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Program in Data Analytics

Student Spotlights




Kendall Lyons with her two mentors from studying abroad in Paris

Kendall Lyons

Studying Abroad in Paris, France

My name is Kendall Lyons, and I am a junior at the Washington State University Pullman campus dual majoring in bioengineering and data analytics. I am very involved on campus as a member of the WSU Honors College, a Learning Assistant for an engineering course, and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. I have also been very involved with on-campus research, conducting an individual multidisciplinary project exploring the connection between ocular blood flow and eye disease.

This past summer I had the opportunity to expand upon this topic in Paris, France, where I had the chance to complete a 6-week internship at the MAP5 lab at Universite Cite Paris. During my internship, I had the ability to greatly expand upon my knowledge of fluid flow dynamics and mathematical modeling under the mentorship of Marcela Szopos and Lorenzo Sala. Employing a model viewing blood flow from the perspective of electrical circuitry, we worked to find a meaningful connection between changes in flow and the risk of ocular disease. I was able to gain valuable experience in coding and documentation of research, as well as an incredible opportunity to gain abroad experience. International travel has always been a bucket-list item for me, and the opportunity to complete an internship abroad allowed me to gain a cultural perspective unlike anything I could have gained from vacationing.

I am incredibly grateful to the WSU Honors College, and specifically Dean Grant Norton, as without their financial support and general willingness to support student endeavors, this project would not have been possible. I would also like to thank my mentor Sergey Lapin, who is the acting Associate Director of the Data Analytics program at the WSU Everett Campus. These two individuals have been instrumental in my ability to complete this internship and have been two of my biggest advocates during my time as an undergraduate. The individual and personalized support I have received from Washington State has been beyond my expectations and has allowed me to greatly expand upon my education in the classroom.

The biggest piece of advice that I can give to other undergraduate students is to get involved as much as you can on campus, with your peers, with your professors, and with your studies. The more time and energy you put into avenues that you are passionate about; the more opportunities are presented to you. Sometimes these opportunities will be scary, and pushing yourself to take the first step is often the hardest part. If you are presented with the opportunity to study internationally, jump on it. It is such an incredible chance to explore the world and provide new perspectives.

Janani Thoguluva

Graduating Spring 2023

I took my first statistics class in high school, where I fell in love with the subject and its wide applicability. I found statistics to be fascinating and useful, which led me to WSU’s Data Analytics program. As someone who also harbors a passion for the social sciences, I appreciate how the program helps students build a technical skill set around statistics and computer science while also taking classes in their chosen domain area. I chose to pursue a minor in Sociology, which has given me perspective on how I might want to use my skill set in a future career.

This unique combination has helped me build a well-rounded resume which landed me an internship as a student researcher at the Spatial Modeling and Electoral Districting NSF REU. It was offered by UW Tacoma and the University of Puget Sound in Summer 2022, and included housing, food, and a stipend. I worked with eleven other students from all over the country and a wide variety of majors, from political science to geography to computer science. We studied the computational facets of gerrymandering from a spatial perspective using U.S Census data and many different softwares. My training allowed me to take the lead on the coding aspect of our research, and my background in sociology helped me understand our technical results with political context. It also gave me experience in developing a new computational method, creating useful visualizations, and presenting a professional presentation. It was an enriching experience that gave me the opportunity to combine all the facets of my college education in one project, along with forging incredible relationships with my peers.

Moving forward, I have accepted a job offer at Liberty Mutual for their Analyst Development Program in Seattle, set to begin in September after graduation. The program is a year and includes a three month training period and three rotations in different teams before being placed in a permanent role. I hope it will allow me to experience different methods of using and expanding my skill set.







Elliot Kimsey

Elliot Kimsey

Graduating Spring 2023

From the day I learned about math as a kid, I was immediately fascinated with numbers. I would try to double as high as I could in the car and things like that. I carried this passion throughout my time in school, but as soon as I discovered the Data Analytics major at WSU, it sounded like exactly what I wanted to do with my interest in math.

I was taking Dr. Daryl DeFord’s Intro to Data Analytics class, and it was my first experience with coding. I found myself at his office hours a bunch and aside from helping me understand concepts and coding things, I learned that he not only graduated from WSU, but conducted undergraduate research during his time here. I was genuinely interested in what he did and eventually asked him if he would consider mentoring me in undergraduate research and he was excited about that idea.

In terms of what we researched, I didn’t have a preference at first, and that ended up being a great decision because we researched a topic that challenged me in many ways. We researched effects of Malapportionment in Washington State, which is a fancy way of saying we looked at shifts in population between districts that occurs and how those affect the voting cycle and outcomes that are either intentional or not. The reason that this research was so beneficial was that it was a complex issue and therefore required a complex approach. We worked with many types of data, the most notable being geospatial data. I also got experience with new apps and software, learned about advanced mathematical and statistical concepts revolving around Markov Chain Monte Carlo, our main methodology for analysis. I am fortunate to have been able to form a professional relationship with Dr. DeFord. I learned so much from him and was given opportunities to do professional report writing, several presentations at math conferences, and participated in the WSU SURCA poster event.

After graduating this spring, I plan to work in the Data Analytics industry. I would like to do cancer research, more socio-political research, or get a job in an environmental area such as geology.

