Brianna Johnson '21: Embracing opportunities

Brianna talks about working on data-driven research projects, serving as a student director in the Honors College, & landing a full-time position as a business systems analyst at a startup company.

Brianna Johnson
Brianna Johnson, data science major at UMass Dartmouth's College of Engineering (Photographer: Karl Dominey)

Brianna Johnson says one of the best things about her time at UMassD is that she has had many opportunities. “I have worked on research, been a student-athlete, attended conferences, and so much more,” says Brianna who chose data science as her major and mathematics as her minor.

“The faculty, especially in the Mathematics and Data Science departments, have always been helpful. The professors care about your success, and will work with you during your academic journey. I have never felt that I was just another name on a class roster,” she says. “Instead, smaller class sizes have led to communication with professors outside of class.” One of Brianna’s most memorable experiences was during her sophomore year when she had the privilege of attending the Summit for Women in STEM at Wheaton College. She had the opportunity to explore different areas of mathematics as well as postgraduate opportunities. “The event was a day of empowerment and networking, and I left the summit feeling beyond excited to be a female in the mathematics and data science field.”

Promoting growth within the Honors College

“Working as a student director in the UMassD Honors College has been a wonderful experience. When I first came to UMassD, we were only an Honors Program and roughly, five students attended the weekly Honors Council meetings,” she says. However, throughout her time as an Honors student, she has been able to help create networking and social events. “Events like Game Nights, Paint Nights, and Social Hour with Professors have helped to increase turnout and the number of active members at meetings. I am happy to say that as of last semester, we have tripled the size of our council, with many more students attending meetings from time to time.”

Interning at a startup company

“During summer 2020, I was fortunate enough to find a local startup technology company, out of Northborough, MA, that was looking for a Technical Projects Intern. Unknowing of what my responsibilities would be, I was thankful to have an opportunity to intern during COVID.” The company, Lumaxia Consulting LLC, is a small startup that focuses specifically on robotic process automation. “While at Lumaxia, I have been able to become a certified Advanced RPA Professional in Automation Anywhere, as well as earn many badges and attend numerous webinars on implementing automation into various industries,” Brianna says.

“Since Lumaxia is a startup, I didn’t necessarily have the typical intern experience. I was immediately asked to sit in on important meetings and help design products that are now ready to launch commercially. I was even assigned project manager on a new immigration portal that will help streamline the immigration process for employees and employers. After four months, I was asked to stay on full-time as a business systems analyst. Through this role, I have been able to lead meetings, projects, and help Lumaxia analyze what is working, and what we can do better.

Conducting and presenting research

As an undergraduate student, Brianna has completed three different research projects and has published in the Northeast Honors Council Journal, Illuminate. She was also a speaker at the Boston’s American Statistical Association Data Science Symposium for Undergraduate and Graduate Students in fall 2020. Her capstone project “Detecting Medical Errors in the Cancer Screening Process.” The project, which focuses on lung cancer and other factors for diagnosis, earned her an undergraduate research grant for spring 2021.

As an undergraduate research assistant under Mathematics Professor Alfa Heryudono, Brianna has been involved in the project, “Numerical Explorations, Computational Strategies, and Rapid Prototyping Scientific Data-Driven Problems with Machine Learning.” Funded through a UMass Dartmouth MUST sub-grant, the project was presented by Brianna at the Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference last month.  

“When I came to UMass Dartmouth, I knew that I wanted to be able to use my skill set to help others and improve my local community. I feel that I have been able to do just that,” she says. “The UMass Dartmouth community has helped me to grow and become an influential leader, a more insightful academic and overall better individual.” Brianna is enrolled in the Data Science BS/MS 4+1 program and will begin her master’s program in the fall.



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