Immersions offer students enrolled in the Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program at the UC Berkeley School of Information an opportunity to experience the Berkeley campus and connect with faculty, staff, and students in person. From May 4–8, in addition to meeting their classmates, students participated in networking events with data science professionals at top organizations during the first immersion of 2016.
Overlooking a panoramic view of the Bay Area, students took pictures and chatted with fellow classmates during the Welcome Dinner. This event was the first time many MIDS students had the chance to meet their classmates and professors in person. UC Berkeley’s mascot, Oski, and the Men’s Chorale, a UC Berkeley a cappella group, were on hand to welcome students.
Autodesk Company Visit
After breakfast, students headed into San Francisco to visit Autodesk, a 3D design and engineering company. While there, MIDS students were given an exclusive guided tour of the Autodesk Gallery, which features more than 20 exhibits illustrating the creative design possibilities that Autodesk products offer.
Following the tour, MIDS students attended a Q&A panel led by four Autodesk employees who discussed the importance of data science and data analytics and answered the students’ questions. The panel members consisted of:
- Charlie Crocker, director, product analytics (Product Development Group)
- Adam Sugano, head of predictive modeling and advanced analytics (Industry, Strategy, and Marketing)
- Charis Kaskiris, principal data scientist (Product Development Group – BIM360)
- Shubham Goel, data visualization engineer (Product Development Group – BIM360)
In the afternoon, students were back on campus at Sutardja Dai Hall for DataEDGE, a two-day conference featuring data science experts from academia and industry. The day began with keynote speaker Jake Porway, who spoke about Data Science for the Greater Good. Students also listened to three panel discussions, which included:
Students concluded the day by networking at the DataEDGE reception and exploring the Berkeley campus.
DataEDGE Conference Continued
MIDS students once again headed to Sutardja Dai Hall for a full day of DataEDGE. Conference attendees were greeted with opening remarks from Jonathan Star, principal of Scenario Insight, and I School Dean Saxenian.
As part of her opening remarks, Dean Saxenian announced the launch of The Jack Larson Data For Good Fellowship. The fellowship is available to MIDS students who have ambitions to use data science to benefit society. Successful applicants will come from community-service backgrounds or be able to demonstrate how they intend to use the data science skills gained during the MIDS program for the good of others.
Throughout the conference, MIDS students mingled with representatives from Wells Fargo, the BNY Mellon Innovation Center, PwC, Silicon Valley Data Science, Berkeley Institute of Data Science, and Acxiom.
DataEDGE Keynote Address
A Look Back from 2026: How the Deep Learning Revolution Happened by Jeremy Howard
Ethical Considerations in Online Consumer Product Experimentation by Caitlin Smallwood
Sports Analytics and the Giants: Dynamic Opportunities and Strategies for Revenue Generation by Jerry Drobny
Data Science at Udemy: Agile Experimentation with Algorithms by Larry Wai
Network Intelligence at LinkedIn by Mike Conover
Elections and Voter Data: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Joseph Lorenzo Hall and Andreas Weigend
Data Engineering and Data Science: Bridging the Gap by Josh Wills
Open Police Data for Transparency and Accountability by Laura Paajanen Ellena
I School Community Social
Following the DataEDGE Conference, MIDS students relaxed with I School students and faculty over hot dogs, beer, and ice cream sundaes on the South Hall lawn.
Goodbye Breakfast and Giants Game
The final day of the MIDS immersion began with an early breakfast at South Hall and a session presented by I School professor Morten Hansen that focused on leadership trends and lessons from his research on how to be an effective leader.
Following Professor Hansen’s talk, Dean Saxenian led a town hall meeting, where she shared updates about the MIDS program and conducted a Q&A session with MIDS students. That afternoon, MIDS students capped off their immersion experience by crossing the bridge into San Francisco for a baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies.