Taking the traditional career fair to a higher echelon, the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center for Data Science (CDS) hosted students and industry representatives at the third annual Data Science Career Mixer on Nov. 2.
This year’s event saw a significant increase in both student and industry registration, with over 100 students and 23 companies participating. Held in the Campus Center Auditorium and catered by UMass Dining, the evening included a student poster session that provided students with the opportunity to present their data science research to industry representatives. Building upon and expanding the career fair model, in which human resources employees exchange literature and email addresses with students, the Career Mixer facilitates researcher-to-researcher interactions.
Dean of the College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) Laura Haas said the mixer is engaging to both students and industry professionals. “The great thing about the Career Mixer is that the students really get a chance to shine,” Haas said. “It’s easier to talk about a particular piece of work with a poster to refer to, and the social atmosphere helps them to relax and interact with the industry folk.”
Industry attendees included Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe, iRobot, Kronos, Maluuba and MITRE, and numerous company representatives said they were impressed by the research presented.
David Belanger, a recent UMass graduate and current research scientist at the Google Brain Team, said there are several fellow alumni who work at Google doing “high-impact” artificial intelligence research. Belanger added that since he began at UMass in 2011, the amount of machine learning and artificial intelligence work occurring has increased significantly.
“There are many more machine learning professors and masters students doing cutting-edge work,” Belanger said. He stated that the master’s students he spoke with impressed him with the strength of their research and knowledge. “They would definitely be successful members of the workforce,” he said. UMass, “should be proud of how much progress they've made.”
Thomas Walsh, Director of Data Science at Kronos Inc., said Kronos attends the Career Mixer because of UMass’ reputation for “high caliber” work in computer science, artificial intelligence and data science. And because Kronos has been a Massachusetts-based company for over 40 years, he called recruiting at UMass “a natural fit.”
Written by Morgan Hughes