Student Profiles


Tomorrow’s Data Scientists

At the UO, we provide you with core knowledge in data science techniques and help you apply them to things you are interested in. So not only are you learning about data, but you’re learning about fields like biology, business and marketing analytics, linguistics, or geography. This year, we welcomed nearly 50 students into the UO’s first cohort of data science majors.

Here, you can get to know a few of them.

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First Data Science Students Graduate


Seven undergraduate data science students will walk the stage this spring to collect their diplomas, an exciting moment for the university’s new data science degree program. The graduates are among the first to enter the program that launched in fall 2020 as part of the UO’s Presidential Initiative in Data Science. The initiative is one of Provost and Senior Vice President Patrick Phillips’ strategic priorities.

Hear from part of the first cohort:
►  Brian Kim
►  Darby Olson
►  Haley Rice
►  Liz Richards

Michel Kasday

Hometown: Eugene, OR
Data Science Domain Area: Undecided
Career Ambition: Situational and risk analysis modeling

"When I started college in the 1990s, I knew that I wanted to pursue a degree in computer science. But I wanted to do more than networking or software development. Eventually, I left school and served for 20 years in the Air Force. Although I was trained to be a flight engineer and jet engine mechanic, my computer experience and skills predicting in-flight aircraft performance were repurposed to develop simple analytical tools to help leaders make data-driven decisions.

After retiring from the Air Force, I chose to return to college and attend the UO. During my first term, I found out that UO was one of the first universities in the northwest to offer a new data science major. At last, I had found the degree that applied computer science in a way that met the needs I’d experienced first-hand in the military. In short, it was providence.

In the future, I hope to be involved with an organization that values the skills I will develop here, at the UO, such as the ability to provide situational analysis and awareness to make positive change socially, environmentally, or even politically."

Brian Kim

Hometown: Beaverton, OR
Data Science Domain Area: Economics
Career Ambition: Economics and Mathematics

“I started studying at UO in 2017. I was a CIS major beforehand, and I switched to data science because it felt more in line with what I wanted to do in the future. Getting my degree felt flexible. I was able to choose a domain I liked from the many available choices and the courses are offered fairly frequently."

Darby Olson

Hometown: Portland, OR
Data Science Domain Area: Marketing Analytics
Career Ambition: Minors in Business Administration, Mathematics, and Entrepreneurship

"I liked how all the professors did a great job with navigating brand-new classes and always asking questions from the ‘new’ students to improve it for the students that followed. The data science major looked interesting to me because of the mix of computer science, business, and math aspects, which were three of my strengths in school. Before being told that the data science program was coming to Oregon, I was taking a lot of time trying to decide if I wanted to continue with computer science or with business for my major path and which major I would enjoy more in the long run. Forbes also named data science as the ‘Sexiest Job of the 21st Century,’ which is obviously going to grab most peoples’ attention."

Haley Rice

Hometown: Beaverton, OR
Data Science Domain Area: Biology
Career Ambition: Double Major Data Science and Biology

"I chose a biology domain for the degree. It has helped connect my two majors and made double majoring and still graduating in four years feasible. I hope to apply my degree to environmental or conservation management. Data science is a really prevalent subject that relates to any career field because data is everywhere! Regardless of someone’s interest in computers, I highly recommend learning at least a little bit about how data is collected and used in society and how it may be relevant to you."

rudira madala
Rudira Madala

Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Data Science Domain Area: Biology
Career Ambition: Biological Science/Business Data Scientist

"I chose Data Science at the University of Oregon because organizations and scientists use data to inform big decisions about research, consumer behavior, and internal operations. The UO's program gives me the flexibility to explore my domain focus and pursue a second major all while completing my data science degree."


Liz Richards

Hometown: Walnut Creek, CA
Data Science Domain Area: Biology
Career Ambition: Double Major in Computer and Information Science and Data Science, Minor in Biology

“I was trying to figure out how I could best combine my major and my minor because even though I had switched them, my main interest is with biological applications of computer science. I knew the best way to do that was through data science because I wanted to do bioinformatics or biotechnology.

One of my favorite things about getting my data science degree was that I felt like I was doing something I really loved. I finally had found a way to combine my two biggest interests, and it has become something I am super passionate about and something that I am excited to do in the coming years.”

sophia somerskales
Sophia Somerscales

Hometown: Wilsonville, Oregon
Data Science Domain Area: Geography
Career Ambition: Work with satellite image data to track and predict changes in the environment

"I chose Data Science at the University of Oregon because it allows me to combine my technical skills in computing and mathematics with my passion for solving environmental issues and driving social equity."

lindsey ulribe
Lindsey Uribe

Hometown: Grants Pass, Oregon
Data Science Domain Area: Biology
Career Ambition: Genetic Research

"My work in the University of Oregon’s Data Science program excites me because I know I’ll come out of this program with the tools and the skills I need to be a valuable resource on almost any team, anywhere in the world.

I chose Data Science at the UO because it was the first program of its kind anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. There’s nothing like it elsewhere in Oregon."