating tasks according to teammates’ expertise, and integrating different ideas into feasible solutions.

Beyond analytics, Jerry enjoys playing sports such as basketball, racquetball, and tennis. He participated in the intramural tennis team and helped the team double its size. Jerry also relishes planning trips and immersing himself into other cultures; his favorite travel destination is Japan because of Sukiyaki, a traditional Japanese cuisine.
Citizenship: Taiwan
Languages: English, Mandarin
Hometown: Taoyuan, Taiwan

Trevor Lipps Trevor Lipps
B.S., cum laude, Business Administration, UNC–Wilmington, 2018
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Trevor learned the value of analytics at 18 when he read Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise. He was taken by the possibilities of statistical methods and developed a passion for finding practical applications for analytics. During that time, he was a manager at a rapidly growing artisan popsicle company in North Carolina, where he leveraged sales data to drive business decisions that improved distribution of inventory and increased revenue. After his stint in popsicles, he became passionate about applying analytics to a larger area of interest: financial markets.

While pursuing concentrations in Business Analytics and Finance during his undergraduate studies, Trevor worked on numerous project teams. He developed the financial methodology for a faculty-supervised consulting project based in the Czech Republic. Upon on-site delivery to the field client in České Budějovice, Czech Republic, the team was praised by their client for the accuracy of their financial projections, despite the client’s privately held status and non-disclosed financial statements. In addition, during his final year of undergrad, Trevor applied what he had learned in his coursework to live data, and found relationships between market pricing data and stock market liquidity.

Formerly a captain of his high school soccer team, Trevor loves to play pick-up soccer with his colleagues. When he gets the chance, he also enjoys competing in online chess, making high stakes trades while playing Catan, and finding value on a fantasy sports waiver wire.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Kensington, Maryland

Melina Luetkehoelter Melina Luetkehoelter
B.S., magna cum laude, Business Administration, UNC–Wilmington, 2017
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Melina’s lifelong passion for community service began at a young age with her family’s participation in an annual gift-giving program for her elementary school. Recently, her family has streamlined the collection and donation process. This dedication to community service evolved into a desire for an analytics career that allows for greater community contributions.

During her undergraduate career, in addition to her academic course load, Melina’s involvement in Greek life helped pinpoint her ultimate career goal to work as an analyst. Throughout her senior year, Melina gained priceless experience as a leader and public speaker by serving as the President of Sigma Sigma Sigma. While governing 110 members, she enhanced her problem solving and management skills by delegating and supervising tasks and events, as well as acting as a liaison between the chapter, UNCW, and Tri Sigma officials. Along with new skills, her business courses in Marketing Analytics and Survey Research and Design primed her analytics skills and strengthened her desire to become a data analyst. As an intern at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, she created and manipulated a large spreadsheet for maintaining engineering protocols and commissioning documentation while ensuring that all documentation and procedures were followed according to FDA standards.

When Melina is not volunteering, researching analytics, or testing her abilities, her love for problem-solving still shines through in her favorite free-time activities: playing intense board games and reading mystery novels.
Citizenship: USA, German
Languages: English, German
Hometown: Kaiserslautern, Germany

Sage Lyons Sage Lyons
B.A., Psychology; English, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2014
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Sage first became interested in data science through her work in a Stereotyping and Prejudice Lab, where programming was required to set up experiments. To learn, she analyzed old code until she could understand and modify it however she wanted. She loved learning and problem-solving and continued developing her interest in programming by learning Python and R through undergraduate computer science classes and online Code Academy classes.

To continue her interest in learning data science, Sage became a Data Manager for the Resilience Project, a four-year, multi-institution longitudinal study examining social, academic, and health-related processes across the college years. To perform her data management duties, she learned SAS independently and used the language to posture the large, ever-growing dataset into many easy-to-use files for any project researcher to use. Over the years, Sage enjoyed watching her code evolve from simplistic and straightforward to increasingly complex with the help of more efficient solutions such as macros. On the side, she continued to develop her analytical abilities by auditing graduate-level statistical methods classes.

Outside of work, Sage likes to keep her mind active in different ways. She enjoys rock-climbing, indoors and outdoors, and treats each climb up the wall as another problem to solve. Her dog, Darwin, also keeps her busy as Sage tries to keep his mind stimulated with new tricks and agility training exercises.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Albemarle, NC

Shuya (Liz) Mao Shuya (Liz) Mao
B.S., cum laude, Finance, Wake Forest University, 2018
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As an animal lover, Liz has been volunteering at animal shelters for the past four years by routinely cleaning cages and walking dogs. Determined to help those who cannot speak for themselves, not only did she adopt two cats last summer, she also encouraged more people to do so by contacting local photographers to take portraits of shelter animals and put them online, which helped the shelter to attract more potential adopters. Liz also dedicates herself to assisting people. She went to Cambodia with peers during the summer of 2016 to renovate a local elementary school. They turned a dilapidated backyard into a community garden where students can grow vegetables, repainted the classrooms, and built a new kitchen.

Liz’s keen interest in data analytics was ignited through the lens of finance and statistics during her undergraduate study. She was attracted by the power of data in solving business problems conveniently and efficiently in the finance and banking industry. To better prepare herself for a career as a data scientist, Liz took multiple statistics classes and online programming courses such as R and Python to equip herself with the ability to turn seemingly meaningless data into beautiful pictures and make the data tell stories.

Born in Chengdu, China, the hometown of the panda, Liz cooks authentic Szechuan dishes such as Mapo Tofu. Moreover, Liz also enjoys practicing yoga every morning to refresh her mind and jogging as a way to release stress and recharge herself after a long day.
Citizenship: China
Languages: English, Mandarin
Hometown: Chengdu, China

Gregory McElveen Greg McElveen
B.A., Economics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2001
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Greg’s interest in numbers and data analysis was forged over nearly two decades as a retail leader. As a general manager for Banana Republic, Greg excelled at configuring compelling narratives from sales, product, and profit and loss reports and communicating those stories to senior leadership. His composure and confidence played a pivotal role. Greg was also a key player in analyzing district reporting. He identified opportunities to grow the district’s product margins and oversaw the work which led to a 10% increase month over month for three consecutive months. His analytical work with Banana Republic culminated in working on an important initiative to get more part-time associates interested in careers with the company. The project involved interviewing associates, assembling the interview data, analyzing it, and reporting the conclusions out to a panel of company executives. Greg was hooked.

In addition to retail, Greg embraced entrepreneurship. Utilizing his skills in research and analysis, he embarked on a journey acquiring and managing investment real estate. He created a proprietary spreadsheet which evaluated properties on ten different variables. The thrill of finding a compelling deal through numerical analysis was exhilarating.

When Greg can wind down, he is outside. Whether gliding down a hill on a snowboard, kayaking through a winding river, dribbling down the soccer field, or hitting the golf links, Greg loves the rush of being outdoors. He is also filled with joy when he can share the outdoors with his three awesome kids.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Cary, NC

Jacob Michel Jacob Michel
B.S., cum laude, Chemistry, NC State University, 2018
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When looking for potential universities, Jacob knew that he wanted to pursue a degree that had a heavy quantitative foundation and would teach him to solve problems more efficiently. This led Jacob to pursue a B.S. in Chemistry at NC State for the quantitative approach to solving complex problems. However, Jacob wanted to put the skills he learned in class to the test in real-world scenarios.

Throughout his college career, Jacob was involved in numerous extracurricular activities. Most notably, he served as the VP of Internal Development in a large student organization, the Inter-Residence Council. In this role, Jacob used data analysis methods to identify the success of the students in each dorm on campus. Through this, his team was able to identify areas to investigate and areas to provide additional resources. Using data analysis in this manner inspired Jacob to pursue a career focused on data. Jacob joined the Institute for Advanced Analytics as his next step in furthering his ability to acquire and understand the information about the world around him.

Having grown up in the mountains, Jacob has a lasting love for the outdoors. His two favorite outdoor activities include soccer and skiing, both water and snow. However, due to common inclement weather in the mountains, Jacob also developed a passion for competitive gaming. He has competed at top levels for several games including Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone, but now he spends most of his extra time playing Overwatch and Fortnite with friends.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Boone, NC

Andrew Moolenaar Andrew Moolenaar
B.S., Statistics, Purdue University, 2018
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Andrew learned many attributes from playing sports, but the two most valuable are leadership and teamwork. These were on display in his final high school basketball game, when he hit the game-winning shot to win a state championship. Besides competing in athletics, Andrew is also an avid follower of a variety of sports. As a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, he became interested in baseball analytics at a young age and began to immerse himself in websites like Fangraphs and Statcast. This passion for sports analytics drove Andrew to study statistics at Purdue University. During this time, he helped increase the practice efficiency of the women’s soccer team by analyzing their practice metrics from tracking sensors. This is when his enthusiasm for using data to tell a story began.

His passion for storytelling with data led him to an internship with the Bob Barker Company where he analyzed USA prison trends and presented creative ideas to company executives. This not only allowed the company to sell innovative products and services to local jails but also promoted prison reform.

