Alexa Myers has always been passionate about helping others, and she wanted to figure out a way to bring that to her work. As a Data Science Manager at Resultant, she is able to combine her love of data science and passion for the social good.
Resultant, located in Indianapolis, IN, focuses on helping communities thrive. When Alexa began at the company in April 2020, she was trying to figure out her next career goal. She started as a Junior Data Scientist and immediately saw a need for data scientists to be able to communicate with those who are non-technical. She asked herself, what if our leaders also understood what was going on behind the scenes? Finding out the answer to that question is what inspired her to go back to school.
When searching for a graduate school, Alexa wanted a program that emphasized data science storytelling. This led her to apply to Notre Dame’s Online Master’s in Data Science program, where she was accepted and began classes in the fall of 2021.
“One of the biggest things that I liked about the program was that classes were taught live. The faculty were accessible, and they helped us to succeed. We wouldn’t just meet during class and work on homework together - we would interact, ask questions, and learn from each other. We live in a world now that allows us to connect and learn from anywhere, and this program created a foundation for that community.”
During her time in the program, Alexa attended many of the immersion weekends that allowed students, faculty, and staff to spend time together and learn more about what is happening in the data science field. These experiences helped to solidify her decision to attend the University of Notre Dame.
“These events brought us together as a cohort and helped to foster the community that we were in. Being able to see alumni or others in the data science field and talk about current topics was so helpful.”
Over the course of 21 months, the students learn a variety of topics on everything from machine learning and AI to ethics and storytelling. For Alexa, there were many lessons she took from the curriculum, but there were two that stood out to her that she has directly applied to her work.
“First, the Data Science Process that Roger [Woodard] had in his Introduction to Data Science course. It allowed me to lean in and take the opportunity to understand how my way of thinking is in my work. I still use that today, when we have a blocker, something comes up like looking at it from a strategic thinking standpoint of, okay, where are we at in this process? Where do we maybe need to reiterate? We really emphasize on design thinking at Resultant and the data science process is just an application of design thinking, but for my own work. So I thought, that was something that's really cool, that I continuously go back to.
The second thing is that I learned how to story tell with highly technical components. For example, breaking down a classification model. What does that mean breaking down and having to describe what a neural net is? Those are skill sets that I didn't have previously. I've always been a great communicator, but it taught me how to a talk in that context and to understand my audience. But I think the biggest thing is, it gave me the confidence to do that which has been super helpful in my work. It’s something that we've seen huge response to. Being able to take the information, break it down, and say, here’s what's going on under the hood, here is at every single step of the process. There is a human-centric component to it. There was buy-in across the board because now they understand it, and now they can bring it to people and also explain it to them.”
All of her hard work paid off; she was promoted to her current position and graduated in May of 2023. Earlier this year, Alexa was also awarded the Tech 25 award by Tech Point. This award honors individuals who are critical and exceptional performers helping to grow Indiana’s tech and tech-enabled companies. Her Senior Vice President nominated her for her strategy and innovation.
Now that she is done with her degree, Alexa spends her free time volunteering for different organizations, coaching cross country, and cheering for the Fighting Irish.
“When people stop me and say, ‘Go Irish’ when I have a Notre Dame shirt on, I feel such a sense of pride because I get to be a part of this community.”
Originally published by datascience.nd.edu on December 12, 2023.at