UC Berkeley Division of Data Science and Information

Product Manager, Global Adoption Lead

When: Dec 2018 - present
Where: Berkeley, CA

Project Manager and Team Lead for the Global Adoption External Pedagogy Team

The Rise of Data Science Undergraduate Pedagogy Across America

The academic world is seeing a major increase in the number of students who have become accustomed to the idea of studying data science within college. While the topic itself in industry is not new, UC Berkeley is one of the very first to provide a curriculum to students who are interested in studying this growing field.
I, along with my colleague and friend Amal Bhatnagar, were the project managers, and led a team of 6 whose main mission was to make this curriculum open source and help institutions and universities across the world adopt the pedagogy necessary to create classes and degree programs for the undergraduates at each school.
A few of the schools our team has helped are listed below. As you can tell, the Berkeley data science program is a highly regarded program across the globe:

Quick Timeline of Berkeley's Data Science Program

Figure created by Alex Nakagawa, data collected from classes.berkeley.edu

  1. In 2015, professors Ani Adhikari, John Denero, and David Wagner created the class Data 8: Foundations of Data Science (data8.org). 
  2. One year later in 2016, the "Division of Data Science" is formed to aid in the construction of a new degree path for undergraduates.
  3. In 2018, several schools found data science classes of their own based off of the Berkeley model.
  4. In the same year, the Data Science Major is officially established, it becomes the fastest growing major in UC Berkeley history.
  5. In 2019, the Data Science Minor is released, and the Division appoints it's first official Dean: Associate Provost Jennifer Chayes.

Giving back to the program

I first took Data 8 in the Fall of 2017 and instantly was hooked at the prospect of being able to apply my mathematics knowledge and short computer science stint into a career. I took Data 100 (the next class in the progression) the year immediately following.
As a way to give back to the small community (at the time), I decided to become a Curriculum Developer that following summer to help the Division of Data Science's Modules program create data-enabled course material for various classes. The sense of fulfillment I received from being able to democratize the education of this fast-growing field for my peers was the ultimate push I needed to commit to working for the Division as my main commitment in college.