When Andrew needs to relax, he enjoys traveling. Among the many things on his bucket list, he wants to visit every major league baseball stadium. He considers himself a history buff and enjoys learning the history of the places he visits. Andrew treats history and statistics in a similar fashion. In both cases, he welcomes using the past as a way of explaining the present and future.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Lauren Murray Lauren Murray
B.S., cum laude, Mathematics, Appalachian State University, 2018
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Lauren is passionate about being a champion for women in STEM fields. This interest emerged from two undergraduate research projects on gender bias related to mathematics: first, an analysis of stereotype threat and perceptions of mathematics in the classroom and second, a study of representations of women in mathematics in media. She is a member of AWM (Association for Women in Mathematics) and presented one of her research projects at the AWM Triangle Conference in 2018. She thrives in an environment where she can support other women, feel supported, and cultivate positivity for others in all settings.

New challenges are exciting to Lauren, and she enjoys using unexpected methods to solve problems. This is evidenced by her undergraduate research projects and accomplishments. One project utilized a tool called max-plus algebra to optimize wait times for local bus routes in Boone, NC. When tasked to create fractals using chaos games, she coded these in Java, intersecting art and computer science. Lauren also attended DataFest at Duke University and used unique outside data to make conclusions. During her internship spanning three summers at UPM Raflatac (a company which produces pressure sensitive label materials), she analyzed website traffic information and completed specialized projects focused on label trends for wine and spirits, food, and personal care markets.

When she’s not helping women mathematicians to feel empowered or lowering wait times for the bus, Lauren loves to curl up with a Carl Hiaasen book or go hiking or running with her dog, Quinn.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Brevard, NC

Tolan Nguyen Tolan Nguyen
B.S.A., Neuroscience, University of Texas at Austin, 2017
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Tolan’s passion is building models, both analytical models for work and scale models as a hobby. During his time working for the Schnyer Memory and Learning research lab at UT Austin, Tolan took the initiative to train and lead a team of undergraduate students in conducting and analyzing neuropsychology experiments. Utilizing real-time logistic regression and hypothesis testing, Tolan developed a paradigm to observe negative attention bias in depression. As a researcher, Tolan cultivated a foundation for teamwork and a curiosity for analytics.

Following his interest in data, Tolan worked on a team at the Teacher’s Retirement System of Texas, where he analyzed data to report anomalies and investigate causes of miscalculated pensions. Upon presenting error reports and dashboards to business executives, Tolan and the data reporting team’s analytics were recognized as instrumental in data migration.

In his free time, Tolan enjoys building intricate and creative models, made from plastic instead of data, and based on science fiction robots instead of numbers. Driven by his love for model building, Tolan founded a model building club that rapidly expanded from five friends to over 3,000 members throughout Texas. Through his club, Tolan competed in and hosted a series of sponsored competitions across Texas. Looking forward, Tolan aims to bring initiative and creativity to building both scale models and analytical models.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Austin, Texas

Christopher Nobblitt Christopher Nobblitt
B.S., magna cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2017
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Chris has always been ambitious and tenacious. For six months, he hiked from Maine to Georgia via the Appalachian Trail carrying only what he could in a backpack. This was a goal of Chris’ since achieving the Eagle Scout Award at 17, an impactful experience where he learned how to dream big and to follow through with those dreams. Chris never backs down from a challenge and finds joy and beauty in every tribulation, which is why he enjoys data science so much.

Chris’ love for analytics instantly flourished during his first of three DataFest competitions, an analytics hackathon sponsored by the American Statistical Association. Since then, Chris actively seeks out opportunities to learn about the field and to challenge himself further. He wrote about advanced analytical techniques while interning at SAS, connected his peers to the statistics community as the Statistics Club president, and worked as a Research Specialist at the NSA-funded Laboratory for Analytical Sciences. At the Laboratory, Chris defined himself as a strong self-starter by assisting with multiple research projects. He added value to his teams by automating data collection, enriching analysis with advanced regression techniques, and mentoring colleagues in learning Python.

Outside of his work, Chris feeds his insatiable curiosity by brewing beer, reading research papers, and baking bread for the local Farmers’ Market. He also enjoys disc golfing and competed in the U.S. Disc Golf Collegiate Championship. No matter what it might be, Chris is always excited for the next challenge around the corner.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Hillsborough, NC

Thrisha Oruganti Thrisha Oruganti
B.S., with Distinction, Statistics and Analytics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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Thrisha has always known she harbored a natural inclination for analyzing trends in data. Even from a young age, she often kept detailed records of everything, from her favorite songs of the week to the number of books she had read during the month. This passion for looking at data eventually led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in statistics, allowing her to follow this interest as well as develop technical skills to support it.

In addition to her coursework, Thrisha increased her technical knowledge through a software engineering internship with MetLife, where she was responsible for creating a back-end application to analyze insurance data. She also enjoyed assisting other students through a position as a computer science teaching assistant. It was through these two jobs that she fully realized and applied her talent for creative problem solving; she now strives to use this talent to visualize and understand complex data trends with R, Tableau, and other languages.

In her free time, there is a 75% probability that Thrisha can be found at her local gym, lifting weights. Of course, she would be incomplete there without her handy gym notebook, used to keep track of all her lifts (considering her love of data, it is a very thick notebook). Her future plans include performing a regression on her bicep curl data to determine how many arm-wrestling contests she will be able to win by December.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Cary, NC

John Pamplin John Pamplin
B.S., with Distinction, Applied Science: Biomedical Engineering, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2014
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Founding and building a company takes both vision and attention to detail. John is exceptional at both. He can see the big picture and every detailed step required to get a team to the finish line. This ability coupled with his dedication led him to build a company directly after graduating from the UNC-Chapel Hill. In four years, he hired seven people, raised over 1.6 million dollars, and successfully sold his company. This success would not have been possible without his ability to use data effectively and to learn quickly. Through his proximity to amazing CEOs, he saw how powerful data is in building organizations.

John’s passion for building and collecting skills and tools started when he was five, working in his grandfather’s woodworking shop. He continued collecting tools in college where he studied Biomedical Engineering. John was a finalist in the National Collegiate Inventor’s Competition for his senior design project. He also enjoys creating persuasive presentations and studying effective communication techniques. John is a confident public speaker, having presented at Musculoskeletal New Ventures Conference, SolidWorks World, and pitch competitions where he won thousands of dollars in prize money.

An avid runner, John is training for a marathon. The perfect day starts with a morning run with his wife and dog, followed by coffee and a book. A bibliophile, John enjoys reading philosophy, science fiction, leadership, and fantasy.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: San Francisco, California

Abhinav Pandey Abhinav Pandey
B.A., Economics, Earlham College, 2018
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Abhinav strives to make a positive impact on a global scale by using data-driven models and statistics. Throughout his academic career, he has found immense satisfaction in providing insights and solutions to real-world issues through analytics. As an undergraduate sophomore, he applied his skills in econometrics to model the financial implications of a free trade agreement between Sri Lanka and Singapore while interning at the Institute of Policy Studies in Sri Lanka. A year later, Abhinav used his skills in Python and database management to help create the world’s first global platform for sharing water point data while interning at the Global Environment and Technology Foundation.

Abhinav’s love for statistics and computer science culminated while he worked on his undergraduate thesis. His passion for tackling crucial global issues inspired him to use analytics and programming to quantitatively model the impact of remittance inflows and emigration on poverty in developing countries. He found that both remittance inflows and emigration drastically reduced the severity of poverty in developing countries. Abhinav presented his results at the 2018 Midwest Economics Association Undergraduate Paper Competition, where he placed as a finalist.

As an ardent traveler, Abhinav enjoys immersing himself in local art, food, and culture. His passion for travel stems from his commitment to engaging with global issues through diverse perspectives. In the future, he hopes to visit Russia and China to understand the political processes and cultural revolutions that have shaped these emerging powers.
Citizenship: Nepal
Languages: English, Nepali
Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Chelsey Paulsen Chelsey Paulsen
M.Ed., Education, North Dakota State University, 2014
B.S., cum laude, Mathematics, North Dakota State University, 2012
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Chelsey has always been driven to make a positive impact on the world. She has done so through her commitment to teaching, but she now wants to support environmental protection through analytics.

As a teacher for the last four years, Chelsey gained the ability to simplify complex topics in an interesting and insightful manner. Because of this skill, she was able to help 86% of her AP Statistics students pass the AP exam, 25% higher than the national average. She also led several small teams of teachers by compassionately listening to everyone’s ideas and then making the necessary decisions.

Before becoming a teacher, Chelsey published three peer-reviewed Combinatorial Algebra papers about edge ideals and path ideals on both weighted and unweighted graphs. Her zeal for math has flourished to include statistics and programming. As a teacher, she led two programming clubs: Girls Who Code and the Game Design Team. Programming with her students sparked Chelsey’s interest in pursuing a career in analytics.

