Online Student Bios

April 16, 2020

Meet some of our online MSDS students. These are professionals in the workplace, who are simultaneously getting their Masters of Science in Data Science. Some live in Charlottesville, and some are getting their degree from across the country. Check out these impressive students, their backgrounds, and why they chose UVA MSDS.

 

Thomas Hartka

Dr. Thomas Hartka
Dr. Thomas Hartka

Where are you from?

I live in Charlottesville, VA and my hometown is Severna Park, MD.

Where did you do your undergraduate education/what did you major in?

I have several degrees:

BS - Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech

MS - Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech

MD - University of Virginia

Why did you choose to come to UVA for your Masters of Science in Data Science?

I chose UVA for several reasons.  I am an assistant professor at UVA so I was aware the Data Science Institute had a reputation for cutting edge research and innovative faculty.  I had also worked with an MSDS capstone team on a research project and I was impressed with the skillset of the students.

Why did you choose to do the online program?

I chose the online program because I have a full-time job and needed the flexibility to attend classes in the evening.  I also could not commit the time to a full course course load.

What do you plan/hope to do with your MSDS degree?

I intend to use the material I am learning in my MSDS program in my research on automotive safety. I have already used some of the techniques that I learned in the first semester of classes in research projects analyzing national medical databases.  I hope to expand my research to real-time analytics to improve emergency room care.

 

Brooke Williams

Brooke Williams
Brooke Williams

Where are you from? 

Roanoke, VA

Where did you do your undergraduate education/what did you major in? 

University of Virginia, double majored with Computer Science and Cognitive Science

Why did you choose to come to UVA for your Masters in Data Science? 

It seemed like the logical choice, since I live in Charlottesville and attended UVA for my undergraduate degree. I also currently work for the Health System at UVA, so I decided to continue the theme.

Why did you choose to do the online program? 

After completing my undergraduate degree at UVA, I was excited to begin my professional career. The part-time Masters of Science in Data Science program allows me to continue my career and still achieve the masters.

What do you plan/hope to do with your MSDS degree? 

I hope to use it to progress in my career in healthcare data and technology. I love using technical skills to have a practical impact on the lives of people who need it.

 

Cory Yemen

Cory Yemen
Cory Yemen

Where are you from?

Philadelphia, PA

Where did you do your undergraduate education/what did you major in?

 As an undergraduate, I studied math and public and urban affairs at Virginia Tech. As a graduate student I studied city planning, focusing on economic development, doing my master's work at the University of Pennsylvania (Masters in City Planning), and doctoral work at Rutgers University (PhD in Planning and Public Policy).

Why did you choose to come to UVA for your Masters in Data Science?

The University of Virginia's commitment to data science, embodied in its institutionalization as a school, signals a lasting commitment, which appealed to me. 

Why did you choose to do the online program?

Already employed full-time, the residential program was not something I considered.  Knowing the University of Virginia's measured approach to adding degrees and program options, I was confident that the online MSDS would not simply be a revenue generating afterthought.

What do you plan/hope to do with your MSDS degree?

Working for a large electronic components manufacturer, we have information and insights locked away in fallow and underutilized datastores. I see the knowledge and skills developed through the MSDS program helping me to better productize our text and image data, delivering deeper insights internally and better customer experiences externally. 

Personally, I remain active in organizations dedicated to advancing real estate assessment practice, though I no longer work in municipal government. Demographics and technology are rapidly changing the needs and possibilities within this function, providing means of reducing errors and ensuring that the incidence of those errors are not borne disproportionately by the residents least able to seek remedy. Every step in the process of how data are collected, turned into meaningful market value indicators, assessed for integrity, combined for valuation, audited for quality, and shared for public appeal, at the property and the overall assessment level, can be informed by data science to improve accuracy and reduce inequity. I look to bring what I learn at the School of Data Science to the committees and institutions I serve as we try to continue to push this impactful and important civic process forward.

 

Andrew Hogue

Andrew Hogue
Andrew Hogue

Where are you from?

I am from Richmond, Virginia, and have lived here nearly my entire life. 

Where did you do your undergraduate education/what did you major in?

I attended the University of Virginia from 2013 to 2016 and graduated with a degree in statistics. 

Why did you choose to come to UVA for your Masters in Data Science?

I embarked on my data science journey at Virginia because I was familiar with the program. I had some friends go through the on-campus program and had a lot of good things to say about it. I actually intended on entering the program immediately after graduating, but I wanted to try and pursue a career in sports since I had worked for the football and basketball teams at UVA. 

Why did you choose to do the online program?

I chose the online program due to its flexibility. I am able to still work at my job, but also work towards transitioning careers.

What do you plan/hope to do with your MSDS degree?

I hope to secure a position in either finance or health care after graduation. My wife is a physical therapist, and I think what she does has a lot of areas for data analysis to not only improve her workflow, but also help her patients.