Student Spotlight

HulmanRachel Holman | Data Science and Statistics

What attracted you to come to Miami and study statistics/data science/analytics?

When I first started looking into colleges, I was extremely undecided about a major. I knew that I liked math, could never be a teacher, and wanted to go to a new state with colder weather. After touring Miami's campus I absolutely fell in love with it, and through many exploratory classes and long conversations with professors I discovered my passion for data science and statistics!

How do you describe what you do to people who don't know anything about statistics?

Since data science is such a new field of study, I am frequently asked what it is that I actually do. I always explain it as a combination between computer science and statistics where I use code in order to organize and analyze data to find trends. The world is full of information that could be used to make amazing correlations and insights into how to improve businesses, healthcare, marketing, and more to better serve the community.

What have you liked best about majoring in statistics?

So far, my favorite thing about majoring in statistics is the feeling I get when I fully understand a concept or statistical practice and can find use for it in other subjects or areas of my life. I also feel a sense of excitement and pride when I read or hear about an interesting statistical finding in a report and know that with just a bit more education, I could be the one contributing significant findings to the world.

What do you like to do outside of your studies?

Outside of my studies, I love to rock climb and do art! I tend to climb roughly 3 days a week as a form of exercise, but more importantly, stress relief. As for art, I have always loved getting my hands on any kind of craft I can: embroidery, painting, digital art, even balloon animals! Recently I've started doing commissioned artwork during my breaks. I cannot wait to retire one day and spend all my time painting and crafting the days away!

What are your plans after Miami?

After I graduate from Miami next year, I plan to find a job with a midsize company ideally in a state I've never visited before to begin my life in the working world! I am considering extending my time as a student by completing a master's program, but I have not fully committed to that idea yet and plan to evaluate that option more closely this summer.

What have you learned at a young age that has stuck with you throughout your life?

When I was younger, there were two things I learned to be true which have stuck with me throughout my life. The first is that even when months and days are long, life is short. Bad things and stressful situations will pass before you know it, but good times pass too so it's important to try to live in the moment and appreciate the time you have doing things you love. The second, and arguably most useful thing I learned, is that a spoonful of peanut butter is almost always effective for stopping hiccups.


 

DanzyBretho Danzy III | Statistics

What attracted you to come to Miami and study statistics/data science/analytics?

I received my undergraduate degree in statistics from Miami, so it was a rather natural progression. I knew I wanted to continue studying statistics and I was already acquainted with the great staff and professors of the statistics department. I am grateful for the education I’ve received at Miami.

How do you describe what you do to people who don't know anything about statistics?

When approached, I often ask them what they do for a living or some of their hobbies. In my experience, this has always been a good place to start. For example, if they work in the medical field we could simply discuss metrics they use and how to decide when it’s different enough from a typical measurement to necessitate change. I may then bring up biostatistics concepts (i.e. association test, clinical trials, censoring, etc.). I’d then discuss the nuances of the topic and how a person with a background in statistics would be a good conduit to assist in navigating these complications. This conversation can easily be adapted for sports analytics, production quotas, etc.. I think everyone uses statistics in some form. However, they might be unaware of their own proximity.

What have you liked best about majoring in statistics?

I think Dr. John Tukey said it best, “The best thing about being a statistician, is that you get to play in everyone’s backyard.” I believe this is also true when studying statistics. The global application allows for diverse examples in class. Even if you aren’t interested in certain applications, it won’t be long before there is one that fits your interests.

What do you like to do outside of your studies?

I really love to travel. This has been hindered somewhat by the pandemic, but my wife and I love to travel across the U.S. exploring the national parks. I would recommend the Badlands in South Dakota.

What are your plans after Miami?

I am somewhat undecided due to a number of desirable opportunities. I have applied to a few PhD programs which may enable me to continue studying statistics. However, there are also some career prospects that look appealing. Additionally, I worked as a data analyst in the Air Force so I might find work as a military contractor.

What have you learned at a young age that has stuck with you throughout your life?

Life is all about perspective. Shortly after joining the Air Force, I remember being put on 12-hour shifts, from midnight till noon. Together as a shift we developed great pride and camaraderie in working this undesirable shift. We would get off shift on the last day of the duty week and share a meal together and organize off-duty game/movie nights. The team's positive disposition made that time go considerably smoother. All in all, I’ve learned it might take a while, but I try to focus on the positives and address the negatives when necessary.