Faces of UMSI: Jordan Marquez
MADS Information Mentor Jordan Marquez is working toward a master’s degree in applied data science, serving his peers and holding a program manager role at Stanford University all the while. How is he able to manage it?
According to Jordan, integrating school, a full-time job and a part-time job has been a challenge, but learning how to thrive while charting an impactful career path has been rewarding.
“I try to keep on a consistent schedule to make sure that I can devote enough time to each without feeling burnt out,” Jordan says. “Everyone is so willing to help each other out, you quickly gain a sense of community. Many students are balancing so many unique aspects of their life, and it helps to have a strong sense of belonging while going through the program.”
Jordan, who lives in San Jose, California, just finished up his second semester in the University of Michigan School of Information’s Master of Applied Data Science program. He helps students navigate the program and develop that vital sense of community as a MADS Information Mentor. Information Mentors are current MADS students who host office hours and answer questions about the application/assessment process, student experiences and anything else prospective students hope to find out about the online degree program.
The biggest surprise is how connected you feel to classmates and professors in an online environment. There is so much more interaction between students and faculty, and I feel like I have learned so much more than in any other online course I have taken.
Jordan’s MADS journey began as he started to learn about data science at work. Intrigued, he started with UMSI Clinical Professor Charles Severance’s online Python for Everybody specialization, and then he began to look for similar online learning experiences after completing it.
“I had been hoping that the University of Michigan would offer an online degree in a field that interested me,” says Jordan, who graduated from Northern Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. “I then discovered the MADS program and explored it to see if it was the right fit for me. I decided to enroll because of the multidisciplinary approach of the program and how I could integrate my previous background. I also loved how the structure of the program offers flexibility, and how it works well for someone working full-time.
"I look forward to learning more from future courses and integrating my social science and education background with data science to work on projects with significant social impact," Jordan says.
Now taking classes in the MADS program at a rate of one course per month, Jordan anticipates earning his degree by 2023, but he’s already been able to apply a lot of the skills he’s learned so far directly in his current role.
Data science really expands across all industries, and it works to solve real-world problems. From the first class I took, I was able to start using that knowledge to solve problems at my full-time job.
"My team recently had to make a presentation to our organization, and I was able to use my skills to help effectively show our data and highlight our key points," Jordan says. "We were complimented on how clear and elegant the presentation was. It was rewarding to know I could apply these skills I gained from the program.”
“I have taken other online courses and enjoyed them, but MADS courses are unlike any other,” Jordan says.
Even while keeping up with his consistent schedule as an employee, student and mentor, Jordan says he still allows himself time to do the things that spark him creatively, ensuring he has an outlet to de-stress and keep him in a positive state of mind.
“I’ve been involved in music-related activities most of my life,” Jordan says. “I play the flute and piccolo and typically will practice them to de-stress after a long period of studying. I am also a huge lover of musicals and like to see a few shows per year. I am always listening to cast albums and love to talk to anyone about anything musical theater-related."