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Data's Time to Shine

Marshall’s Data Sciences and Operations department has stellar year, racking up grants, research awards and other honors.

02.21.22
DSO is having its moment
Women and junior faculty are making significant contributions to Marshall's Data Science and Operations Dept. 

In every possible measure, from publications in prestigious journals to grants and fellowships, media mentions and honors, to growing demand for data analytics coursework and degree programs, Marshall’s Department of Data Sciences and Operations had a banner year in 2021 and shows no signs of letting up in 2022

Department Chair and Professor of Data Sciences and Operations Greys Sošić noted that the department has been striving for years to hire the best candidates on the job market, and the rewards are coming in. 

It helps that the department has built an environment that nurtures success. For years the department has prided itself on the collegiality among its members and the support it gives to junior faculty.

“It should not be surprising then,” Sošić said, “to see that many of our successes actually come from our junior members, and that our senior faculty members are awarded for their mentorship.”

Women in Data Science

Women data scientists are well-represented on the faculty, with scholars at the top of their fields, such as Yingying Fan, and talented young faculty such as Mika Sumida, who joined Marshall in 2021.

“Our department focuses on the areas in which female faculty have traditionally been underrepresented,” Sošić said. “This academic year, six of our 26 tenured and tenure-track faculty are female, and four of our 15 RTPC (non-tenured) faculty, accounting for 23% and 27%, respectively. We are currently in the process of recruiting, and out of the three offers that have been accepted so far, all three were to female candidates.”

The rapidly changing business and global landscapes have also provided more opportunity for DSO scholars and clinicians.

“Our current reality, in which data is becoming more important in our everyday lives, including business and research, created the perfect stage for our faculty to shine,” Sošić said. “Many of our faculty are applying their research to current problems and sharing their expertise with businesses, government and media outlets. This era, dominated by the COVID crisis and supply chain issues, provided many interesting research ideas and topics for media engagement.”

A perfect example: At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, data scientists Kimon Drakopoulos and Vishal Gupta helped create an AI-powered algorithm that predicted who should get scarce testing, and in doing so helped the Greek government reopen to tourists. Their research received wide attention in prominent academic journals as well as in the more mainstream media.

Nick Vyas, executive director of the Randall R. Kendrick Institute for Global Supply Chain Management and professor of clinical data sciences and operations, became the go-to source on supply chain for many media outlets, including the New York Times, to CBS News, and many others.

Programmatic Popularity

Marshall’s Master’s of Science in Business Analytics, which lives in DSO, was recently cited in Fortune as a program in high demand. The article quoted academic director Dawn Porter, professor of clinical data sciences and operations: “Every business is looking for a data analyst or a business analyst,” she said. “We are constantly assessing what the new trends are and incorporating new courses into our curriculum.”

Click here to read a roundup of some of the most recent outstanding achievements of DSO Faculty.