My current career as a Senior Data Scientist in the private sector would not have been possible without my time at “The” Ohio State University (OSU).
I arrived at OSU [the result of some unique circumstances], after my Ph.D. advisor accepted a job as a professor of Atmospheric Sciences in the Department of Geography in the Fall of 2016. At the time, I was a wide-eyed first semester Ph.D student at Texas A&M University with ambitious plans for my dissertation. Upon hearing the news that my advisor was accepting the position at OSU, my initial thoughts ranged from fear to excitement. Once I accepted that I would need to trade the hot, muggy summer of Texas with the occasional sub-zero temperatures in Ohio, I became very excited! A new adventure started in the Fall of 2016, and I never looked back. The Department of Geography at OSU provided me with all the tools I needed to succeed during my Ph.D. studies, even allowing me to graduate in only 3.5 years. The openness of all the professors in the department, to the support I was given after revealing that I wanted to pursue a non-academic career upon graduation, led me to not only succeed, but to excel. It can be intimidating to let your professors and colleagues know that you have passions outside the academic track, but the department provided an open door and highly supportive environment.
Specifically, my advisor Dr. Steven Quiring was instrumental in providing the support needed to pursue a career outside academia. The work I was involved in, modeling power outages caused by severe weather events, fit quite nicely in the private sector. As many know, weather events cause significant power outages each year. Utility companies seek highly educated people to work on such problems. With the support from my own advisor and other professors in the department (e.g. through working on projects with local utility, American Electric Power, presenting at academic conferences, and obtaining certificates through the College of Engineering), I was able to glide into a nice position at a large utility soon after graduation. Overall, the support the Department of Geography provided during my time allowed me to fulfill my dream. Even though I was one of a few in my program who wanted to pursue such an odd career post-graduation, I got no pushback at all. Without my time in the program, I cannot say I would be as successful as I am today! My time at OSU not only allowed me to gain career success, but also lifelong friends and colleagues.
Baltimore Gas & Electric (BG&E)
PhD Alumnus, Department of Geography