The commencement invitation is in plain sight for me to see every day. The cap and gown have been ordered, the travel plans complete and the “Class of 2018” lawn sign is even in place. I graduate with my master’s in Data Science from Indiana University next week and will become part of the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering class of 2018! This is a blog I’ve been anticipating writing almost since I began my data science graduate program at Indiana University in January 2016.
My first blog two years ago about my online graduate school coursework seems like such a distant memory. I have talked about my journey of why I chose to pursue the data science discipline and many of the twists and turns along the way. I have presented research at two conferences in 2017 and had two more research poster topics accepted at the Scientific Computing with Python Conference and the International Conference on Machine Learning and Data Mining in 2018. I really have enjoyed taking the initiative to learn about the cutting edge research presented and network at these events.
I started the program thinking my focus would mainly be data visualization but along the way found a passion for applied artificial intelligence and specifically machine learning. My first class on information visualization focused on graph theory and communicating network data in a way that was easy to understand. Below is an example of an undirected network of the top 50 co-authors in leaf cutter ants research from the Data Citation Index.
To conclude, I want to say a big thank you to the faculty and staff at IU – including especially my advisor Ying Ding, and professors Yong-Yeol Ahn, Katy Borner, Joanne Luciano, Howard Rosenbaum, Kyle Stirling and all of the Teaching Assistants. As of this blog, I have not yet secured a full-time data science job (more on that after I get the job!) that allows me to stay in the metro DC area but am ecstatic at the potential future career transition and impact I will have in the field. Stay tuned for a future blog where I will talk about how I balanced three full-time jobs the last two and a half years: motherhood, my government position and graduate school.