University Spotlight: Mount Holyoke College
We had 150 fellows participate in our Summer 2017 Fellowship Program — which means that our University Spotlight series is still going strong! Today’s spotlight will feature a fellow from Mt. Holyoke College, a liberal arts college for women located in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Shirley is a senior majoring in Statistics and minoring in Data Science. She spent her fellowship in Singapore as an intern at Zumata, a travel technology company.
What were some of your main responsibilities at Zumata?
"My main responsibilities included:
- Modifying Python scripts to train de-duplication models for machine learning
- Researching, running and evaluating different models for de-duplication
- Analyzing more than 400k records of hotel data using Python, R, and Excel
- Documenting the de-duplication process in Markdown files
I also worked on an open source Python project named dedupe.io."
What is the most valuable lesson/ most valuable skill you learned or strengthened during your internship?
"The internship at Zumata gave me an opportunity to know what it really feels like to work for a technology company as a data analyst; I also gained a better understanding of how to become a skilled data scientist.
I feel the skills I learned at school are insufficient for working on a real-life project like dedupe.io, so I Googled, read Stack Overflow, took online courses, and asked others for help. A real-life industry project is so different from academic projects, in that data is always messier than expected. I always needed to plan more time for every task assigned to me - I encountered many new errors when trying to fix one particular error in the code. I also learned to multitask and to keep good records of what I do so that later I am able to clearly explain my progress to others."
At this time, what are your post-graduation plans?
"After graduation, I plan to enroll in a Master’s program for Data Science/Business Analytics."
Shirley reflects on her fellowship by adding “I was really excited to work with a group of highly skilled engineers and learn data analytics from working on real-life projects this summer.”
We’re excited to see what’s in store for Shirley during her last year at Mt. Holyoke and beyond! We wish Shirley luck in her next endeavors — we are confident she will succeed in whatever path she chooses.