Sarah, a management information systems major and student ambassador, is founder of the Big Data Club at UMassD.
Getting involved at UMass Dartmouth
I enjoy many great experiences and opportunities offered at UMass Dartmouth. I go to Board Game Night every Thursday hosted by the library. I attend two clubs now, Big Data Club and Fishbowl. I am a teacher’s aide and tutor for four sections of MIS 101. I am a Charlton College of Business student ambassador. And I've volunteered with ROC for fall move-in days. These experiences and opportunities have made my time here at UMass Dartmouth great, and I encourage everyone to get involved on campus.
Professors as mentors
Over the years, I've learned something new and different from my professors. Many professors have encouraged and challenged me to be the best that I can be. For instance, Professor Rui Huang introduced me to management information systems (MIS) and challenged me in my first MIS class. Professor Dan Braha makes classes interesting and is more than willing to help outside of class. Professor BK Rai challenged me by inviting me to DataFest in April 2017.
Participating in the annual DataFest
DataFest 2018 was different. I was the leader of the team. I was able to guide our team to the end, and it paid off. We worked hard for a day and a half analyzing data and seeing what trends we could identify.
We were given questions to answer. To answer one of the questions, we decided that it would best be answered with an interactive dashboard using Tableau. Each team member learned or is currently learning, Tableau in MIS 475. It was this visual that led our team, The Data Monkeys, to winning the award for Best Visualization.
When they called our team's name during the award ceremony, I was amazed. I knew at that moment that everything we did leading up to that point was worth it. All the hard work paid off, and we won an award that we deserved. It was not just about winning the award. It's about helping others understand how visualizations are important in communication ideas. It is helping other students learn how to create more complex visualizations as we did. Even though we won an award, it was also important to us that we help teach other students so that they can grow as well.
Finding the Big Data Club at UMassD
Being the founder of the Big Data Club has been the journey. Up until finding this club, I wasn’t active in any other clubs. I had no idea what I was doing or what being a founder or president of a club would be like. I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something new.
The Big Data Club was founded after attending the DataFest in April 2017. I knew that there were people here on campus interested in analyzing data or dealing with data in general. But there was no common ground for them to meet. I decided to create that place. The Big Data Club is a place for people to meet on the common interest of data, share their ideas and projects, ask for help, bounce ideas off each other, and so on.
After graduation, I intend on returning to UMassD for the fall 2018 semester to continue my education. I plan on getting my MBA with a concentration in Business Analytics. I am looking forward to learning more and taking the steps needed in order to become a business analyst after graduate school.
During the summer, I plan on interning at a local company, Zumbro River Brand, back at home in Minnesota. This past winter break and last summer I had an opportunity to intern there in the summer. Through this internship, I was able to further my skills. I helped the company implement a new ERP system, as well as help with other basic office duties. I was able to make connections that I believe will be important to me after graduate school. I am looking forward to interning with them again this summer. Helping a smaller company grow is such a great opportunity.
Advice for first-year students
Be yourself, push yourself, and challenge yourself. Challenge yourself by taking difficult courses, or trying something new and complicated. Challenging yourself opens you up to growth opportunities.