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Meet Graduate Student Ambassador Anndi Russell

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Ritchie School Communications Team

Learn More About the Master's in Data Science Program

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Why did you decide to enroll in DU's MS in Data Science program?

I decided to enroll in DU’s MS in Data Science program for a number of reasons. I have a wide variety of interests, and Data Science spans across many industries—a Data Science degree will allow me to work on any of a number of fields that I’m interested in which excites me! I felt that DU would prepare me well to work in industry, since that is what I plan to do (as opposed to working in academia). Also, my background fit well for this program. With the built-in bridge courses for this program, I was able to jump right in even though I didn’t have a programming background before starting. Additionally, I love Denver and getting to stay here to pursue my master’s was ideal for me.

What are your some of your specific interests in DS?

My capstone project involved using natural language processing (NLP) to attempt to predict the vote of a Supreme Court justice based on the transcript of the oral argument. This allowed me to use my interest in NLP as well as using machine learning techniques to build models. At this point, my Data Science interests are still quite broad—I expect as a begin work in the field I will learn more and more about which parts really excite me.

What was your undergraduate education?

As an undergraduate student, I had a major in biology and a minor in mathematics.

What's your favorite part of living in Denver/Colorado? What are your hobbies?

I love living in Denver! I love the outdoors, and Colorado has so many opportunities to enjoy time outside. Hiking and camping are two of my hobbies, and I appreciate being able taking advantage of the nearby mountains! I also love exploring the city of Denver—checking out new breweries and coffee shops or finding some live music.

What has been your favorite class? 

My favorite classes in the programs were Prob and Stats and Machine Learning, though every class was so different it was hard to choose! Professor Durso’s excitement about the content she teaches was evident in every Prob and Stats class, and I enjoyed the challenge of a deep dive into the math underlying data science. Machine Learning was a great course because it was really when I started to feel a lot of the pieces of other courses come together.

Did you have a professional background prior to enrolling at DU or did you come straight from undergrad?

I worked for a few years before beginning graduate school, mostly in the field of education. My most recent role was in higher education as an admissions counselor.

What's your favorite part of the MS in Data Science program?

One of favorite parts of the program was the projects we did at the end of the quarter. In many courses we had some type of final project that allowed us to apply what we learned to something that we are interested in. Since data science is so broad and can be applied to so many fields, it was great to get to spend time on projects that are relevant to the career I want to pursue. It helped me gain a deeper understanding of the material, allowed me to learn what my classmates were interested in through watched their presentations, and helped to build up a professional portfolio to show to potential employers.

Additional interesting thing:
I attended (virtually) the Grace Hopper Celebration Conference earlier this fall (funded by DU). Through this, I was able to connect with other women in STEM at DU, and attend virtual sessions presented by some of the top women in the field. It was a great opportunity for me to learn from and be inspired by some brilliant minds! My experience was shared in a recent article

For those interested in learning more about MS in Data Science or would like to connect with Russell, you can schedule an appointment