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University of Michigan School of Information


Master of Applied Data Science (MADS) students

The Master of Applied Data Science welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds. We offer an agile curriculum that suits a wide range of applicants, including those who are returning to school full-time to pursue advanced study in data science and those who will complete their degrees while working part- or full-time.

Our MADS students study data science from across the country and the globe while managing all kinds of life and career circumstances. These Faces of UMSI profiles will introduce you to students who are parents, full-time employees, entrepreneurs, athletes and more -- and each individual has a unique perspective to offer as a member of the first cohort of UMSI's MADS program. Read about our students' areas of interests and educational histories and how they balance coursework as full- or part-time students. They describe their experience in the online classroom and the advantages of being a U-M student with full access to university and school resources up to thousands of miles off-campus. 

(Profiles are not routinely updated post-publication.)

Faces of UMSI: Steven Ong. Steven Ong wearing a University of Michigan tank top on a tennis court. He's holding a tennis racquet in one hand and a white cat in the other.

Steven Ong brings data science into his everyday life with the Master of Applied Data Science program.

Faces of UMSI: Alexis Castellanos, Master of Applied Data Science. A headshot of Alexis Castellanos.

Alexis Castellanos received an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award for his work as a GSI in the MADS program.

Faces of UMSI: Sylvester Ikpa. Sylvester sits on a roof. More buildings are trees are in the background behind him.

Sylvester Ikpa has used the skills he learned in the MADS program to tackle the challenges he faces in his data science career.

Faces of UMSI: Rachel Cokeley, Master of Applied Data Science. Rachel wears hiking gear and stands on rocky terrain next to a sign that says Mt. Washington State Park, Mt. Washington Summit, 6288 feet, 1917 meters. There is a rock cairn in the background.

The MADS program provided the flexibility for Rachel Cokeley to pursue a data science career and her goal of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Faces of UMSI: Yi Mao, Master of Applied Data Science. Yi Mao sitting on a tree overlooking the ocean.

Yi Mao decided to pursue a degree in data science to find ways to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs in healthcare.

Faces of UMSI: Stephen Ontko, Master of Applied Data Science. A headshot of Stephen Ontko in the Arcade in Ann Arbor.

Stephen Ontko leveraged the skills he learned at UMSI into a data science position at Moody’s Analytics.

Faces of UMSI: Sophia Boettcher, Master of Applied Data Science. Sophia holding a bouquet of flowers outside of a shop.

Sophia Boettcher uses the skills she’s learning in the Master of Applied Data Science program in her health equity disaster relief nonprofit.

Faces of UMSI: Matthieu Lienart. Matthieu Lienart climbing a cliff face in mountain climbing gear.

Matthieu Lienart is a cloud engineer working at the crossroad between computer science and data science.

Faces of UMSI: Simi Talkar. Simi Talkar sitting outside at a table.

Simi Talkar is improving her data analysis skills to provide more satisfying answers to inquiries.

"Faces of UMSI: Eugene Yiga." Eugene is holding a cocktail shaker in a bar.

Eugene Yiga is using his journalism experience and his new data science skills to build a career in data journalism and data visualization.

Brillie Phan crouching in front of goats behind a fence. "Faces of UMSI: Brillie Phan"

Brillie Phan is using data science to solve practical problems at work and in other projects that could make a positive impact in the community.

Nhan Le in front of a desktop computer. "Faces of UMSI: Nhan Le"

Nhan Le is harnessing data science technologies and leveraging his quantitative skills in economics.

Saqib Khanbhai

Saqib Khanbhai is using his new data science skills to improve the accuracy of customer data models.

Michelle LeBlanc

Michelle LeBlanc is launching her data science career identifying fraud, waste and abuse in the healthcare industry.

Matt Wiese

Matt Wiese has developed some deviceful practices to help him balance work and home life while pursuing his second master’s.

Albert Lee

Albert Lee is building community with his classmates and using his data science skills in the real world.

Jordan Marquez

MADS Information Mentor Jordan Marquez has found surprising community in the fully online degree program, which has helped him balance unique aspects of life.

David Hernandez

As a mechatronics engineer, David Hernandez believes data science is key to solving problems in the automotive industry. 

Koon Leong Ho (right) and daughter

Koon Leong Ho said earning his MADS degree while managing the analytics requirements for a hotel chain is like a "marathon," but it's not difficult with support — and it's paying off at work.

Rachel Wyatt

Rachel Wyatt is able to balance working full time and participating in MADS with caring for her school-age children during a pandemic. It's not a cinch, but it's worth it. 

Ayansola Akanmu

Ayansola Akanmu envisions using his education to work on real-life applications of machine learning and computer vision.

Carlo Tak

Carlo Tak is a data scientist from South Africa who is boundlessly curious about his own field.

Jenna Mekled

Jenna Mekled is leaning into a career shift from auditor to data analyst in business and accounting.

Stacey Beck

Stacey Beck is a new mom and a licensed physical therapist interested in how data can generate solutions to real-world health problems.

Ani Madurkar

Ani Madurkar is a data analyst who found a passion for data science while working in a neuroscience research lab.

For Nick Capaldini, finding community has been at the heart of his UMSI experience. 

Tony Purkal chose to pursue his MADS degree at Michigan because the flexible format allows him to continue working full-time as a health science data analyst.

Anthony Giove is building and adding to his data science toolkit as a professional software developer while pursuing a passion in sports analytics at the same time.

Brad Thompson is looking forward to gaining a nuanced understanding of technological evolutions in a field he's worked in for decades. 

Brooke Hawkins is is bringing her affinity for ecology to UMSI as a MADS student.

Daeryong Seo is a professional data scientist driven by a sense of service and responsibility in his work with dangerous computational algorithms and social issues.

Ermias Bizuwork is a self-starter looking for a challenge as he continues his data science education.

Kyle Balog has chosen to Go Blue for a second time as he supplements a bachelor's in industrial and operations engineering with data science studies.

Rachell Calhoun wants to develop software that will help healthcare providers practice more inclusive data science.

Manel Mahroug is a full-time mom and biologist by training who wants to use machine learning to improve patient care.

Nesma Silman has found that data science can play an important role in the customer satisfaction experience.