MSDS Admission Ambassadors

October 14, 2021

Meet the 2021 - 2022 Admission Ambassadors! These students are from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. They are all pursuing data science with different goals and dreams. Reach out to this year's ambassadors with any questions you have about the MSDS program, dual degree program, and minor.

Interested in becoming a M.S. School of Data Science student? Have questions about the program, student life, and UVA? Join our coffee chats or sign up to meet with one of our current MSDS students below. 

MSDS Coffee Chats

If you would like to meet one-on-one with an Ambassador via Google Meet to ask any questions you have about the program or student experience, you can schedule an appointment with Felipe, Arjun, Burke, Timur, and Jeannette below.

Felipe Barraza

Felipe Barraza

Meet with Felipe

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia
Major: Biomedical Engineering

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
Biomedical Engineering Data Science

What are your research/career interests?
Data Ethics

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
I chose UVA for its Academic rigor and prestige, and its proximity to home.


Arjun Ganesh

Arjun Ganesh

Meet with Arjun

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia
Major: Statistics and Cognitive Science

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?

My favorite classes are Speech and Hearing Science with Filip Loncke, Ordinary Differential Equations with Robert Johnson, Advanced Sports Analytics with Jordan Rodu. I am looking forward to Bayesian Machine Learning with Don Brown.

What are your research/career interests?
NLP, text translation, and recommendation systems

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
I loved my undergrad experience and knew this was going to be one of the most reputable and fledged out data science master's programs in the future. Headed by one of the most brilliant professors, Don Brown, I knew that I could develop and foster so many important relationships from advisors in the department to even the career development team. 

What is a fun fact about you?
Akon and I sat on a flight together!


Burke Lawlor

Burke Lawlor

Meet with Burke

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia
Major: Chemistry with specialization in Biochemistry

Previous Work Experience:
I worked in a wet lab looking into the specific role of a protein within the cell cycle and how its malfunction may be related to increased risk for cancer. 

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
Statistical Learning

What are your research/career interests?
Bioinformatic and genetic research. I also plan on going to med school some time down the road, and integrating my data science/research knowledge with that. I'd love to become a psychiatrist and establish a genetic basis to help diagnose and treat behavioral disorders.

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
I was a UVA undergrad, so the UVA MSDS program had always been on my radar. UVA has such a historic and prestigious background, so I was always drawn to it, especially as an in-state student. It provides so many non-academic opportunities to excel that other equally ranked schools don't.

What is a fun fact about you?
I've lived in 4 different countries and moved 10 times!


Timur Guler

Timur Guler

Meet with Timur

Undergraduate Institution: Yale
Major: Economics

Previous Work Experience:
Data Science Consultant at Deloitte (D.C.)

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
I've liked them all! Practice and Application with Prof. Kropko over the summer taught me a ton of practical skills. Statistical Learning (DS 6030) has been my favorite for the fall so far but it's still too early to say.

What are your research/career interests?
I'd love to work somewhere where I can apply sophisticated models to interesting and meaningful problems.

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
I liked the focus on the cohort experience, the technical rigor in both math, statistics, and computer science, and of course the city of Charlottesville

What is a fun fact about you?
I lived in Turkey for a year when I was five.


Jeannette Jiang

Jeannette Jiang

Meet with Jeannette 

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia
Major: Statistics

Previous Work Experience:
Altria Intern

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
Abnormal Psychology 

What are your research/career interests?
I am still exploring and thinking!

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
Proximity and affordability 

What is a fun fact about you?
I will always have a broken bone in my body

 


The Admission Ambassadors below, Ryan, Geoffrey, William, Malvika, Brittany, Colin, Izzy, and Jaya, are available via email to answer any questions you have about the program and their experience. 

Ryan Cox

 

Ryan Cox

Connect with Ryan

Ryan is a dual degree MSDS/MBA student.

Undergraduate Institution: Duke University
Major: Mechanical Engineering

Previous Work Experience:
3 years in Software and Data Analytics Consulting

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
My favorite class so far has been Linear Modeling. 

What are your research/career interests?
AI and Machine Learning application in business and consumer experience

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
UVA offered the technical rigor and academic approach I was looking for coupled with a research environment and strong professors. 

What is a fun fact about you?
I have taken a punch from the GOAT, Muhammad Ali!


