Graduation, and this Blog

Elizabeth Gilbert in front of the Oval at Ohio State, in her graduation capOn Sunday, I graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics, specializing in Computational Analytics and focusing in Machine Intelligence, after 3.5 years at Ohio State. I am so grateful for my experience and excited for my next steps: spending my spring in Germany immersed in the language and culture, and starting full time as a Data Scientist in the summer.

As lovely as it was to keep this Honors & Scholars eportfolio that documents my underclassmen years well, I have more to say and more to do. Although this blog will freeze after I graduate on Sunday, I will keep it up, as it is, and I invite you to join me on my LinkedIn where I intend to transition fully to to post similar reflection and insight from my experience:

All About Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert on campus at Ohio State








Elizabeth Gilbert is a fourth-year OSU student with a passion for Data Science. She loves analytics leadership, powerlifting, swing dance, and her church community. Elizabeth learns best through and loves discussion. She is enthusiastic about everything from new opportunities to everyday adventures, and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in; her Enneagram type is 9w8.

After joining the Big Data & Analytics Association at Ohio State, which aims to inspire students to think analytically, empower them through hands on training, and connect them to potential employers, in 2016 Elizabeth joined the leadership team in roles which would range from Event Coordinator to Vice President. In 2018, Elizabeth gave a TEDxOhioStateUniversity talk on the Importance of Big Data, and worked to organize the second Women In Analytics conference in Columbus, which increases visibility to the women making an impact in the analytics space, where she has since coordinated everything from speakers to day-of logistics. On December 15th, 2019, she will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics, specializing in Computational Analytics and focusing in Machine Intelligence, after 3.5 years at Ohio State.

Five years from now, in 2024, Elizabeth sees herself as a part of a data science team doing product analytics and working to make the world a more cohesive, easier place to operate, and a better place to be. She loves Google’s use of data collection through Google opinion rewards and the Local Guides program, the analytics community around Tableau software, the product analytics she has heard going on at Microsoft, and the impact that an improved user experience can have on users’ day to day lives.

MBI REU Summer Fellowship

This is the recording of my talk, “Modeling Hair Cortisol as a Biomarker of Chronic Stress” from the Summer Research Fellowship I did in summer 2017. The research and talk experience was fantastic. I’m proud of the analytics and collaboration we accomplished, and glad to have the recording of this talk. This talk was given at the Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Capstone Conference. My slides can be found here.

CAS Summer Internship

The 2018 CAS Intern Analytics team

The 2018 CAS Intern Analytics team

This summer I was a Technology Intern at CAS. I was the data analyst on the five person intern team, which was tasked with looking at social media data and CAS’s publication data. Working with 3 computer science majors and a chemical engineering major, I got to do all of the statistics and visualizations for the team. I enjoyed using Agile and Scrum methodologies with the team, and learning from lots of knowledgeable full time CAS employees.

One of the things I learned while completing my STEP project was that I enjoy and am better suited for data analytics work than computer science architecture. We were working on a project where all we were given in the beginning was a question, and no previous work or architecture to build off of, so all of our team members, include me, got to work to different degrees with setting up everything we need for the project. In the process of using so many new tools to solve the problems we faced, one of the most valuable things we learned was when to stop investing in a solution and move to a different approach. I also really enjoyed the decision making and problem solving element of the summer. Strategizing when we hit difficulties, like when Twitter still hadn’t given us API access by half way through our internship, was a point of growth, as was communicating with many different industry experts. Now, I know much better the ways in which analysts and computer scientists work together to build projects, and have a better understanding of the way different views play into the success of a whole.

The key events of my STEP project experience included bi-weekly intern luncheons, weekly sprint planning, demo, and retro meetings, and presenting to our CTO. Every other Friday of the summer, the Intern Planning Team brought the 20 CAS Technology interns together for lunch, and someone gave a themed talk. We heard from our CTO, got and shared updates with the other interns, gave feedback on the intern program, and heard from several members of the Intern Planning Team. It felt good to be invested in, and to see that the people who brought us to CAS were still present throughout our program. Every week we had a planning meeting on Monday, and a demonstration of the week’s work as well as a time to think retrospectively on how we worked as a team that week on Friday. This agile process helped us to catch our failures fast and often, get feedback from our stakeholders, expand on our successes, solve problems before they became large, and pivot our perspective when necessary. The last week of our internship, we presented in a meeting to our CTO, and in a poster session to other CAS employees. The CTO’s recognition of our work and interest in it being continued, and the opportunity to communicate to CAS employees about 12 weeks worth of work was exciting.