In Chelsey’s free time, she enjoys running, cycling, and backpacking with her dog, Zoey. She has backpacked in several locations in Appalachia but would like to explore other places worldwide. Since visiting Ecuador and the Bahamas, she plans to continue her global travels. Outside of analytic work, Chelsey finds small ways to positively impact the world. Driven by her passion for human and animal rights and ecology, she does small things to help these causes such as composting and living a vegan lifestyle.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Aberdeen, South Dakota

Garrett Pedersen Garrett Pedersen
B.A., Mathematics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2015
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Throughout his career as a high school mathematics teacher and a cross-country coach, Garrett sought to help others reach their highest potential. He cherished the “Aha!” moments when a student suddenly understood a challenging concept or an athlete’s excitement when he or she ran a personal best. His love of problem-solving drove him to analyze data from assessments and workouts to bolster student performance. This newfound thrill of understanding data to draw conclusions led Garrett to explore a new career in analytics.

Managing multi-faceted teams at SAS helped Garrett solidify his plans to further his career. As a consultant with SAS Curriculum Pathways, Garrett led a team in creating an interactive statistics curriculum for high school students. He enjoyed weaving together a coherent group of both technical and non-technical professionals with varying expertise and sought to help them understand each phase of the development. Collaborating with experts from multiple departments to develop a sound product fueled his enthusiasm and left him eager to pursue novel ideas in a team environment to help others.

Always seeking a challenge, Garrett enjoys training for long-distance races. His persistence in preparation led him to his proudest athletic achievement – completing the 2014 Boston Marathon. During his time off, Garrett can be found in the mountains, where he enjoys hiking, caving, rock climbing, and glade skiing.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Zachary Petitjean Zach Petitjean
B.S., summa cum laude, Economics, NC State University, 2017
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During childhood, Zach developed a keen interest for detecting patterns in the world around him and discovered a fascination for numbers, philosophy, and understanding people. These interests led Zach to major in economics for his undergraduate degree at NCSU where he discovered an interest in data and analytics. During his time at NCSU, Zach statistically analyzed various issues, from US gasoline consumption to food supply and demand. As he learned about the incredible insights that can be gained from data, and how data can be used to understand and explain various unknowns, his interest continued to evolve and led him to pursue a career in data analytics.

Zach’s passion for learning and understanding patterns allowed him to complete four graduate courses in economics while pursuing his bachelor’s degree. Zach’s dedication to learning and determination allowed him to graduate first in his class at North Carolina State University. In the future, he intends to complete his economics master’s degree online.

After achieving Eagle Scout, Zach volunteered as a Scout Leader for several years, passing on his learning experiences to the next generation of Scouts. Zach has also volunteered with NC State’s Feed the Pack and with Victory Garden installations.

In his free time, he enjoys being both physically and mentally active through activities such as biking and swimming and continues to feed his interest in people, philosophy, and effective communication through reading and research. The topics he enjoys most include chess, negotiation, and science.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Freehold, New Jersey

Brian Pietracatella Brian Pietracatella
B.S., Management Science and Information Systems, Pennsylvania State University, 2003
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Brian became fascinated with data science during his last few years working at Accenture. On his own time, he created an interface prototype to improve the way employees shared knowledge, served clients, and connected with each other. One of the key elements of the design was using data from multiple systems to generate intelligent suggestions to users based on such attributes as who they were, what project they were selling or delivering, and where they were located. Although the proposed design wasn’t implemented, some of the ideas presented were later incorporated into the content management and other related systems.

During his career, Brian has held different roles in various industries, and this diversity of experience provides him with unique insights in solving problems. He started his career at The Lloyd Group consulting with small businesses to support their end to end business and technology needs. At Accenture, Brian consulted with large enterprises helping them with network design and implementation, infrastructure capacity planning, and application performance engineering. In subsequent roles, he helped Accenture grow by developing and launching global sales campaigns and managing offerings within the Technology Strategy and Cybersecurity Strategy practices.

When Brian isn’t imagining a better future through data science, he is relentlessly pursuing his dream of competing in high-level national amateur golf. This is likely a five to ten-year journey, and he loves toiling and grinding to continually progress and refine the process.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Smithtown, New York

Steven Powell Steven Powell
B.S., cum laude, Civil Engineering with Distinction, University at Buffalo: The State University of New York, 2011
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An aptitude for numbers led Steven toward a career in engineering until the promise of statistical significance pulled him towards analytics. With strong math skills and an appreciation for his surroundings, Steven focused his education and early career on environmental and civil engineering. During five years of engineering consulting, he solved technical problems for private clients and government entities across the USA. He navigated relevant regulations, budget restraints, and complex databases to meet client needs. Somehow, this led to Steven hanging off the sides of dams, inspecting, and collecting data for his company’s Research and Development department.

With a solid foundation in applied technical solutions, Steven was able to shift his focus to larger datasets, broader questions, and data-driven analysis over traditional engineering assumptions. With the R&D department, he leveraged the dam data to build statistical models for predicting the integrity of these structures. He designed and executed experiments on prototypes, then wrote VBA and R scripts to automate steps in his company’s model-building process. The quest for quantified answers and solutions even leaks into Steven’s personal life, as he has begun analyzing everything from his driving patterns to his vocabulary.

To escape the numbers, Steven might be figure drawing at an art studio or sipping tea at home. On free weekends, he is easily lured by the mountains of North Carolina or West Virginia for a rock climbing trip. On his longer breaks, Steven has chased his curiosities to a medley of countries including Colombia, Vietnam, and Togo.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Rochester, New York

Gloria Regalado Gloria Regalado
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2018
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Being committed to excellence, goal-driven, well-rounded, and service-oriented are the qualities that Gloria strives to maintain in all her undertakings. With a career in data analytics as her goal, Gloria took advanced statistics classes as an undergraduate student and decided to pursue a graduate degree to further develop her skills in the field.

Her passion for helping others inspired her to seek work experiences in the medical research and healthcare fields. Gloria had an internship involving breast cancer research at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and spent a summer as a clinical informatics analyst intern at Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC. As part of her undergraduate research, she assisted a graduate student in developing R software for analyzing gene expression data.

Gloria organized and led several community service events during her senior year as the service committee president for her campus ministry. Other college highlights include her being inducted to the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies and being selected as the student speaker for the NCSU Statistics Department’s graduation ceremony.

As a clarinet player, Gloria reached All-State level in high school and continued playing through college where she marched in the marching band and traveled to Italy to perform with the NCSU Wind Ensemble. She loves to travel and has been on road trips that have taken her to 46 out of the 50 states. Running is also an activity she enjoys, and she recently met her goal of finishing a half-marathon.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Kieran Riban Kieran Riban
B.S., summa cum laude, Economics, NC State University, 2018
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2018
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While pursuing a degree in statistics, Kieran discovered many cross-disciplinary interests that fueled her passion for data science. Through conducting research for the State Climate Office, she performed error analyses on multiple global climate models, and she became interested in applying spatial analytics, developing interactive visualizations, and using data to solve critical problems. Kieran was awarded multiple honors for her research in climatology, both at the university and national levels. After taking 3rd place in an undergraduate research competition held by the American Statistical Association, she was chosen as the NC State Statistics Department’s recipient of the College of Sciences Outstanding Research Award for graduating seniors.

During her sophomore year, Kieran began taking classes in the economics department. What started out as a mere curiosity quickly turned into a double major that provided Kieran with an engaging overlap of technical skills and business applications. Looking for more experience in this realm, Kieran then interned on an automated banking analytics team at Bank of America through the Global Risk Development Program where she grew as a professional, a programmer, and a data scientist.

When Kieran is not working, she finds relaxation in spending time outdoors. As a marathon runner, she enjoys exploring new routes through the city and meeting dogs on lake trails. For her, a free weekend is best spent camping on the beach or hiking in the Smoky Mountains. Kieran also loves making uniquely-shaped homemade pasta and reading books written by her favorite comedians.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Athens, Pennsylvania

James Richmond James Richmond
B.S.B.A., Finance and Banking; Economics, Appalachian State University, 2016
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Most of Jim’s childhood was spent upside down or in the air. Jim placed in the top twenty at nationals in gymnastics and received an invitation for the future stars program at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Practices exceeding four hours a day honed Jim’s dedication, work ethic, and drive to excel. While injuries halted his gymnastics career, Jim still enjoys pursuing excellence and is involved in martial arts such as Sil-Lum Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Bagua.

Games have been embedded in Jim’s mind and life since childhood. At a young age, he started playing Magic the Gathering (MTG); he perfected the strategies involved until he knew them inside and out. MTG wasn’t just a game but also a business, as Jim analyzed market trends and did comparative analysis to buy and sell different cards, making thousands of dollars in the process. To him, video games aren’t just about the game but the people. He helped build an online community for the game League of Legends (LOL). The community contained thousands of members and received assistance from the creators of LOL, Riot Games. Jim is proud of his ability to bring people together in a meaningful way.

Life isn’t perfect, but Jim has found that the closest you can get is a captivating book and a relaxing drink. High fantasy and Wuxiao are Jim’s book genres of choice with either a soothing fruit-based tea or a glass of Burgundy to keep him company.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

William Richmond William Richmond
Ph.D., Management, Purdue University, 1988
A.B., Mathematics, Cornell University, 1982
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Bill is passionate about learning. On long drives, he listens to lectures from The Great Courses series, such as Vikings, Unexpected Economics, and Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. At work, he has taught 14 different courses over the past decade, which required mastering material from System Administration to Entrepreneurial Strategy well enough to explain it and to make it come alive for his students.

