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Fisher Offers New Data Science Minor

March 1, 2017

Beginning in fall 2017, students at St. John Fisher College will have the opportunity to learn the statistical and methodological tools needed to draw insights from big data, thanks to a new minor in data science.

Students study in a classroom.

“The job outlook for data science and analytics professionals is increasing in virtually every employment sector,” said Dr. Evan Blaine, director of the Statistics program. “The data science minor is designed to be paired with a disciplinary major so that students will have some marketable quantitative and analytic skills integrated with their major-field disciplinary knowledge.”

The new minor, which is housed in the Department of Mathematical and Computing Sciences, adopts a problem-solving approach to data analysis, blending the study of statistics, computing and programming, and data skills. Students enrolled as data science minors will take four courses that instill the basic competencies expected of data scientists, including how to clean and explore data, work with databases, build predictive models, and use R to analyze data.

Students will take two disciplinary electives from their own major discipline and will engage in a mini capstone experience, developing a data science project in which they find and analyze data guided by disciplinary questions of interest. These will link the data science minor with the student’s major field and provide the disciplinary element needed for doing data science, said Blaine.

Upon graduation, data science minors will also have developed a portfolio of work showcasing their data science skills for prospective employers in their field.

In addition to Blaine, five faculty members—Dr. Barney Ricca, Dr. Kris Green, Anne Geraci, Dr. Liz Leboffe, and Dr. Kathleen Donovan—will contribute to the data science minor.