Alumni Spotlight

Rebecca Hilyard

Major/Emphasis: Statistics/Applied Statistics and Analytics (BS)
Current Position Title: Senior Demand Planner
Company Name: American Crafts

Why she picked her major:

I started out as a math major but as soon as I took my first Statistics class I realized that I had a passion for Statistics, and most importantly, that it really made sense to me!

How schooling helped prepare her for her current position:

Having an understanding of Statistics is important, but the most beneficial part of my schooling was the experience that I got in Data analysis and using Excel. Being able to successfully manipulate big data sets is a vital skill in any company!

Her advice to those currently studying:

Enjoy your schooling, and focus on building a skill set that will set you up for success in the future. Try to develop soft skills like critical thinking and adaptability. Being able to adapt and think critically is extremely important especially now that people are changing jobs more frequently and moving across industries. Being able to learn any job will definitely be a benefit in your career.

Evan Elg

Major/Emphasis: Statistics/Applied Statistics & Analytics (BS) 
Current Position Title: Data Scientist

Company Name: The National Security Agency

Why he picked his major:

I began as a Psychology major minoring in Statistics. I quickly became intrigued by the power of Statistics to help people improve their decision making with data. I switched majors and have never looked back!

How schooling helped prepare him for his current position:

The most important skill I gained from studying Statistics was how to learn and do difficult things. I've had to learn a lot of things on the job but the basic statistics skills I learned gave me the foundation I needed to understand how machine learning works and the courage to tackle more advanced concepts.

His advice to those currently studying:

Take responsibility for your education and gain the skills now that you'll need to land a great job. Look at job advertisements and map out what skills you need to improve in order to be competitive when you graduate. If necessary, take classes from other departments to complement your skill set. If you don't find what you need check out MOOC's like,, and where you can take classes to improve specific skill sets like Python, Spark, Machine Learning, and many other options. Keep on plugging, Despite being a truly mediocre student I've been able to find a job I'm passionate about and able to thrive in.