Designing Her Own Major – Jean Hinton

“Meredith has been the best community for my personal and academic growth. Whenever I have needed help, my professors have always had the knowledge and supportive words to help direct me. They always let me make my own mistakes and decisions and then teach me how to grow from such moments. 

I have learned that my greatest strength is asking questions. Asking questions not only helped me learn new concepts in the classroom but led me to create my own major. This strength has also fostered deeper relationships with my professors that are invaluable to me. 

The faculty and staff have always been supportive of me and my goals, especially when facing the challenge and unprecedented path of my contract major.

After only a few weeks of my Statistics II and Data Analytics courses, I knew this was the field for which my mind was made. Statistics and data analytics/science felt like a second language to me, so I started asking questions about how to further my coursework in these two fields. 

The statistics and data science (DS) minors at Meredith weren’t enough for me. I wanted to major in these two domains and even wondered if I needed to transfer to another institution. However, the faculty at Meredith suggested that I consider a contract major, which is a major that students can create and propose to the Academic and Faculty Councils for approval. During my sophomore year, I worked alongside several math and computer science faculty to craft a new major that combines statistics and data science. At the close of that year, I proposed my major, and it was swiftly approved. I am now the first student at Meredith College with a B.S. in statistical and data sciences but I hope I am not the last. 

Not having the major I wanted to pursue was the biggest challenge I faced while at Meredith because I seriously considered having to study at another college or university. I didn’t want to lose the Meredith professors and student community, so creating my major was the avenue through which I was able to continue my education at Meredith. I am really proud of how this major improves Meredith as an institution because this major will be the blueprint for a statistics major and data science major as our math and computer science department grows.

I hope to become a data analyst or data scientist in the future. I believe two of my strengths, Relator and Learner, have helped me the most in finding this career path. My Relator strength is best explained as desiring deep relationships with others and enjoying team-oriented work. Fortunately, many careers within the data world are team-based jobs, so that aspect of being a data analyst or scientist is really appealing to me. Another one of my strengths is being a Learner. A Learner is someone who seeks lifelong learning and is always looking for ways to improve. This is an essential skill for data processing as one of the main questions we are facing in this field is how to improve our systems for collecting and analyzing data to make them more efficient and meaningful. I am looking forward to utilizing these skills in my career after Meredith.”