The key relationships of my project included getting to know and work with our product owners, and being introduced to employees in the Tech division who did very different jobs from me. Our product owners attended our weekly sprint planning, demos, and retros, along with our team Scrum Master, and it was cool not only to get to know them, but to see how they interacted with each other and us, and learn from their example. During mostly the second half of the summer, I got to know and was introduced to one of our product owners and a couple of other employees in the Tech division, and got to chat with them individually over lunch. It felt good to take my own initiative to expand my network while surrounded with so many experienced professionals at CAS, and to hear their stories and advice.

Overall, one of the biggest interactions I got to grow from was the casual everyday teamwork that developed within our intern team. Our skills were different enough but our investment and desire to grow strong enough that we fit well and pushed towards our goal of addressing the question we were assigned. Working in an open area, we had the chance to talk to each other, ask questions, and collaborate more than we would have potentially in cubicles, and with the same daily schedules, spent nearly all of our time together and got to know each other well. Having not collaborated on such a large project before, it was a valuable experience to have so much time to invest in the work and the collaboration.

This change was significant for my life immediately because I am now more equipped to be a junior in data analytics. After having done real world industry work, I better know how to approach my more specific analytics coursework and tasks. I got the context that surrounds analytics which I hadn’t previously had, and strengthened technical and soft skills that we don’t get to exercise as often in the classroom. In the future I plan to become a full time data scientist, and would love to work in user experience research. The skills I strengthened this summer focused me on my path, and the interactions with more established professionals showed me the paths I may take to get there. I know the value of hard work and diligence, but also know the flexibility life requires.

Originally posted at

Honors Contract G.O.A.L.S.

Now, during my second time reflecting on the Honors G.O.A.L.S. of global awareness, original inquiry, academic enrichment, leadership development, and service engagement, I look back to my first reflection as a freshman in October 2016 and see that my focus on balance and these goals has endured, while I have experienced and accomplished so many exciting things during my first two years as an undergrad, and continue to dream about where I will grow in the future.

In broadening my global awareness, I have taken courses such as archaeology, anthropology, and linguistics which have exposed me to diverse cultures in an academic setting, and have learned from friends and acquaintances including foreign exchange and international students from different cultural backgrounds. I would love to participate in a study abroad or other travel to Germany, and have looked into the options that I mentioned in my frist reflection, which might work with my major, as well as talking to friends who have studied abroad, specifically in Germany.

In engaging with original inquiry, I have had the opportunity to do 10 weeks of full time research modeling the stress hormone cortisol in hair over the summer of 2017, supported by a Summer Research Fellowship grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry (OUR&CI). I got to engage with the entire research process independently, collaborate interdisciplinarily, and present my research 3 times: at the Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) capstone conference, at the Fall Undergraduate Research Poster Forum, and at the Denman Undergraduate Research Poster Forum. I plan to continue to work towards this goal by engaging in research, internships, and advanced coursework in the focus of my major specialization. I am currently beginning to engage in human computer interaction research with the Interactive Data Systems group, and will be working as a Data Science Intern at CAS over the summer of 2018. While so much of my focus has been on connecting with research, which has helped me to figure out where I want to apply data analytics to and continues to allow me to ask new and original questions, I also still look forward to my senior capstone, and have engaged with the art I mentioned in my last reflection, through playing cello at my church, Jacob’s Porch, developing my photography skills and business, and engaging with dance through the Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) professional development co-curricular opportunities.

My preparedness for academic enrichment by focusing on the Big Data and Analytics Association (BDAA) for extracurricular involvement and commitment to allowing sufficient time, focus, and balance to pursue my major of Data Analytics paid off, as I have been a leader on the BDAA Executive Board since January of 2017 as a liaison, event coordinator, and currently internal relations director, was accepted into my major in March of 2017, and have been working on my major and specialization coursework since. I have engaged with analytics projects and opportunities, and have refined my focus in applying analytics. I am intrigued by how users interact with technology and excited by the power of data science to predict and power the future, with a particular interest in using data science to solve problems in user experience and human computer interaction. I have selected my general education courses in overlapping areas to focus and develop critical skills in areas that I can practice curiosity and creativity outside of the direct applications of problems in data science. I have had the ability to take 2 general education courses in anthropology and linguistics each, out of the 7 general education courses I have taken so far at Ohio State.