Geoffrey Hansen

Geoffrey Hansen

Connect with Geoffrey

Geoffrey is a dual degree MSDS/MBA student.

Undergraduate Institution: United States Military Academy at West Point
Major: Systems Engineering

Graduate Education:
University of Missouri
M.S. in Engineering Management

Previous Work Experience:
United States Army- Aviation Officer (Apache Pilot/Commander)

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
Practice and Application of Data Science

What are your research/career interests?
Strategy Consulting

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
Dual MBA/MSDS program provided a unique skillset heading into consulting

What is a fun fact about you?
I had my first daughter halfway through the first year in the program.


William Jarrard

William Jarrard

Connect with William 

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia
Major: Systems Engineering 

Previous Work Experience:
Digitizing medical records and worked at a software company called Propeller Health

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
Statistical Learning

What are your research/career interests?
Health Data Science

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
I went here undergrad!

What is a fun fact about you?
I have been bitten by a zebra.


Malvika Kuncham

Malvika Kuncham

Connect with Malvika 

Undergraduate Institution:University of Virginia
Major: Computer Science and Statistics

Previous Work Experience:
Capital One Intern

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
Any woman and gender studies class

What are your research/career interests?
Data/AI Ethics, Taylor Swift

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
Beautiful campus, great school

What is a fun fact about you?
I can play the Baritone

 


Colin O'Brien

Colin O'Brien

Connect with Colin

Undergraduate Institution: Loyola University Maryland
Major: Finance
Minor: Information Systems 

Previous Work Experience:
Valuation Analyst

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
Statistical Learning

What are your research/career interests?
I am interesting in returning to finance, but I am also interested government consulting and healthcare. 

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
Having a school of data science instead of just a program housed under engineering or another school made me realize how much UVA values data science and how robust of a program I would be taking. 

What is a fun fact about you?
I have been to almost every filming location for the Lord of the Rings in New Zealand.


Jaya Vellayan

Jaya Velleyan

Connect with Jaya

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia
Major: Computer Science and Economics
Minor: Data Science 

Previous Work Experience:
Two Data Science Internships (Novetta and Xeeva)

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
I really enjoyed Professor Kropko’s Application of Data Science class. I learned so many new data science techniques and gained a lot of hands of experience. He is an amazing, brilliant, and very helpful professor!

What are your research/career interests?
I am unsure of exactly what field I want to go into, but I am interested in pursuing a career in data science. 

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
I was able to get some idea of what the MSDS at UVA had to offer by taking undergraduate data science classes at UVA. The undergraduate data science classes at UVA really challenged me and taught me a lot, which made me very excited about the master’s program. I also really appreciate that the MSDS program is only 11 months long as opposed to two years. As a student that came directly from UVA undergrad, two more years of school sounded very daunting, whereas 11 months sounded doable. The cohort offered by the MSDS program is incredible. There are so many people from different backgrounds that offer different perspectives, and yet we are all still friends and get along very well. There is an amazing sense of community.  Finally, I absolutely adore UVA and Charlottesville. I could not imagine liking any other school nearly as much as I love UVA. 

What is a fun fact about you?
I was in Las Vegas for game 5 when the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup!


Minor in Data Science Admission Ambassadors

Brittany Nguyen

Brittany Nguyen

Connect with Brittany

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia
Major: Interdisciplinary Statistics with a Concentration in Econometrics
Minor: Data Science

Previous Work Experience:
Data Science Internship with Navy Federal Credit Union

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
Practice of Data Science

What are your research/career interests?
My current undergraduate research for the UVA Statistics Department involves visualizing the size and growth of the department over time, using the R programming language.  The goal of the project is to demonstrate how the immense growth of the department over the last decade supports the need for an increase in faculty size.

What is a fun fact about you?
I have been on a sinking cruise ship!

 

Izzy Shehan

Izzy Shehan

Connect with Izzy

Undergraduate Institution: University of Virginia
Major: Computer Science
Minor(s): Data Science and French

What has been your favorite class in the program so far?
Data Science Systems with Jason Williamson

What are your research/career interests?
Natural Language Processing 

What made you choose UVA for your MSDS?
Charlottesville! It is a beautiful and active community. I fell in love with it the first day I visited. UVA gave me an incredible opportunity to study what I love surrounded by passionate and intelligent people.  

What is a fun fact about you?
I am on the ski team at UVA!