Preparing for a Career in Data Science – Wanjiru Mambo

“I first heard about Meredith through the Zawadi Africa Education Fund, which is a non-profit organization in Kenya that helps high-performing female high school graduates from underserved communities secure scholarships to attend college abroad. The program introduced me to alumnae, such as Kagure Wamunyu, ’13, who spoke about their enriching experiences at Meredith. These stories, paired with the benefits of a women’s college and a small community, influenced my decision to come to Meredith.

I chose to study computer science because I can cultivate my logical, critical, and creative thinking skills and there is a variety of career paths to pursue with this major. There is also an immediate sense of gratification that comes with writing some code and seeing it work as intended, which is an appealing aspect of the subject to me.

I believe that the strong relationships with my professors have positioned me to have a positive experience at Meredith. My professors create a comfortable classroom environment and I feel welcome to ask questions. As a learner who demonstrates curiosity, this is important to me so I can fully understand what we are learning in class. Furthermore, I’ve had professors who’ve pushed me to take advantage of opportunities at Meredith, such as being a tutor at the Learning Center and studying abroad.

I have completed two internships and I currently have another internship position. My first internship was when I identified data science as an area of interest. I worked with a data science team on an analytics project to help the company streamline some of its processes. After that summer, I added data science as a minor and my passion for the field has grown strong since. These internships have allowed me to discover and solidify my passion for pursuing a career in data science.

One of the biggest challenges I faced during college was finding community. When I started, classes were virtual and activities were limited because of the pandemic. To build a network, I looked for national professional tech organizations to join. I landed on Rewriting the Code and ColorStack, both of which are non-profit organizations and free to join. The former is focused on women in tech and the latter on Black and Latinx students in tech. I’m still a part of these organizations and I’ve even been awarded travel scholarships through them to attend conferences.

I also looked for ways to be involved at Meredith. I’ve been a Hues member, a StrongPoints® ambassador, an international student ambassador, a study abroad peer ambassador, a tutor, a resident assistant, and more. Each of these has given me a chance to develop connections with the people around me.

The support from staff and fellow students has been instrumental in helping me navigate life as an international student at Meredith. The students at Meredith have been very kind and welcoming. I have friends who have offered to give me rides to the grocery store and the airport. I’ve also seen this hospitality through the Meredith International Association (MIA). Last year, I participated in the MIA cultural show, and, in January, I gave a presentation about Kenya. Both times, I got an overwhelming amount of support through cheers and positive feedback.

After graduation, I plan on pursuing a full-time career as a data scientist. My top strength, which is being a learner, has encouraged me to choose a path that will ensure I’m in a constant state of learning. With all the changes happening within the data science field, I am confident that being a learner is a strength that will continue to serve me well even after I graduate.”