I have focused my leadership development, as I aimed to in my last reflection, and am involved in Jacob’s Porch and BDAA. At Jacob’s Porch, I have had the opportunity to be on the student board, lead small groups in art and photography at our semesterly retreat, contribute through collaboration in writing and music for worship, and lead small groups at our annual high school retreat. My involvement with my church relates to my personal values of faith and community, as well as the concepts of humility, vulnerability, and dignity which I have embraced and reflected on with the Porch community. At BDAA, besides the leadership positions I mentioned earlier, I’ve put on a mixer for freshman in Data Analytics, helped planned the DataFest hackathon, put in a mixer for the entire Data Analytics major, planned on the mentorship team for HackOHI/O, ran a supply chain analytics case competition, put on our semesterly sponsor appreciation night, connected the liaisons that I manage to the resources they need, and planned the day of logistics for the Women In Analytics conference in Columbus. My involvement with my major organization relates to my career goal of learning data science and strengthening my related technical and soft skills.

I serve my communities of Jacob’s Porch and the Data Analytics community at Ohio State through event coordination and leadership to bring opportunities to my peers, and participate in volunteering opportunities outside of these communities as available. As mentioned above, I have primarily served my communities through my positions as a leader, both officially and by leading by example. My favorite opportunities which I will engage with again in the future include the OSU Community Commitment volunteer day, and the high school retreat through Jacob’s Porch.

Reflecting on September’s Goals

In September, as a new freshman at Ohio State, I planned a timeline of how I wanted to start research and gain analytics experience, a to-do list of important steps to accomplish in the process, and a prioritized list of the data analytics skills I wanted to gain.

The timeline I created went something like this:

In September, I planned to network and focus on connecting with professionals and businesses at career fair events. I attended 5 days of career fairs, two networking events, and one internship interview in September. I learned how to follow up with new connections following the BDAA sponsor night in December. In September-October, I planned to complete a basic HTML website in preparation for Hack OHI/O. I created my website,, at Kent Hack Enough, and expanded upon it significantly in May. In October I planned to formulate a question and start a project analyzing Twitter data to answer it. I learned how to scrape Twitter data at the BDAA social media data mining workshop in March. In October I also planned to Google and reach out to a professor for research. I did lots of career-oriented Googling in this time, and reached out to Dr. Kate Calder in early December about the Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI), a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) hosted at Ohio State. In November I planned to start research, and get academic credit for it second semester. I am now doing research with Dr. Calder, and will be attending the MBI kick off next week.

I titled my accompanying to-do list “Prioritized experience building plan”. I first aimed to analyze data independently in a side project. Working with teams I analyzed big data at two hackathons and participated in a case competition, and I am now finally visualizing data sets as a side project on my own. I aimed to then launch an HTML coded portfolio website. I did this via github in October. Next, I aimed to participate in Hack OHI/O and other hackathons. I participated in Kent Hack Enough in October, Hack OHI/O in November, and DataFest in April. I made a note to read abstracts from the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. I did, and in March I volunteered at the Denman. And finally, I aimed to start assisting a professor with their data analytics based research. I reached out to my now-research adviser in early December and we are currently analyzing data on a biostatistics research project.

I based my prioritized list of skills I want off of job requirements for data scientists at Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. The skills were as follows: SQL certified, Python, R, JavaScript, Hadoop, Java, C++, data mining, machine learning, data structures, and Excel. In September, I knew Java and Excel. At the end of my freshman year, I now know Python, R, JavaScript, Java, C++, data mining, machine learning, Excel, and am SQL certified. Although I do know these various languages and concepts to different degrees, I am not done learning, even in R, in which I have become most proficient.

Part of the reason that I am in the midst of doing grant-funded research as a freshman is because I set goals and a plan for myself last autumn. Even if I planned to move unattainably fast back then, the goals and dreams that I listed prompted me to take action and led me to where I am now. Through setting ambitious goals and striving to learn and gain experience in data analytics, I pushed myself to take action and did everything that I could.

My goal in September was to do research in data mining, preferably in regards to people’s health and habits. Now, with everything I’ve learned and experienced this year, my goal is to do research in quantitative user experience, specifically in the area of web analytics. My long term goal is to get an internship and full time job in this field at Google in the next three summers.

I will never stop dreaming and learning everything I can about my goals.

