3 Things I Learned During the Summer about the MSA

After an incredible (yet challenging) time here at the Institute, I’m sharing a few things I have learned about the student experience. 

1. Open-Door Policy 

I wasn’t sure if and how I would get the chance to interact with the faculty & staff. However, with the MSA’s open-door policy, we are encouraged to get to know them! If any of them have their door open during the day, you can just walk right in and have a brief chat. I rarely even plan what to talk about. A massive shout out to Brandon (Mr. Flow) for being so welcoming whenever I barge into his office to take some candy. 

2. MSA 24 is Social

A data science graduate program might seem like a place to house those solely focused on their studies. This couldn’t be more false! I can’t tell you how many social gatherings I have attended with my fellow students–concerts, trivia, basketball, and volleyball! Being able to hang out with everyone outside of the classroom in a stress-free environment is so beneficial for becoming closer and genuinely getting to know each other. Everyone has been so friendly and kind. I can see myself coming out of the Institute with some lifelong friends!

3. Faculty and Staff are Genuinely Invested in Our Success

From experience, highly recognized and challenging programs tend to “weed out” their students, so only the best make it through (I got weeded out of NC State Engineering 😢). However, that is not what the Institute is about. All faculty and staff are invested in our success.

The faculty and staff have pushed us to challenge ourselves and to succeed. For example, in the summer, we completed five presentations, learned about statistical modeling and data manipulation in R and Python, and even tackled a semester-long linear algebra course in a single week! Every ounce of it has been valuable. The investment in us has motivated me to give my all.

These are just three of the many incredible things the MSA has to offer. As I continue to progress through, I’m sure other surprises will come about. One thing I can guarantee is that I will do my best to take advantage of as many of the opportunities offered.

Columnist: Luca Hurst