South African Native Richard Stern Thrives as Sr. Data Scientist at TIAA

Categories: General News

Richard Stern ’23, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, now calls Charlotte home.  A senior data scientist with TIAA, Stern said a prior job sparked his interest in data science.

“I recognized the immense potential of data science to drive insights and make informed decisions. The ability to extract valuable information from vast amounts of data and use it to solve complex problems fascinated me,” said Stern, who completed a bachelor’s degree in business administration. 

Describing his Charlotte undergraduate and graduate experience as valuable, informative and transformative, Stern said the University’s comprehensive curriculum and engaging coursework allowed him to explore various domains within the field. 

One of Stern’s favorite professors was Minwoo “Jake” Lee.

“He managed to take extremely complicated deep learning topics and explain them in amazing detail,” explained Stern. “He demonstrated an immense amount of knowledge, and his teaching style was fantastic. It seemed like I learned three courses worth of content in just one of his classes. I appreciate the fact that he insisted on challenging us.”

As he contemplates a future filled with contributing to the rapidly progressing field of data analytics, Stern offers future undergraduates this advice:

  • Choose classes based on personal interest rather than ease. Passionate learning leads to better performance and a more fulfilling experience.
  • Prioritize knowledge over grades for personal growth. Challenging classes foster critical thinking and personal development.
  • Embrace challenges and develop resilience. Education is transformative and can shape your perspective.