MSDS Online Student Profile: Akeem Wells

August 9, 2022

Akeem Wells

Akeem WellsCurrent Employer
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Software Engineer

M.S. in Data Science 2022, University of Virginia
B.A. in Interdisciplinary Science 2013, Florida Institute of Technology

Q: Tell us about your path to data science.

As an undergraduate, I was always fascinated by large-scale data and problem-solving. I spent my college years as a lab assistant where I gained skills in statistics and computer science. I also participated in several undergraduate internships that strengthened my skills. After graduating, I began working at a national observatory learning more about large-scale data. Noticing not only this field, but the world around me focusing on large data and processing, I knew I needed to expand my abilities. When I saw the chance to apply to the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science master’s program, I jumped at the opportunity. 

Q: What do you hope to do with a data science degree?

I hope to utilize my data science skills to work on projects that allow me to expand into a variety of disciplines. Currently, I have plans to implement various data science foundations in the field of astronomy at my current employer along with working on smaller projects outside of UVA; transforming data into information that can be easily interpreted. Additionally, throughout my career, I hope to pass my knowledge and wisdom to my community.

Q: What has surprised you about the MSDS program so far?

What surprised me the most about the MSDS program is the vast number of disciplines data science has reached. Each class follows different subjects, ranging from bioinformatics to sports analytics. Not to mention, the breadth of software and knowledge coupled with the various backgrounds of the students, faculty, and staff gives you the ability to learn and thrive in data science.  

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering a master’s in data science?

Always do some background research. Data science is a large umbrella term that includes data engineering, machine learning, etc. Try to take advantage of all the resources around you to find what fits you best. Also, remember that data science is a marathon, not a sprint, take your time and enjoy the journey. 

Q: What are some fun facts about yourself?

  • During my time at Florida Tech, I was a Division II track and field athlete.

  • I’ve taken a trip to the Atacama Desert in Chile.

  • I’m a big sports and anime fan.


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