Academic Plan G.O.A.L.S.

Balance is incredibly important in living a life to be proud of. I am thrilled to be a part of a program which encourages this while forming well-rounded students through global awareness, original inquiry, academic enrichment, leadership development, and service engagement here at The Ohio State University. In reflecting on these G.O.A.L.S. I see both my passions and plans, and the areas I have to grow in.

There are many areas that will come together to increase my global awareness. I plan to take classes both on cultural anthropology and the global business of food, and while I am excited to explore these interesting topics which I have not gotten to engage with previously, the classes will broaden my understanding of the world, the people who live here, and the role food plays globally. Because of my passion for speaking German, I also intend to travel to Germany during my undergraduate career, whether that be through summer research with the German Academic Exchange Service and RISE Germany, or study abroad over May term.

Original inquiry, for me, will come in the form of research and my senior capstone project, as well as my own creative art. Because there are so many fields and industries to which data analytics can be applied, I would love to participate in research in multiple fields as the opportunities are available, to find out where I want to apply data analytics to. I also look forward to my senior capstone in data analytics, where I will surely be expanding upon this knowledge and experience in original inquiry. Additionally, I find it incredibly important to have some form of artistic outlet in one’s life, and in my past that has taken many different forms, all of which I am interested in rediscovering during my time here. I have an extensive knowledge of ballet technique, a gallery of conceptual and professional photos, a small collection of spoken word poetry, and a set of beloved cello solos, all of which I would love to rediscover and expand upon in their own ways.

Academic enrichment is something that I very pointedly researched before coming to OSU. My current plan for extracurricular involvement is to primarily focus on the Big Data and Analytics Association (BDAA), and supplement my involvement when possible with opportunities from the Buckeye Hackers and Association of Computing Machinery Women’s chapter. My choice of major is something I am committed to allowing sufficient time, focus, and balance to pursue successfully, especially as a current pre-Major. When I realized how cool statistics and computer science are- how powerful they are and how many problems they could solve together- I knew that’s what I wanted to do as a career. There is far more data than there are people who know what to do with it, and I believe that data analytics could be the most fulfilling and engaging way for me to make the world a better place.

In high school, I gathered lots of leadership experience as business club president, a German club officer, Physical Education leader, and at many leadership conferences. While leadership is a goal I want to pursue in college, I want to be more focused about where I put my efforts. For my future, that looks like an internship, worship planning, and the BDAA executive board. Because of all the options in how I can pursue data analytics, it will be beneficial for me to find an internship where I can practice data analytics in multiple capacities. As far as community organizations go, I love being a part of Jacob’s Porch, and plan to continue attending Worship Arts after Wednesday night Bible study to help plan Sunday worship. Ultimately, I hope to secure a leadership position on the BDAA executive board as a sophomore or junior so that I can help the future classes of data analysts and the major community.

For me, service engagement is something that I always keep my eyes open for, and take as it comes. Several examples of this are the God’s Work, Our Hands service days I have participated in through both Jacob’s Porch and my home church, the mission trips I was fortunate to participate in during high school, and the service project benefiting a local woman’s shelter I completed as a PE leader. Despite this approach, there are several instances of service opportunities which I expect to participate in during my time at OSU, including the Community Commitment event and the Jacob’s Porch high school retreat that happen during the school year.

All About Elizabeth Gilbert

Portrait of Elizabeth
Elizabeth Gilbert is a first-year OSU Honors student with a passion for exploring Data Analytics. She loves TED talks, staying organized, mango lemonade, and church retreats. Elizabeth learns best through discussion, and remembers things visually; her Myers–Briggs personality type is ENFJ.
After taking the AP Statistics test in 2014, Elizabeth co-founded the Stats Club at her high school, which meets bi-monthly to discuss higher level statistical topics with other students who have an interest in continuing their statistical learning. Then, through careful tracking and detailed planning, Elizabeth led her Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter to increase in membership by the highest percentage in the state of Illinois, winning the Presidential Award for membership at the State Leadership Conference 2016.
Five years from now, in 2021, Elizabeth sees herself as a part of a data analytics team, working to make the world a more cohesive, easier place to operate, and a better place to be. She loves Google’s use of data collection through location tracking and the Local Guides program, IBM Watson’s function in business analytics, and the ability to change lives through data, such as what Nancy Lublin did, as described in her TED talk, “How data from a crisis text line is saving lives“.