Bill serves. Throughout his life, he has worked in and with his community. For the past six years, Bill has worked with Habitat for Humanity (HfH) in Macon County, NC. His service began when he supervised a team of students who developed a business plan that enabled HfH to expand and serve Jackson County, NC. From there, he joined the board, which led to a series of unexpected roles. He became the anti-money laundering expert and developed a risk management plan and training. He helped create the Bloom and Build street festival and dressed as a daisy to help promote it. And, of course, he worked on houses. Together, they have helped approximately 40 families a year have a safer, better place to live.

Outside of work, Bill loves his wife, walking, and wine. Bill and Kris’ daily walks are a time of sharing and are a prelude to their vacations. So far, they have walked two of the UK’s sixteen National Trails, and they plan to walk the rest. Although their wine cellar is nearly depleted, they look forward to restocking it with vintage port.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Asheville, NC

Conner Rockwood Conner Rockwood
B.S., Statistics, Brigham Young University, 2018
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In his adolescence, Conner was determined to prove to the world that the hazelnut chocolate spread Nutella could complement any fruit, pastry, or treat. He has since switched his passion from Nutella to data science, and he has the same determination to prove its ability to empower any company, industry, or discipline.

Conner has applied his skills in multiple areas of study. While studying statistics at Brigham Young University, Conner, with a team of other research assistants, modeled airline Twitter complaint data using text analysis in R. His project included creating a model that would find trends in topics within customer tweets to allow the airline industry to more efficiently identify customer feedback. At the same time, he researched with another team to find the optimal distance away from the net to set an outside hitter to yield the highest probability of scoring a point for the BYU Women’s Volleyball team. Conner won first place at the BYU CPMS Student Research Conference for his presentation of his team’s findings for this project. Conner is excited to build upon his skills to solve future challenging data problems.

Conner and his wife, Justine, love to try new Italian, Thai, and seafood restaurants, explore the East Coast, and watch Duke basketball games together. They both have very active lifestyles to support their love for food, and Conner is always available for a quick game of basketball, football, volleyball, or tennis.
Citizenship: USA
Languages: English, Spanish
Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Molly Rubin Molly Rubin
B.Mus., Bassoon, Indiana University, 2013
B.S., Music and Business Studies, Indiana University, 2013
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Molly is a classically trained musician turned data scientist. She played the bassoon with orchestras across the country, with a career high point of performing a solo concerto for an eight-hundred-person audience. Transitioning to data science was seamless; Molly was able to apply the same diligence, creative thinking, and personal demand for perfection from her musical background to her newfound passion for analytics.

Over the past five years, Molly gained valuable experience working as an analyst for Encore Capital Group and Booz Allen Hamilton. At Encore she worked as a SAS programmer to build automated solutions to data-driven processes and received company-wide recognition for her work on a fraud identification system. As a consultant with Booz Allen, she worked with clients regarding statistics and data management at the Space and Naval Warfare Center, building predictive cost models in Python for billion-dollar Naval systems. Molly recently won a machine learning competition through Booz Allen by building a model to predict shark attack fatality based on situational and environmental factors with 98% accuracy, and she had the opportunity to present her findings to a firmwide audience. This experience inspired her to return to school and pursue data science as fiercely as she once pursued music.

Outside of her analytical and musical pursuits, Molly maintains an active lifestyle and is currently training for her first triathlon. She is also the mom to two rescue dogs, Margot and Edie, who were once on the streets of Tijuana and are now living like queens.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: San Diego, California

Allison Russell Allison Russell
B.S., cum laude, Mathematics, Birmingham-Southern College, 2014
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Combining her passions for making a difference and numbers, Allison taught 6th-grade math as a Corps Member for Teach for America in San Antonio, Texas. During her teaching career, she increased student standardized test passing rates by 200%. When working with students to increase pass rates, she combined data collection and analysis with relationship building. More specifically, Allison administered weekly assessments to track student understanding and progress and conducted quarterly student and family surveys to assess teaching practices and classroom climate. Allison is excited about the potential to make a difference using analytics, not only in education but in other fields as well.

During her undergraduate studies, Allison worked on a research team analyzing the island fox population fluctuations on the California Channel Islands using agent-based modeling. On this team, she utilized both Netlogo, an agent-based modeling software, and foundations of ecological research. As a math major, coding and ecology were both new subjects for Allison, but she approached these challenges with her innate desire to continue to learn. Along with her team, Allison presented this research at the International Symposium on Biomathematics and Ecology Education and Research in Washington, D.C.

A fascination with the geographical variety of the USA has led Allison to pursue many hobbies. Recently, she has used this interest to explore painting landscapes in watercolor, sightseeing by way of long-distance running, and taking her dog, Rhea, hiking in state and national parks.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Hartselle, Alabama

Melissa Sandahl Melissa Sandahl
Master of Microbial Biotechnology, NC State University, 2011
B.S., Biological Psychology, College of William and Mary, 2002
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As a research scientist in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, Melissa developed a love for learning new technology and using data to solve problems. While at Advanced Liquid Logic, a biotechnology company, she worked with interdisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers to develop software-automated diagnostic tests for use in hospitals and clinics. While her main role was in the laboratory, her favorite part of the job involved writing programs to run the diagnostic tests she was developing. The software used similar logic and patterns seen in computer programming, which initiated her interest in this field.

She later joined Aerie Pharmaceuticals designing and fabricating drug products for the eye using proprietary drug manufacturing procedures. She began working with small data sets, using the data to gain insights to optimize a drug’s formulation. This was a daily challenge, as the data was often ambiguous and sometimes contradictory, but decisions needed to be made to keep the project moving forward. This provided Melissa with opportunities to investigate processes and design and implement solutions, instilling a love for problem solving through data.

Melissa enjoys being active through hiking, yoga, and indoor rock climbing. Becoming a member at the Triangle Rock Club and conquering her fear of heights inspired her to take on other challenges in her life, including returning to school to follow her aspirations of becoming a data scientist.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Mark Saunders Mark Saunders
B.S., magna cum laude, Economics, NC State University, 2017
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After seeing the impacts of the Great Recession on his family, Mark had a strong desire to learn more about the driving forces that shape the economy and financial markets. This led him to an internship at the North Carolina State Health Plan while studying undergraduate economics. Mark’s passion for analytics began while working with business directors making financial decisions in healthcare affecting over 700,000 people using business intelligence. Through skill and determination, Mark turned his internship into a full-time position acquiring significant data management and analytics experience.

Mark credits his strong team skills and goal of high performance to playing baseball since the age of seven. These experiences helped Mark learn what it means to collaborate with team members and apply constructive feedback at an early age. In his final year of high school, Mark was honored by being named team captain. As captain, he learned effective leadership skills and led his team to the quarterfinals of the state championship, which they had not been eligible to compete in for four years.

Outside of work Mark enjoys a healthy lifestyle working out with friends, learning how to cook, and volunteering by coaching youth baseball in his hometown.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Hertford, NC

Evan Schaeffer Evan Schaeffer
B.S., magna cum laude, Business Administration, NC State University, 2018
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Evan’s love for data science has developed from the desire to improve himself and the world around him. Whether fostering knowledge or technical skill, he feels best when taking steps towards self-improvement. During his free time, Evan recently picked up acoustic guitar with the goal of mastering a new Red Hot Chili Peppers song every month. He also enjoys reading about the use of data to counter world health problems such as the ability to identify high-risk areas for disease outbreak, recognize the connections between social factors and child mortality rate, and make recycling more environmentally friendly.

For his undergraduate practicum project, Evan helped an international truck manufacturing company reduce their carbon footprint by learning and applying statistical techniques to identify an energy conservation strategy. Using techniques such as time series forecasting and regression analysis, Evan built a dashboard that illustrated the effect of facility upgrade projects on energy savings at eight major plants. The use of data science to make a profound impact on the environment and the company generated even more excitement about other potential applications for analytical techniques. Evan thinks that the ability to make a significant improvement to targeted functions is the most attractive thing about analytics, and he hopes to facilitate this for companies throughout his career.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Cary, NC

Rachel Schwitzgebel Rachel Schwitzgebel
B.S., summa cum laude, Statistics, NC State University, 2018
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After presenting microarray principal component analysis results to researchers at the National Institutes of Health in high school, Rachel became fascinated by the possibilities derived from data and collaboration. Energized by seeing the power of this combination, the takeaways from this experience guided her later academic, professional, and extracurricular endeavors.

A curious individual excited by new challenges, Rachel immersed herself in opportunities to develop both teamwork skills and technical knowledge. Honing skills in communicating data-driven insights to clients and collaborating on teams, she worked for two summers of her undergraduate career as an actuarial retirement intern at a large consulting firm. In addition to academic experiences in statistics, she gained technical ability through classes in SQL and by passing Actuarial Exam P and business acumen through completing an Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and a Master’s Certificate in Human Resources through Villanova University.