Michaela Bayerlova, Top Ten Senior, 2022


  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Data Analytics
  • WSU Pullman
  • Czech Republic


2022 Pac-12 women’s tennis scholar-athlete of the year; NCAA Division I Tennis Championships; currently ranked No. 43 in the US, WSU’s only ranked player; currently ranked Number 513 in the world (as of Mach 21, 2022); currently is the third-highest woman playing NCAA Division I tennis in the world rankings; holder of five Pac-12 Player of the Week awards; holder of two Northwest Region ITA Player to Watch awards; two-time All-Pac-12 Conference selection, 2018/2019 (only player in school history to be named to First Team); second-team All-Pac-12 Selection in 2021; captured five professional singles titles while at WSU; Student-Athlete of the Month for academic achievements; WSU All-Academic Team and Pac-12 All-Academic team; volunteer at Circles of Caring, WSU Tennis clinics, Butch’s Bash Holiday Carnival, and Coug Pals

Favorite WSU Experience

For sure, it’s been really cool watching other sports. Football is not a sport back home so even going to WSU’s big stadium was huge. I have special memories of our tennis team winning big over UW on Senior Day this spring. We went crazy afterwards!

Future Plans

I will be competing in the NCAA Division One Tennis Championships this May. Then, I want to play professional tennis for a year or two. My base is back home in Germany, and I plan to travel to tournaments in Europe and all over the world. A big part of that will be looking for sponsors.

Depending how my tennis career goes, I may also consider a career in data analytics. It’s a really broad field, so there might be a lot of opportunities.

Outstanding Seniors 2022

Jessica Smith

Global Campus

Payton Lee Bokowy

Pullman Campus

Tyler Marx, Upcoming Graduate, Fall 2021

Time is the most precious thing we can spend. Our choices dictate how that time is spent and invested for our future. For most of my childhood, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life or career. Being naturally analytic and mathematically-minded I focused my early studies on math and science. I started pursuing a data analytics major here in 2018 after receiving my Associate’s degree. I chose the computation track because of the appeal of the class options and my interest in optimization and high-performance computing. Luckily, I fell in love and haven’t looked back. Due to the track’s focus on math and computer science, I was also able to complete a minor in both while pursuing my Bachelor’s. During the summers I sought out internships to give me real-world experience and to develop my network. My first internship was at Lockheed Martin where I worked with SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) technology. I assisted in the development of a radar simulator for pilot training and developed a program to find the optimal registered SAR image based on certain criteria for ground-truth registration. It was my first opportunity to work on a real team and helped me gain confidence and new skills in the business world. My second internship at Prime Solutions Group also focused on SAR technology. However, it was oriented more toward machine learning capabilities with SAR imagery. I had the opportunity to develop military capabilities by applying neural networks to real and curated datasets. I was also able to work closely with another intern in developing a Java+Python full-stack web interface tool for machine learning. Working on real-world machine learning projects opened my eyes more than ever to its endless capabilities. My most recent internship at SEL was a drastic change from radar technology since most of the work is power system focused. I’ve got to work on several exciting and challenging government-related projects involving machine learning, anomaly detection, optical character recognition techniques, and more. After graduating I will be seeking a data science career, the fields I have my eyes on are medicine, government defense, logistics automation, and finance.



Tyler Marx.

Alex Tuck, Outstanding Senior, Spring 2020

Alex Tuck.

I started my collegiate career at the Pullman campus studying computer science. As the year progressed I grew intimidated by the CS coursework and switched my major to math. I realize now that I needed a few semesters to grow before I would be ready to tackle that coursework again, as it is also integral to data analytics. With myself now studying math, I realized I was unsure of where I wanted my career to take me. This is where data analytics enters the picture. Data analytics offered the perfect opportunity for me to study a combination of both mathematics and computer science and to see how the two fields are intertwined in the real world. While on the data analytics computation track I was able to learn about software development, machine learning, and statistics. Now that I’ve graduated I hope to use what I’ve learned to realize my goal of being a software developer.

Haylie Murray, Data Analytics 2019 Graduate

I started school at Everett community college and got my AA in computer science. I then transferred to the newly built WSU Everett campus and decided to do data analytics, which was the first year they offered it. The reason I chose WSU Everett was because it was local and it was the closest school at the time that was offering data analytics. It also had amazing mentors like Nella Ludlow who gave a lot of advice on the industry. I liked the idea of data analytics because I felt it would offer a lot of opportunities to work with machine learning, and it’s always been a dream of mine to do something in AI. The journey wasn’t easy though. For the first couple of classes I was alone, and the only student in the program at the campus. I didn’t have too many people to study with, but this helped me branch out to other students in other disciplines. I believe it helped with my communication skills and taught me how to explain what I am doing at a high level, which becomes useful when working with people in other fields. It was a unique experience and could be challenging at times, but the struggle was worth the payout. My senior year I got an internship with EagleView where they use computer vision and machine learning to pull information out of aerial imagery specifically for roof reporting. This then turned into a full time job as I graduated in 2019.

Hailey Murray.

Jessica Smith, Data Analytics Alumni

Jessica Smith.

I am a recent graduate in Data Analytics with a minor in Business Administration. I currently work for Amazon as a Business Intelligence Engineer where I use SQL, Tableau, and various cloud computing resources to query large datasets and create analytic dashboards for key stakeholders.

My experiences in the Data Analytics program have provided me with the qualifications needed to enter a highly quantitative and analytical field with excellent career growth potential.

The mentorship and support I received from program faculty was critical in giving me the confidence and skills I needed to transition into the workforce and be successful in a professional role.