It is fascinating to see all of the different ways you can analyze data.
When did you decide you wanted to study SSOR?
My path to SSOR was a long and strange one. I originally studied viola performance at Boston University, however I injured my wrist and effectively ended my professional career. I ended up moving to Richmond and started taking courses at Reynolds Community College. I took a statistics course and it just clicked with me. When I finished my associate’s degree, I transferred to VCU to continue my statistics studies.
What was one of your favorite classes in your major?
My favorite class in SSOR was Applied Statistical Computing with Dr. Ed Boone. The real-world applications and examples we learned were interesting and practical. We learned to develop our programming skills from the ground up, and use them in conjunction with our knowledge of statistics. It was fascinating to see all of the different ways you can analyze data, and I know I will remember things from this course on the job.
Which professors did you enjoy working with in your major?
Dr. Jenise Swall was definitely one of the best professors at VCU. I took Probability with her, as well as my senior capstone class. She is dedicated to providing a positive, knowledge filled, friendly environment in her classrooms. Dr. Swall’s energy makes anything she teaches interesting, and she wants to see all of her students succeed. She also has tons of real-world experience that she is willing to share, and is a fantastic resource for students.
Can you tell us about your internship experience?
I had the opportunity to complete an internship with Sports Backers, a nonprofit organization, that has developed programs and events that help people stay active. I’ve been working on their Fitness Warriors project for two semesters. This has been an extremely eye-opening experience to work on statistics in the real world. The knowledge gleaned from this major is something a lot of people do not have a grasp on, so it feels valuable to provide that knowledge and apply it to a project where it is useful. You also encounter problems that you wouldn't think about when doing just a homework problem, like organizing data, building systems and explaining statistical concepts to those with no background in the field.
Why should a student major in SSOR?
Statistics is such a specialized field. From what I have heard and know about the job field, specializing is the best way to make yourself relevant in today's day and age. There are also multiple different paths you can pursue with a degree in statistics; for example, I am planning on pursuing a master's in biostatistics so I can work in research.