Known for a positive attitude and ability to connect with others, Rachel enjoys giving back to the community. She especially appreciated the opportunity to serve in various leadership positions in the General H. Hugh Shelton Leadership Center by mentoring teams of high school students to develop skills in compassion, social responsibility, diversity, honesty, and integrity. Additionally, she organized her on-campus service organization’s 2018 Outrace the Stigma 5k, benefitting mental health advocacy.

Rachel further channels passion for motivating and connecting with others as a group fitness instructor, teaching strength and cardio based formats, and runs in her free time.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Laney Sears Laney Sears
B.S., Environmental Sciences, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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Laney is a born advocate. She invests herself completely in work she believes to be meaningful. In the face of adversity, Laney will fill any role to support her mission; her diverse profile of experiences, most currently with sustainability and clean energy, showcase her dedication and drive.

While abroad, she observed the negative effects of palm oil mills in Southeast Asia. She combated this issue by publishing research quantifying the effects of waste in the industry and recommending alternative uses to increase revenue and decrease emissions within the mills. Back in the United States, she led a marketing team for a California-based start-up that successfully launched a crowdsourcing phone application. This application encouraged community cooperation to run errands more sustainably.
More recently, Laney interned for Apex Clean Energy, where she used her skills in Geographic Information Systems and databases to add significant value to the company. She worked as a liaison between the geography and leasing departments to ensure their database was up to date and effectively utilized to facilitate the company’s goal of accelerating the nation’s shift to clean energy.

When Laney is not using her analytical knowledge to solve real-world problems, she enjoys using her background in science to improve her homebrew beer recipes and explore the world. Laney’s inquisitive nature is also evident in her love of shark tooth hunting and true crime podcasts.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Cary, NC

Pierce Secola Pierce Secola
B.S., summa cum laude, Business Administration, NC State University, 2018
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Pierce’s desire for knowledge and understanding new things has led him to pursue many passions in life, not the least of which was his education. Early in his college career, he decided to pursue a degree in Supply Chain and Operations. However, because he also wanted to expand his knowledge of mathematics and data analytics, he enrolled in the Data Analytics Honors Program within the NC State business school. His passion for learning about the world and undertaking new endeavors has helped him realize that data science is his true calling.

He has held two internships with two separate companies, Premier, Inc. and Cisco Systems. At Premier, his roles exposed him to contracting partners, data entry, data management, and analysis of spend data. At Cisco Systems, he obtained a more analytical role querying data and creating various Tableau dashboards. In this role, he utilized data visualizations and regression analysis to track and predict spend data within the procurement department. Both roles exposed him to real situations and applications of data science, which further increased his desire and commitment to working with data.

Pierce’s passions extend beyond mathematics and business. He has actively played soccer since he was four years old. From 2008 to 2013, he participated in travel soccer as a goalkeeper for Triangle Fútbol Club. He is an avid Carolina Panthers fan and has taken a recent interest in Fantasy Football. In addition, he cooks almost every day, constantly trying out and amending recipes. In fact, any time that is not spent with his Aussiedor puppy, Dixie, is spent watching the Food Network.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Cary, NC

Mansi Shah Mansi Shah
B.S., with Distinction, Environmental Sciences; Music, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2017
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Having a strong appreciation for the power of data and its ability to catalyze positive social change, Mansi was first introduced to analytics through interdisciplinary applications in environmental science and urban planning. As an undergraduate, Mansi studied abroad in Bangkok, Thailand, where she worked on a project analyzing trends using over 15 years of hourly air pollution data in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region and co-authored a research paper that was published in the conference proceedings of The 1st International Electronic Conference on Atmospheric Sciences. Realizing the project’s potential to influence policymakers to make data-driven decisions about air quality, Mansi knew that she had to delve deeper into the world of data and analytics.

Later in undergrad, Mansi became involved in research analyzing satellite imagery to identify informal settlements in Indian cities and continued this work as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Intern after graduation. There, she analyzed geospatial characteristics of these settlements and utilized machine-learning and citizen-science based classification methods to help identify them accurately and efficiently, which could allow governments and NGOs to better provide for their most vulnerable populations. It was through this work that Mansi discovered a passion for analytics across multiple disciplines.

In addition to her technical pursuits, Mansi is also a classically trained flutist and loves performing, teaching, and experimenting with other musical traditions. When not practicing her instrument, Mansi can usually be found frolicking outdoors, researching her next international travel destination, or chipping away at her endless to-read list.
Citizenship: USA
Languages: English, Gujarati
Hometown: Cary, NC

Sonja Simic Sonja Simic
B.S., magna cum laude, with Minor in Statistics, University of Ottawa, 2018
B.S., Biology, McGill University, 2016
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Agatha Christie’s mystery novels captivated Sonja’s curiosity from a young age. Sonja often identified with and learned from the protagonists as they would interview suspects, examine clues, and consolidate evidence to solve a case. Sonja’s own inquisitiveness, combined with having a sibling struggling with mental illness, led her to biology in order to study meaningful biomedical and environmental challenges. Through research, she was motivated by the numerical insights uncovered after information was collected. Like her favorite detectives, she wanted to search for patterns within data and decrypt the stories they conceal.

This realization drove Sonja to Ottawa, where she studied analytics. Within a year, by merging her science background with her mathematics aptitude, she landed a healthcare analytics internship at Florida Blue. Investigating and visualizing insurance claims, she acquired an understanding of commercial objectives. As part of the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute program, she was then tasked with a stimulating machine learning project at Statistics Canada. There, she explored innovative numerical and text mining methods to improve the industrial classification of businesses. The variety of projects, the fast pace of industry, and the spirit of teamwork reaffirmed that analytics was an effective vehicle for change.

Outside of objective problem-solving, Sonja embraces her creative side. A violinist, she has been a member of several orchestras. She also enjoys sharing new recipes with friends, captures scenic photographs through her travels, and finds joy in learning new skills such as skiing and salsa dancing.
Citizenship: USA, Canada
Languages: English, French, Serbian
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

Thurman Griffin Smith Griffin Smith
B.S., with Distinction, Mathematics; History, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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Griffin vividly remembers when his dad took him out of school to see The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 3rd grade, sparking a lifelong interest in movies and television. As an avid consumer of entertainment, Griffin quickly started to see not only the content of shows but also connections between them. Throughout college, he was a hot commodity on trivia teams due to a vast internal database of actors and actresses, and his affinity for noticing patterns naturally manifested itself in studying math and statistics at UNC-Chapel Hill. In fact, Griffin’s first side project at the IAA involved visualizing and analyzing a breakdown of every line in The Sopranos by character and season, to see not only who speaks the most but also which characters peak at different parts in the series.

Griffin also threw himself into performing. By acting in theater productions and creating skits with his friends, he developed his comfortable demeanor in front of crowds and sharpened his communication skills. He further improved those interpersonal abilities with an internship at Upward Bound Math and Science, where Griffin taught a college-level world history class, which let him utilize his history major as well.

Outside of school, Griffin can usually be found either playing basketball or watching his beloved Tar Heels. He maintains a strong connection with Camp Kesem, a student-run organization that puts on summer camps for children whose parents have been affected by cancer.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Jeremy Smith Jeremy Smith
B.S., Behavioral Science: Psychology, Utah Valley State College, 2010
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Over the last twenty years, Jeremy has served his country in the US Army, where he also discovered his passion for analytics. When Jeremy joined the military, he served as a Ranger in the prestigious 75th Ranger Regiment, ultimately completing Ranger School, the Army’s premier leadership course. Seeking a greater challenge and more responsibility, Jeremy volunteered for and completed the Special Forces Medical Qualification Course, earning the distinguished Green Beret. Jeremy epitomized the Army values during four overseas deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and was promoted to greater levels of leadership and responsibility as a commissioned officer.

While working with the US State Department in Bangladesh, Jeremy led his Civil Affairs Team in overseeing the US Defense Department Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief projects. Through exploratory and predictive analytics of these projects, Jeremy initiated, developed, and evaluated new procedures, policies, and internal controls resulting in the United States Government saving more than $18 million in funding and producing larger strategic effects. This defining experience set Jeremy on a pursuit of analytical knowledge.

As a lover of the written word, Jeremy has built a personal library of over two thousand books. Jeremy sees books as art, preferring to add quarto gilded leather-bound Americana and antiquarian books to his collection.
Citizenship: USA
Languages: English, Mandarin Chinese
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Brady Sowers Brady Sowers
B.S., summa cum laude, Mathematics; Statistics, UNC–Wilmington, 2018
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Brady is an avid adventurer who enjoys exploring new places and ideas. During his junior year at UNC Wilmington, he studied aboard a German ship through the Semester at Sea program. Throughout this incredible semester, Brady traveled to eleven different countries across three continents, while learning about various cultures and developing a deeper global appreciation. He had the opportunity to hike the Great Wall of China, explore Vietnamese War tunnels, visit the Taj Mahal, plant a vegetable garden at an orphanage in Ghana, ride a camel through the Sahara Desert, and much more.

Brady also enjoys expanding his curiosity about the world through numbers and data. Completing two undergraduate research projects strengthened his knowledge and enthusiasm for the field of analytics. One of his projects involved building logistic regression models to quantify the impact of weather on NFL team offensive performances. The other project compared two implicit numerical methods applied to the KdV equation by measuring their minimum errors on MATLAB. Brady found a passion for simplifying complicated topics such as these, which led him to become a tutor for almost every math and statistics course his university offered. In the future, he aspires to use this passion for data and numbers to answer challenging and fascinating analytical questions.

