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Faces of UMSI: Daeryong Seo

Daeryong Seo

MADS student Daeryong Seo is a professional data scientist driven by a sense of service and responsibility. He’s seeking rigorous training to prepare him to tackle dangerous computational algorithms and social issues ⁠— and he said he’s found that training at UMSI. 

Seo was born and raised on a small island in Korea, and he graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2003 with a PhD in educational/cognitive psychology and a minor in statistics. 

Now, he’s living in San Antonio, TX and working at the top of his field. 

“As a psychometrician, I have been and am currently leading multiple standardized large-scale national and international assessments (e.g., Australian NAPLAN), and as a research scientist, I have led several outstanding studies published in both peer-reviewed journals and awarded at professional conferences,” said Seo. 

A lifelong learner and dedicated scientist, he saw the MADS program as an unmissable opportunity.

“I have occasionally taken data science courses from Coursera and EdX, and in 2018 I learned that the MADS degree would be available through the Coursera platform,” said Seo. 

“Online data science courses opened my perspective to both the promising value and great danger of computational algorithms,” he said. “However, it was always hard to finish them due to the lack of close engagement and constructive feedback.

“These two drawbacks motivated me to take comprehensive and rigorous hands-on training and learn fundamental principles of data science from the best-ranked universities. I applied for the program without any hesitation.” 

Seo said he’s satisfied with the level of rigor he’s encountered in his MADS courses, which will help him meet both professional and personal goals. 

“The level of concentration, motivation and engagement is completely different,” he said. 

Specifically, he’s excited to focus on natural language processing, social network analysis and learning analytics so he can apply that knowledge to personal service goals.

“I want to volunteer for nonprofit organizations such as DataKind and use my data science skills to prevent/change social issues hidden in our human society,” said Seo. “I also want to create social media platforms to share these skills with people, specifically seniors who are interested in machine learning.”

A couple of semesters into the program, Seo said he’s enjoying connecting with peers in courses and via Slack. 

“I am very honored to be part of the first cohort of MADS students to learn fundamental principles of data science from one of the best-ranked universities,” said Seo. “... All MADS students inspire me in many unique ways.” 

When he’s not working on personal data projects outside of class, Seo said he likes to sing, work out and write poetry. He also loves to cook and calls his mother frequently to ask for Korean recipes.