A Look Back at the Class of 2020

Dean of the School of Data Science, Phil Bourne, and the School of Data Science team congratulates the MSDS Class of 2020, the first graduating class from the School of Data Science. Watch the video here.

MSDS Virtual Graduation Event 

A Message from President Ryan

To view graduation remarks from President Jim Ryan, view the University’s graduation page here.

A Message from Program Director Raf Alverado 

MSDS Program Director, Raf Alavarado congratulates the MSDS Class of 2020, the first graduating class from the School of Data Science. Listen to his remarks here.

“Congratulations, students, on getting through the year! It's been hard in many respects, but you will be rewarded for it. Best wishes!” - Raf

A message from your 2020 MSDS Student Council

President Bradley Kutcher, Vice President Sudeepti Surapaneni, Activities Chair Saad Saleem, Social Media and Outreach Chair Sania Rasheed, and Treasurer Arti Patel deliver their parting message for the 2020 Masters of Science in Data Science Class. Learn more about your 2020 Masters of Science in Data Science Student Council here.


The Wood Family Awards are made possible by a generous endowment from the Wood family. Oscar Wood is a valuable and active member of the Data Science Board for the School of Data Science, and has been a member since its inception. Oscar is dedicated to the future of data science and in speaking to our budding data scientists, he says, “Use your skills to contribute and impact initiatives for the greater good. It can be immensely rewarding and personally satisfying.” It is because of his belief in the future of data science, that his family chose to establish an endowment for these awards to recognize and reward excellence in the field.

Wood Family Award for Outstanding Service


This award goes to a student from the graduating class that has demonstrated outstanding dedication to service to their classmates, the University, the data science community, the Charlottesville community, and beyond. Students are nominated and voted on by the Data Science Team. 

Bradley Katcher


Headshot picture of Bradley KatcherThis year we're excited to present Bradley Katcher with this award. Bradley served the school and students by acting at the Student Council president but, most would say he took his role above and beyond. The School of Data Science is fortunate that Bradley stepped up and offered to take a leadership role on behalf of his classmates. Never one to shy away from the weight of the responsibility and stress, Bradley exemplifies the best ideals of student self-governance. He's acted as a liaison between the Data Science team and students both pre and post COVID, collecting concerns from students and reaching out to staff members to get answers on their behalf. He’s dedicated time to speaking to incoming students about the MSDS program and has even sacrificed his face to raise money for the community. Under Bradley’s leadership the Student Council and MSDS class of 2020 class held a Halloween party, Friendsgiving complete with food drive, and Super Bowl party. His service and leadership to those around him and the integrity with which he conducts himself is why those who know him also admire him.

Wood Family Outstanding Student in Data Science Award


This award goes to a student from the graduating class that has demonstrated overall excellence in academic performance. Students are voted on by the teaching faculty in the Master of Science in Data Science program for this award.

James Howerton


James Howerton headshot This year we're excited to present James Howerton with this award. James has excelled throughout his coursework at the School of Data Science. His professors noted that James asks thoughtful, challenging questions, has incredible work ethic, and demonstrated extraordinary mastery over complex material. Congratulations James!

MSDS Class of 2020

This year's MSDS class & MSDS/MBA class was made up of 54 students. These students came to the School of Data Science from all over the world, spanning from Pakistan, England, and India with undergraduate majors like economics, public policy, and statistics.. They had work experience in medicine, consulting, and education. The class is leaving us with jobs that will take them to startups and government. Some MSDS students liked their time learning with us so much, they're going back to school! 

MSDS Class of 2020MSDS/MBA Class of 2020