When he is not traveling or learning, Brady can be found playing strategic board games such as Settlers of Catan, catching up on his favorite TV show, Survivor, or playing a set of tennis with his friends.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Mooresville, NC

Angelica Spratley Angelica Spratley
B.S., summa cum laude, Biology, North Carolina Central University, 2015
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It was initially in the classroom that Angelica shared her intellectual curiosity with her students about the world of data science. As a former Computer Science and Digital Electronics teacher, she utilized an immersive curriculum that included web page design, coding games with Python, and creating visuals from earthquake data. Working alongside hundreds of students in coding interactive greeting cards and judging debates about data ethics, Angelica solidified her own interest in data science.

Angelica enjoys mentoring youth outside of her former classroom walls. During her first two years as an educator, she co-advised three student organizations: National Technical Honor Society, Black Student Union, and Chick-fil-A Leader Academy. Her love for service was further expanded within her local community where she served as the Director of Education for a non-profit centered on mentoring minority males. Her passions for education and service were celebrated and recognized when she was named the 2017-2018 Beginning Teacher of the Year.

Outside of her passion for data science and education, Angelica is a devoted couponer, always standing in store lines with no less than twenty coupons in her hand at a time. When she is not couponing, she loves attending R&B concerts, going on day trips to the beach, and spending time with family eating soul food and laughing at each other’s jokes.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Prince George, Virginia

Nathan Stanford Nathan Stanford
B.S., magna cum laude, Mathematical Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2013
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Ever since living in Medellín, Colombia as a hostel manager and ESL teacher for eight months at the age of 19, Nathan has delighted in exploring new ideas and seeking fresh experiences while making others feel more comfortable and fulfilled.

As a high school STEM teacher, Nathan whetted his appetite for analytics and programming by creating software to save his colleagues’ time. He created a tool using Google apps script to manage student learning accommodations by adding automation and generating reports that reduced task time by 95% and eliminated errors. Nathan also used VBA and Excel to speed exam scheduling by 90%. Implementing these tools required Nathan to use his excellent communication skills to get buy-in and input from administrators, learning specialists, and teachers. Creating new systems in the service of others gives Nathan great joy.

Always innovating, Nathan co-founded a new school framework, Capital Experience (CapX) which uses the robust museum structure in DC to drive curriculum and facilitate student interactions with content experts. Contrary to the traditional classroom-based model, the CapX model focuses on creating meaningful and tangible experiences, which emphasize a project-based curriculum. That project is now entering its 4th year and has already served 60 students. The CapX team is on pace to obtain a charter for the 2020 school year.

When he’s not searching Google Flights for his next trip, Nathan likes to try out new hobbies. He is currently studying chess, and he finished the Cannonball Marathon, his first, this fall.
Citizenship: USA
Languages: English, Spanish
Hometown: Washington, DC / Annandale, Virginia

Christian Taylor Christian Draper Taylor
B.S., with Distinction, Statistics and Analytics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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All good stories require a great storyteller. This idea first resonated with Christian during his studies of film as well as statistics. Christian now uses his passion for storytelling to help guide him through his journey to becoming a data scientist. He believes that like books or films, data requires a knowledgeable and attentive mind to help mold and shape the true intricacies that others might not see.
Christian first discovered an avenue for his natural curiosity and problem-solving skills while taking an Introduction to Data Science class at UNC-Chapel Hill. This led him to enter the Carolina Data Challenge, in which his team won the Best Beginner Category for their analysis of Hurricane Harvey relief shelters in Houston. Prompted by this success, he sought after and received an internship at Fanalytical, a company dedicated to helping University Athletic Departments improve their relationship with fans while growing their revenue. He worked alongside the co-founder to help create models for understanding and predicting fan engagement and growth as well as develop dashboards for future exploration.
In addition to satisfying his fascination for storytelling by watching and studying films and television, Christian stays active by playing tennis and running. He enjoys the adaptable nature and strategy of tennis, as each opponent has different strengths and weaknesses. Christian was a part of UNC-Chapel Hill Club Tennis team all four of his undergraduate years and plans to continue playing for as long as he can.
Citizenship: USA, UK
Hometown: Greensboro, NC
Samuel Thomas Sam Thomas
B.A., Criminal Justice; Sociology, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, 2016
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By using analytics and projection data, Sam won his fantasy football league despite being ridiculed by his coworkers in the league during last year’s fantasy football draft because he drafted a quarterback in the first round of the draft, which is an uncommon move. His passion to win at fantasy carried over to his work as a loss prevention manager as well, where he used analytics to help reduce retail shrinkage from 1.7% to 0.45% in a few years, helping his company overall.

While in the Army Reserve and attending the University of Arkansas, Sam was simultaneously able to lead, support, and share his passions in a variety of settings. As a team leader in Afghanistan, he provided base security and helped reduce drug use in his Reserve unit stateside. Sam was committed to his assigned roles in order to better life for his company and himself. He used his thesis to share his passion for religion and the justice system by researching how both individual and contextual level factors impact an individual’s likelihood of returning to prison. He contributed to this field by demonstrating the effects of religious organizational density in areas where individuals are released.

What sets Sam apart is his ability to find new passions and dive deeply into understanding them, while simultaneously motivating others to desire the same understanding. From fantasy football to connecting religious organizations with prisoner release, Sam displays a passion for using learned skills to spark others to want to do the same.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Adam Tobias Adam Tobias
B.A., Economics, College of William and Mary, 2018
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From a young age, Adam enjoyed memorizing baseball statistics before he even knew what they meant. As he grew up, he realized the importance of these numbers; every action had a number. As an Economics major at the College of William & Mary, Adam became interested in the roles that numbers play in decision making.

During his undergraduate career, Adam honed his skills. Working in Manila, the Philippines, for the Grameen Foundation, he analyzed the yields of coconut farmers and designed a visual representation of changes in yield that was used in executive meetings. This hands-on experience working with numbers was his call to action for pursuing data analytics. He also spent time working at Golf Galaxy, practicing building customer relationships, and using data to customize golf clubs to fit the specific needs of each individual golfer. He stayed involved in sports, playing on the club basketball team all four years and eventually becoming the captain for his senior year.

In his free time, Adam enjoys spending time with his friends, whether it be strategizing in board games, debating about the NBA, or playing fantasy sports. His competitive drive is best satiated playing basketball and golf when he is home in Chapel Hill.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Matthew Trombley Matt Trombley
B.S., magna cum laude, Mathematical Sciences, Clemson University, 2018
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Growing up, Matt always imagined that he would be an engineer. However, during his freshman year of college, he found that his real passion revolved around his statistical programming class using R and SAS. This passion manifested itself through an internship with Epic Games, where Matt was able to work with billions of data records from game development and marketing databases to witness first-hand how big data can drive business decisions.

Matt’s mathematics and programming skills also allowed him to work on a project with Clemson’s championship-winning football team analyzing game data and attempting predictive play calling. His team was able to build Qlik Sense dashboards that allowed for real-time play suggestions based on the opposing team’s defensive alignment. Involvement with athletics extends to Matt’s extracurriculars as well, where he served as the Vice President of the IPTAY Student Advisory Board and helped promote Clemson sporting events to students.

In his spare time, Matt loves taking trips with family and friends to places ranging from the Biltmore Estate to Aruba. Although his favorite times are spent on a beach, he also finds excitement in hiking the mountains of the Carolinas. One of the highlights of Matt’s trips is filming his adventures with his GoPro and editing the videos afterward. It is these video editing skills that earned him runner-up in a Clemson & Adobe sponsored football video contest during his sophomore year. Matt also enjoys spending time working on his Jeep, preparing it to take him on his next adventure.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Holly Springs, NC

Matthew Turner Matthew Turner
B.S., summa cum laude, Business Administration, NC State University, 2018
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Throughout Matthew’s life, teamwork has been the focal point. Whether the team consisted of himself and his little brother against their older brother, or a group of individuals competing in sports on the playing field, the conditions were the same–he thrived in the environment. Although a win was never guaranteed, there would always be a positive outcome. He would take the opportunity to learn from mistakes made and apply it to the next outing.

This team approach carried over into his time as a Technical Controller in the United States Marine Corps. Over his 5-year career, he learned a lot about grit and determination and witnessed firsthand how an effective team under the right leadership can be an unstoppable force. Some common traits he noticed in those leaders were that they genuinely cared about the people around them and emphasized: “Knowledge is Power.” Matthew would take every opportunity to share his knowledge and experience with new Marines and, as a result, learned more in the process. This exchange triggered a quest for knowledge that continues to this day.

