Endless Opportunities: Pursuing a Degree in Data Science

Categories: General News

As the first School of Data Science in the Carolinas, UNC Charlotte is on the forefront of educating the most innovative, qualified professionals in North Carolina and beyond. Collectively, the school boasts nearly 1,000 alumni who are leaders in their fields. Meet a couple of women who are among the more than 750 students enrolled in the school and who will soon join the workforce as prepared and driven data scientists. 

Alli Borland ‘25

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Major: Data Science

Minor: Software Development 

Why did you choose UNC Charlotte? 

I chose UNC Charlotte because I was drawn to the urban environment, surrounded by towering city buildings. The idea of being amidst the hustle and bustle of nearby professionals was quite motivating for me. Additionally, I appreciated that the University wasn’t solely focused on college life; there were plenty of opportunities for students to engage in other activities like work or family events, which added a nice balance to the overall experience. 

What attracted you to Data Science? When did you know it was what you wanted to study? 

During the summer before my junior year, I found myself torn between pursuing Civil Engineering and Computer Science. Frankly, neither option truly excited me. However, when my advisor suggested exploring Data Science, it was like a lightbulb went off. Despite not having considered it previously, as soon as he explained the field to me, I was hooked. The blend of coding and business aspects in Data Science was exactly what I’d been searching for, and it felt like the perfect fit for my interests and skills. 

Who is your favorite professor and why? 

Without a doubt, Christopher Dong and Marco Scipioni. Both of them were my instructors for DTSC 2302, Modeling and Society, during my junior year, and I can confidently say they’ve been the most exceptional professors I’ve encountered. What sets them apart is their ability to not only impart the necessary knowledge, but also to share invaluable insights from their own experiences working as Data Scientists. Their real-world perspective helps us understand what to expect in the field. Moreover, they consistently challenge me to improve my coding skills and are always willing to lend a hand whenever I hit a roadblock. 

What excites you most about your future? 

What excites me most about the future is witnessing the continued evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI). As I’ve already begun integrating AI into my professional life, I’m fascinated by the prospect of its further advancements. It’s incredible to contemplate just how far AI technology can push the boundaries, and I’m eager to see the innovative solutions and possibilities that lie ahead as AI continues to progress. 

What do you know about yourself now that you didn’t know before coming to UNC Charlotte? 

Before starting college, I didn’t fully grasp the significance of finding a job that you truly love. While I understood in theory that it would be beneficial to enjoy one’s work, I never truly believed it could happen for me. However, now that I’ve discovered a major that I’m passionate about and a career path that excites me, my perspective has completely shifted. I now understand the value of pursuing a career that aligns with my interests and brings me fulfillment, and I’m genuinely excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. 

What advice would you give to an incoming student? 

The advice I would give to an incoming student is to be open to what college has to offer. Don’t come in with certain expectations and give yourself grace to learn the area and college life in general. 

Are you interning anywhere this summer in data analytics? 

Yes, I will be interning in Charlotte this summer with LeanTaaS.

Savannah Bernston ‘24

Hometown: Burlington, NC

Undergraduate Major: Business Analytics

Belk Scholar, Business Honors Program

Early Entry Master’s in Data Science and Business Analytics, Anticipated Graduation Fall 25

Why did you choose UNC Charlotte? 

I chose UNC Charlotte due to the strong community here. I fell in love with the Business Honors Program after my initial interview and personal campus tour. I met so many potential and current students who were willing to connect with me, answer my questions, and become my support system during such a big transition. I applied to 11 different universities but felt most at home at UNC Charlotte. 

What attracted you to Data Science? When did you know it was what you wanted to study?
I love data science because it is applicable to any industry. I am still figuring out where I want to end up long term, but I have been able to hold different positions and internships in real estate, med-tech, and finance all while pursuing data science. This gives me the opportunity to explore various interests through my major. 

What are your immediate plans following graduation? Do you plan to stay in the Charlotte area or North Carolina?
I am in the early entry master’s program, so after undergraduate I will have another year at UNC Charlotte. Afterward, I hope to move to Uptown Charlotte and find a full-time position there. I would like a position that allows me to travel, while still living in the city that I am so fond of. 

What do you know about yourself now that you didn’t know before coming to UNC Charlotte? 

I did not realize how important a strong network was. After living in a small-ish town growing up and spending time with the same people, I never had a large network. Charlotte has given me opportunities left and right to get involved, meet new people, try new things, and make the most of living in Charlotte. I am extremely extroverted, so I love the diversity and friendliness of the Charlotte community. 

If you could text one line to your 12-year-old self, what would it be?
Take the chance, say yes to every opportunity, and go Niners! 

What is the most unusual talent, hobby or interest you have? 

I just got my skydiving A license!