MIDS Immersion – November 2014
In November 2014, 40 Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) students arrived on UC Berkeley's campus for datascience@berkeley's second annual immersion. Students traveled from across the United States and around the world to meet their classmates and professors in-person for the first time during our three-day immersion experience.
After a welcome reception at California Memorial Stadium the night before, students began the first day of the immersion with a seminar on "Leadership Communications" by Doy Charnsupharindr and Susan Houlihan.
In the afternoon, students traveled to San Francisco for company tours of Yelp and Uber, two popular, data-driven startups. Students spoke with the leader of Uber's data science team, Kevin Novak. At Yelp, students spoke with engineering manager Jimmy Retzlaff, as well as Yelp's data engineers and data scientists.
After the company tours, students mingled at the Data Science Happy Hour, where guests from a variety of Bay Area companies — including Facebook, Airbnb, Salesforce, Eventbrite, and Kaiser Permanente — were eager to speak with students.
"Visiting Uber was an amazing experience. After a 40-minute presentation, we spent over an hour asking questions to Kevin Novak (leader of the data science division) on everything from data science at Uber, to data science at small startups, to the evolving place of data science in the world. It was invaluable to get an inside perspective of data science in the tech world — I left inspired, and with a better idea of the kinds of problems I might like to solve next."—Chris Llop, September 2014 cohort
On day two, MIDS students attended the UC Berkeley School of Information's first Data Dialogs conference, a forum devoted to introducing students and the public to practitioners who regularly work with data science. Data Dialogs featured speakers from a variety of industries, including Wells Fargo, Facebook, Google, the City of San Francisco, Palantir, and AT&T Foundry. These speakers touched on a wide range of topics, from the theory of experimentation to the value and responsibilities of a data scientist.
"What impressed me most about the Data Dialogs conference was the obvious passion that every speaker had for their work and the diversity of their experiences. From each talk, I was able to relate what the speaker was sharing to things I have learned in class, validating that what I have been learning in the classroom really does occur out in the 'real world."
—Elizabeth Peters, January 2014 cohort
On the third and final day of the immersion, students learned about the I School's career services, including resume assistance, job boards, networking, and more. After this session, students enjoyed two talks: the first on data science and gaming by Benjamin Stokes and the second on cybersecurity by Steve Weber and Jesse Goldhammer.
The immersion came to a close with a dinner in downtown Berkeley with Dean Saxenian. At dinner, students were able to ask the dean questions and they expressed their thanks for a great immersion experience.
"The immersion has built a sense of community amongst my classmates in just three days. It was amazing to interact with individuals from so many different backgrounds and experiences. This immersion has left me with friendships that I know will live on past the length of the program."
—Nitin Kohli, May 2014 cohort