When he’s not studying, Matthew enjoys spending his time at the gym, practicing yoga, working on his car, and visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains. After the program, he plans to self-drive a safari in South Africa with his older brother and hike the Appalachian Trail. Ultimately, his goal is to build a sustainable tiny house on a large plot of land in the mountains complete with chickens, bees, and a garden.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia

Rachel Turner Rachel Turner
B.A., summa cum laude, Mathematics, Western Kentucky University, 2018
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Whether she is curled up with her rescue dog reading a new book, satisfying her sweet tooth by baking a new recipe, or relaxing on the couch watching Jeopardy, Rachel loves absorbing and pursuing information. When introduced to hockey, she dove in to learn as much as she could about not only the game but the numbers behind it. This passion led Rachel to complete her undergraduate capstone project on analyzing how to productively spend the National Hockey League salary cap to improve team performance through regression and model building.

During her undergraduate studies, she fell in love with statistics and took every relevant class provided by her university. Rachel recruited interested peers and persuaded the administration to offer an additional statistics course when she had completed all available courses. After joining a research team working on optimizing parameter estimation in a system of differential equations modeling wound healing, Rachel presented her team’s research at several conferences across America.

She shared her love of math and statistics by becoming a math tutor, helping students to understand and appreciate their math classes. Chosen by her professors as a math ambassador, Rachel represented the math department at recruitment events and assisted in acclimating new students to the math curriculum. These pursuits led Rachel to earn a scholarship recognizing excellence in undergraduate mathematics students as well as an award from the math department recognizing her as the outstanding undergraduate student of the year.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Calhoun, Kentucky

Kristen Twidt Kristen Twidt
B.S., summa cum laude, Chemical Engineering, NC State University, 2016
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Studying as a chemical engineer, Kristen gained an appreciation for solving complex problems efficiently and optimizing processes. These skills led her to apply for an analytics internship, where she learned that the applications of analytics were far greater than she had imagined. Specifically, she experienced firsthand the power of data to drive positive change for millions of people through analytical work supporting human resources for Walmart. Realizing she could apply her technical skills to effect change, Kristen gladly transitioned into a full-time role in analytics and has not looked back since.

Kristen spent several years working as a project analyst for Walmart’s HR analytics group. She utilized data to help make business decisions for the logistics division, created Tableau dashboards to track career progress of interns and rising stars in the company, and gained valuable experience cleaning data. In addition, she led the deployment of Walmart’s annual engagement survey for the South Africa market. Using Alteryx, she streamlined the survey data aggregation process for ten countries and has since earned her Alteryx Core Designer certification. After building this strong foundation in analytics, she is eager to learn more analytical techniques and tackle new data challenges in her career.

During time away from work, Kristen loves to explore new places to walk her dog, Ellie, and has a goal of visiting every state park in North Carolina. She enjoys reading as many classic literature and mystery novels as she can, including anything by Jane Austen or Daphne du Maurier.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Cary, NC

Ramamohan Vadlamani Ram Vadlamani
B.S., with Distinction, Computer Science, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2017
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Whether it was finally completing the 1000-piece puzzle he had spent hours on, solving the Rubik’s cube, or finishing a Sudoku puzzle, Ram’s love for thought-provoking problems has remained unmatched. He discovered that his childhood love of problem-solving could be honed within the field of data science. After taking a course in files and databases, he realized that he had a passion for working with data. Analyzing tables, sorting through a vast amount of data, and arriving upon a single solution that consisted of essential pieces of information all sparked his interest immensely.

As part of his internship over the 2017 summer at RSA, a security company, Ram worked with Python to analyze the files on his computer to determine the frequencies and the types of files that contained malware. Through these findings, he was able to identify redundancies in their websites’ malware rules. The following semester, Ram took a data science course in which he learned to work with the statistical tool, R, and learned some machine learning algorithms such as K Means Clustering.

Outside of problem-solving, Ram enjoys singing classical Indian music. He was part of the board for a youth musical charity organization called North Carolina Youth Classical Arts for Charity for seven years and used this platform to perform and enhance his communication skills by emceeing during its two-day festival. In addition, Ram loves to play basketball and cricket and enjoys traveling to places like Germany, Malawi, and India.
Citizenship: USA, India
Languages: English, Telugu
Hometown: Chennai, India

Francis Walsh Frank Walsh
B.S.B.A., with Distinction, usiness Administration; Statistics and Analytics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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Frank created maps using geospatial data while helping a friend with the data analysis portion of his capstone research report. His friend’s report went on to win the award given to the best undergraduate political science honors thesis. Enthusiasm for computing and statistics, combined with his desire to help others, drove Frank to effectively contribute to this project. Using his passion for statistics, he helped other students as a tutor in introductory statistics courses. While tutoring, Frank found joy in growing other students’ understanding of fundamental statistics concepts like p-values, t-tests, and linear regression. Building on his tutoring experience, Frank became a teaching assistant for a course entitled Spreadsheet Models. As a TA, he provided feedback on Excel-based assignments for topics ranging from optimization to monte-carlo simulation. Frank hopes to continue on this path and have a career in which he can use his computing and statistics knowledge to help others.

In his free time, Frank loves participating in intramural sports; his favorite sports are basketball, ultimate frisbee, disc golf, and golf. He’s a fierce competitor and a team player—willing to fill any role the team needs.

If Frank were not an aspiring analytics professional, he would want to be playing the piano in a rock band. To fill this musical void, Frank enjoys attending concerts, specifically bands like Dead & Company and Phish. He practices piano in his spare time in the hopes of someday retiring and forming a cover band with some of his friends.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Huntersville, NC

Zachary Wasielewski Zachary Wasielewski
B.A., cum laude, Economics, UNC–Wilmington, 2015
B.A., cum laude, Mathematics, UNC–Wilmington, 2015
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From an early age, Zach has always been fascinated with strategy and competition. This curiosity encouraged him to focus his attention on both statistics and game theory. Using this knowledge of strategic decision-making, Zach excelled in his double majors of mathematics and economics, and he applied this to his thesis on population migration analytics. Zach then developed skill sets in technology and programming languages like Unix, Python, and SQL while working for Bloomberg, LP. This new programmatic skill set became essential in helping his team at Bloomberg create new and improved workflows as well as analyze the performance of his team in handling inquiries from clients about fixed income data.

When Zach isn’t crunching numbers or thinking up new strategies, he can be found outside exploring or playing team sports like soccer and volleyball. He managed Bloomberg’s volleyball and softball teams and acted as a team captain for their soccer team.

While playing team sports is Zach’s lifelong passion, he also has an interest in being outdoors on his blue Salsa Vaya bicycle. After graduation, he cycled 4,300 miles across country while raising money for multiple sclerosis through an organization called Bike the US for MS. Zach has since logged a thousand more miles and countless hours while riding around the East Coast and has more plans for long bike trips in the future.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Asheville, NC

Derrick Waters Derrick Waters
B.B.A., cum laude, Finance, Georgia State University, 2012
B.B.A., cum laude, Real Estate, Georgia State University, 2012
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Derrick’s love for analytics wasn’t something he was expecting. After interning with Chase Bank, he earned a spot in the prestigious Analytics Track of the Leadership Development Program. Knowing nothing about the field, he took the opportunity to learn and quickly realized his passion for the craft. In the program, he joined the Marketing Analytics team and found out that he had a lot to learn to truly become a great analytics professional.

While on the team, Derrick combined his new skills with his love for competition, team building, and networking. In his mind, being on the strongest analytics team in the firm was the only way to become the winner that he strives to be. To continue to grow, he joined Business Resource Groups, built his network, and dove into self-study. In doing so, his skills have grown exponentially while in the banking industry, and he always strives to be inclusive and contribute to a strong company culture around him.

Derrick celebrated his first anniversary with his wife this year. Together they love gardening and are continuously focusing on how to improve their production. They bring the same intensity to their garden as they bring to the workplace. Grass is a thing of the past in their Columbus home, and all you will see are the vegetables from their garden. Derrick also dreams to one day put his Real Estate degree to good use by working with his wife to build a portfolio of real estate properties for retirement.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Gavin Wilson Gavin Wilson
B.S.B.A., Marketing, UNC–Charlotte, 2016
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For Gavin, being a college basketball athlete not only instilled the importance of always performing to the best of his abilities, but it also taught him the importance of statistics and data. Each week, he would analyze practice data and found that by changing his shot selection, he could increase his efficiency. Not only did this insight lead to success on the court but it also sparked a desire to learn how data can be applied in everyday life.

Gavin sought to learn more about analytics in his studies at UNC Charlotte. There he began working with data using tools such as SAS and Tableau. This experience solidified his passion for data science.

After graduation, he started working as a Support Optimization Analyst for Brooks Bell, a consulting company that focuses on experimentation and personalization. There Gavin owned client relationships and consulted for Fortune 500 companies including Nickelodeon, Universal Studios, and Barnes and Noble to optimize customer interaction and retention, all while driving profits. He was promoted after one year to an Optimization Analyst where he utilized multiple analytics platforms such as R, and Adobe Analytics to perform tests, generate reports, and reframe testing programs for clients.

Gavin has a passion to give back to his community and younger people. This passion led him to coach his old youth football team. Coaching has enhanced his leadership and communication skills, but more importantly, it has helped him to remain humble and never forget where he came from.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Garner, NC

Evan Wimpey Evan Wimpey
M.S., Applied and Resource Economics, East Carolina University, 2011
B.S., Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008
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Evan is relentlessly enthusiastic about everything he commits to, especially when it involves leading others. His positive mindset carries his enthusiasm to his peers, as well as juniors and seniors, and has allowed him to become a successful leader in both explicit outcomes as well as the personal development and engagement of those around him. He is at his best when he is using data to evaluate alternatives and leading a team towards the preferred option.

