Data Science Masters

March 31, 2020

Student Profile: Matthew Rhodes

Name: Matthew Rhodes

Undergraduate Institution: Michigan State University

Undergraduate Major: Computer Science

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Born and raised in Detroit, I come from humble beginnings. I discovered my love for computers early in life by playing video games on my mom’s PC and my Nintendo 64. After graduating from high school, I went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Michigan State University. GO GREEN! I interned at Clinc during my junior year of college and fell in love with machine learning. I decided that I wanted to learn more about data science so I made the choice to attend the MSDS program at the University of Washington. I make music in my free time and I like to meditate every chance I get.

Why did you choose the M.S. in Data Science program at the UW?

I knew I wanted to pursue a career using machine learning to solve business problems. The career switch to data science was a no brainer. I also knew that the University of Washington had a very rigorous program that would prepare me for an industry career. All of the companies in the area that partner with UW were the icing on the cake.

 You are halfway through your first year in the program. What has it been like so far?

The coursework is simultaneously engaging and challenging. In addition to my classes, I’m doing research with Professor Bill Howe which takes up a lot of my time. The first two statistics courses are the toughest classes so far. My favorite courses so far are Data Visualization, Data Reproducibility and Data Management for Data Scientists.

You interned at Amazon last summer. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?

My experience at Amazon was amazing. I interned with the AWS Ground Truth team. I learned so much about how research is conducted in industry. I also had the opportunity to apply different concepts, such as Bayesian statistics and convolutional neural networks, to industry problems. My team members always made me feel like I had a strong group of individuals I could reach out to for help. I was also lucky to have a great manager.

What tips do you have for incoming students?

I would give three tips to incoming students:

  • Save every assignment. A lot of the concepts we cover in class come up during interviews and on the job.
  • Find out what helps you with deal with stress. No matter your background there will be concepts introduced to you that you have never encountered before. Try your best. When things get tough, you should do something that helps relieve stress.
  • Find a friend in the program. It always helps to have someone you can talk to about lectures, concepts, interviews or just to hang out with.