MSDS Student Profile: Chris Longchamp

July 14, 2022

Chris Longchamp M.S. in Data Science 2023Chris Longchamp

M.S. in Data Science 2023, University of Virginia
B.S. in Economics 2022, Quinnipiac University

Q: Tell us about your path to data science.

My path to data science was straightforward. I started by taking a statistics class in high school and knew I wanted to keep doing work relating to statistics and data. Heading to college, I thought studying business would be the right track. However, my undergraduate advisor, who happened to run the applied statistics and data science minor at Quinnipiac, recommended I take a couple of data science classes and see if I liked them. I ended up loving them. So, I added the minor the very next day and have never looked back. My university was just building out a data science major so I majored in economics. I decided to pursue data science in graduate school. This led me to research data science master’s programs and discover the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science.

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

You can do anything with a data science degree. I’m interested in exploring several career paths this year but for now, am going to keep my options open. My dream job would be to eventually work in sports analytics. So much information and patterns can be found when looking at data, and I think different industries are leveraging data in various capacities. Many of the sports leagues were a little late to the game in using data to provide valuable insights. I’m also an avid hockey fan and playing throughout my life inspired me to work for either an NHL organization or the league itself.  Other fields that spark my interest are healthcare, education, and the government. I would like to produce data products that in the future would be helpful for others.

Q: What has surprised you about the M.S. in Data Science program so far?

What has surprised me the most so far about the MSDS program is how much I can learn in a day. The program is teaching me that every time a concept is introduced in class, there is so much more to be discovered on your own. For example, tackling a programming language is hard and you can’t learn to understand it in just a couple of classes. There are a lot of free and accessible resources to learn different programming languages. They can provide answers to most of the problems that you will run into while coding. You just need to know the right functions to look for and the inner workings of how those functions work. I am also surprised that we are taught not only the programming languages themselves, but the history behind them. It is important to know the evolution behind the technology and software that we are using so that it can be improved upon in the future. Lastly, I am surprised by how close everyone in the program is to one another. We help each other out in different ways and bring unique skill sets to the table.

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

I would say the best advice is to enjoy the experience. There will be times when you are frustrated because the code won’t run. But when the code does run, you will feel like a million dollars. Also, enjoying the experience means a lot more than just showing up to class. It is being able to do research outside of class, hanging out with friends on the weekend, and continuing to find out what you like and dislike about data science. For me, I came to the program with an analytical background and, therefore, statistics and models have always been interesting. When deciding on UVA’s master’s in data science, it was the depth and the rigor that ultimately impressed me. Don’t forget graduate school is an opportunity to meet and network with many different people. Everyone comes into the program with different experiences and backgrounds. Learning from my classmates and their perspectives completes the package.

Q: What are some fun facts about yourself?

  • I'm from Atkinson, New Hampshire
  • I previously served as Vice President of the student body at Quinnipiac University.
  • I am a diehard Boston sports fan. Go Bruins, Red Sox, Pats, and Celtics!


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