Evan began refining his engaging leadership style while serving as the captain of his high school cross-country and track teams. He continued refining his leadership style while coaching, where his teams earned high school state championships in both soccer and cross-country in Georgia. Most appreciated by the teams, however, was not their on-the-field success, but the way Evan was able to motivate and energize them to strive for growth. Evan realized his passion for leadership and commissioned as an Officer in the Marine Corps. Serving as a Financial Management Officer was a great chance for Evan to blend his leadership skills with his love of using data to drive decision making, and he was able to inform critical decisions about funding military operations.
Evan always wears his signature smile when he is leading analytic teams or enjoying pastimes like traveling and fitness. Whether he is hiking in the Himalayas, skiing the Coast Mountains, or running the Boston Marathon, you can usually find him outdoors trying to experience something new.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Sugar Hill, Georgia

Michael Witebsky Michael Witebsky
B.B.A., Business: Finance, Investment and Banking, University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2008
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If you find yourself on a road-trip with Michael, expect to take the scenic route. He isn’t afraid to deviate from the path in search of something extraordinary. This adventurous streak allowed him to pursue a variety of traditional careers in healthcare consulting and programmatic media buying, as well as more far-flung vocations like teaching English in South Korea and waiting tables at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Throughout his varied work experience, Michael contributed to the success of his teams by keeping a positive attitude and an “always learning” mentality.

Michael gained several years of data-centric work experience as a member of the analytics teams at McCann Minneapolis and Vivid Seats. In these roles, he proved adept at gathering, merging, and cleaning data from multiple sources. Additionally, his strong background in descriptive statistics and ability to quickly grasp the fundamentals of different industries allowed him to transform datasets into robust, insightful reports. Eager to provide stronger analyses, Michael enrolled at the IAA to improve his understanding of inferential statistics, predictive modeling, and modern data science best practices.

When Michael isn’t honing his programming and analytics skills, you can find him snowboarding, backpacking, or planning his next excursion. His thirst for novel experiences means he’s always on the lookout for a new adventure and he’ll likely try to convince you to come along.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Golden Valley, Minnesota

Yue Wu Yue (Mia) Wu
B.S., magna cum laude, Bioprocess Engineering, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 2016
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Mia’s ability to persevere in the face of adversity provides her with a solid foundation for success in any endeavor. As an international student who came directly from China, Mia has overcome the language barrier while embracing cultural differences with her proactive approach to learning and willingness to step out of her comfort zone. Although Mia majored in Engineering, she still pursued her curiosity for business by taking extra courses at Syracuse University and participating in the business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi. Upon graduation, Mia accepted a position as a Technical Sales Associate with Kemira Chemicals, Inc. There, she took the initiative to learn from peers and participate in different sales projects. Her drive was noticed by supervisors, and Mia was given the opportunity to co-lead a $800K+ sales project.

Mia was satisfied with this position in sales until she was exposed to the power of data while working on a marketing project. She and her co-workers predicted the segments that demonstrated quantifiable growth potential with the company’s marketplace data to help managers allocate resources and deploy capital. After becoming data-conscious, Mia successfully assisted customers in understanding the return on investment from chemical applications by analyzing data from the projects and quantifying improvements in production and cost.

Mia believes in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. As a six-year yoga enthusiast, she can often be found practicing in the yoga studio. Also, Mia’s adventures through Asia and other countries have fueled her interest and appreciation for unique cuisines and wine.
Citizenship: China
Languages: English, Mandarin Chinese
Hometown: Hangzhou, China

Rachel Wynne Rachel Wynne
B.S., cum laude, Aerospace Engineering, NC State University, 2017
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Rachel often dreams of what her future may hold. After graduating with an aerospace engineering degree, Rachel spoke with data scientists who described how they help make data-driven decisions and create meaningful insights every day. She immediately realized the field aligned with her skills and interests. When Rachel imagines her future now, she is excited about the wide range of opportunities to continue furthering herself as a professional in analytics and to make a positive impact on the world using data.

Each day, Rachel aims to challenge herself academically and personally to promote growth. Having always been aware of the impact we have on the world around us, Rachel minored in environmental science to strengthen her commitment towards the environment. Her love of math and desire to optimize efficiency led her toward engineering where she earned a reputation for dependability and accuracy in deliverables because she is always questioning, “How can we make this better?”

In her free time, you can find Rachel outdoors with family and friends. She has participated in her neighborhood beach volleyball league since she was 18, placing first in the league championships twice last year. Rachel also enjoys swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. When she’s not exercising, Rachel likes to take trips to Ocean Isle Beach or go to dinner at Town Hall Grill for a delicious meal. Her love of food led her to take a cooking class when she studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and she can now make some killer ravioli.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

Benjamin Yip Benjamin Yip
B.S., with Distinction, Statistics and Analytics; Economics, UNC–Chapel Hill, 2018
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The only outcome Ben expected after entering the American Statistical Association’s 2017 DataFest competition at Duke University was that he and his team would leave with a cool new T-shirt. He certainly could not have predicted that their beginner-level project would earn a finals appearance and motivate him to pursue a career in data science. Later that same year, Ben was accepted into an NSF-funded undergraduate research program focused on applying machine learning techniques to computer vision tasks. Over the course of the program, Ben built a working knowledge of fundamental machine learning techniques, collaborated with his teammates on an extensive data cleaning project, and ultimately built his own machine learning model for age estimation based on facial images. By the end of this experience, Ben had developed a strong foundation in R and Python programming and was well prepared for an analytical future.

Besides the satisfaction he finds in meeting its creative and technical demands, Ben is drawn to data science because of its potential to make positive impacts on real people. Having spent his summers as an undergrad working as an instructor at charity surf camps as well as a teaching assistant in the West Bank of Palestine, it has always been important to Ben to find his own way to contribute to the greater good.

When time allows, Ben loves surfing, fishing, and most other aquatic activities. Otherwise, he can usually be found armed with a spoon, meticulously devouring mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Wilmington, NC

Michael Yuan Michael Yuan
B.S., cum laude, Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2011
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The battle against heart disease and cancer inspired Michael’s interest in analytics. At the Winship Cancer Institute, Michael performed survival and time-series analysis to evaluate the effect of potential prognostic factors on survival amongst different demographics and temporal changes in the prevalence of Pulmonary Squamous Cell Carcinomas. Michael further enhanced his skills at the Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute, where he published research papers such as “Predictors of Frailty and Depression” and “Chest Pain in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease” in prominent health journals. Through these experiences, Michael found his passion for analytics, and he is interested in learning about other industries and applying his analytical skills to help companies make data-driven solutions.

Michael brings experience working and communicating in a cooperative environment with different types of professionals. An excellent communicator and organizer, Michael was able to seamlessly integrate many health professionals such as doctors, nurses, biostatisticians, and epidemiologists into his research. With his background in healthcare and research, Michael will also bring a unique scientific perspective and approach to future projects.

During his free time, Michael fosters dogs for the nonprofit organization Wings of Love, which saves abused dogs rescued from Kuwait. He also loves traveling and exploring cities, especially seeing how cities transform at night. His current favorites are Toronto, Kyoto, and Seattle. He also enjoys testing his friendships while playing board games such as Settlers of Catan and One Night Werewolf.
Citizenship: USA
Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Chenhui (Lillian) Zhang Chenhui Zhang
B.Com., First Class Honours, Commerce, University College Dublin, 2017
B.Econ., Statistics, Xiamen University, 2017
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One of the most exciting decisions Chenhui ever made was to pursue her dual bachelor’s degrees in both statistics in China and business in Ireland. By combining her experiences from two distinguished universities, she developed her data-driven mindset to approach business problems.

Chenhui’s gap year internship with State Street Corporation, a global fund management company, initially inspired her passion for programming. Working in a team managing over 100 UK-based ETFs, she found the ongoing challenge was to compile increasingly large financial data into spreadsheets. By developing and implementing new VBA macros to improve data procedures, she eventually helped the team reduce 50% of the time spent on market value oversight. Fascinated by the outcome, Chenhui concentrated on Management Information System courses to gain technical skills. In her senior thesis, she web-scraped a dataset of over 48k campaigns on Kickstarter.com and built logistic regression and tree models to forecast whether a campaign can be successfully funded before its launch.

Chenhui’s learning journey continued after graduation while interning as a data analyst at ZBJ.com, a unicorn internet company in China. In addition to BI reporting, she contributed to various projects such as anomaly detection of payment rate decreases over channels and modeling user credit scores.

Outside of work, photography is the language with which Chenhui loves telling stories. She hosts a personal website to post pictures about her travel around China and 13 different countries. She also enjoys cooking homemade cuisine for friends and experimenting with Italian recipes.
Citizenship: China
Language: English, Mandarin
Hometown: Hohhot, China

Photo credit: Roger Winstead


For previous class rosters, see the Archive.