Mathew Shaw, Bachelor's in Data Science '17

A New and Expanding Field

Innovating the way we use data to solve complex problems

During undergrad, Matt Shaw took advantage of every opportunity the Data Science program had to offer. He launched the Data Science Association for students, mentored high schoolers in technology through the Facebook TechStart program, and took teaching assistant positions for statistics and Java courses. In class, he loved working with different types of data to solve complex problems for different industries. After graduation, he enrolled in USF’s Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) program, eager to advance his data science knowledge and experience.

How did the Data Science prepare you for grad school?
Through the Data Science program, I gained extremely valuable technical skills, leadership skills, and work experience — I learned how to apply machine-learning algorithms, explain high-level ideas in front of large groups of people, and gained a strong understanding of the mathematics, computer science, and economics used in data science. These skills have been extremely helpful in the MSDS program.

The faculty provided many learning and work opportunities — from TAing to creating a commercial recommender system. They were always available to help when needed. When I applied to the MSDS program, two faculty members provided application advice and letters of recommendation.

Why did you choose to major in Data Science at USF?
I chose USF specifically for the Data Science and MSDS programs. After comparing Loading... and placement statistics to other universities, I knew that USF would provide the best preparation for a career as a data scientist. Plus, USF was the only university that offered the possibility of continuing to a Data Science graduate program from a Data Science undergraduate program.

What are some of your best memories from the program?
That’s a tough question — there are so many! Some standout memories are when the Data Science and Math majors teamed up as the "Mathletes" and took the field in a charity flag football game on campus … the end of the year Math party for students and faculty … and the opportunity to deliver my senior project to faculty, students, and the administration, which presented potential solutions that could prevent housing conflicts.

What are your plans after finishing graduate school?
Since Data Science is a new and expanding field, I want to work for a company that is innovating and changing the way we use data to solve complex problems. My long-term goal is to start a Data Science consulting firm that helps companies gain insights from their data. USF’s Data Science program definitely inspired this goal. Throughout the program, we worked on many problems with various types of data — we applied machine learning algorithms to datasets to predict the Challenger’s explosion, Old Faithful’s eruption, company revenues, and more. I enjoyed the challenge of solving complex problems from different industries.