Hometown: O’Fallon, MO
Office Location: Cincinnati, OH
University: University of Alabama
Major: Computer Science & Mathematics, Minor in Business
Start Date: June 2021
Starting Role: Data Science Development Program
Describe your role.
I currently sit on the data science side of the Merchandising Analytics & Strategy Team. We are an insights and delivery team focused on providing help and guidance to Category Managers at Kroger. We interact with them through our MCL counterparts and aim to answer any questions that might inform their category strategy. We complete ad-hoc data requests, design and measure in-store tests, and even deliver customizable dashboards and product-level deliverables that can be refreshed for new insights in the future.
What was your experience like in the Development Program?
I very much enjoyed my experience in the Development Program and was sad when it came to an end. I was one of 11 starting data scientists in the Program and it was great to learn alongside these folks as we were integrated into the company. The extensive trainings and case study helped prepare me for the work I do today and made me think critically as a data scientist would and should.
How do you believe the 84.51° Development Program compares to other comparable Programs?
I’m still very new to the field of data science, but I’m not sure many other Programs exist like the one at 84.51°. We have a very robust training schedule and hands-on project component that helps prepare us for work not only at 84.51°, but also in the field in general. It seems that lots of companies have created data science teams to work alongside their normal functions, but we have a unique opportunity since our company’s sole mission is to drive decisions with data. I don’t believe these other companies with their small group(s) of data scientists would have nearly the training and preparation we have here in the 84.51° Development Program.
How do you believe the Development Program equipped you for success at 84.51°?
The Development Program (more specifically, the cross-functional case study) prepared me to succeed at 84.51° by teaching me how to think critically about questions posed and how I might be able to leverage our existing data assets to answer those questions. I learned how the Data Science and Consulting functions were designed to work together and explored the ways in which our work complemented each other.
What did you learn from the Development Program that you have transferred into your current role?
As data scientists in our Development Program case study, we were tasked with creating a segmentation, a model, and an incrementality analysis. I learned a lot about segmentation design during this process that I carried with me to my current role, along with more knowledge about what goes into analyzing the incremental profit a specific group of customers might bring to the business. These pieces were helpful to me as I transitioned onto an Insights & Delivery team with a primary focus on creating these segmentations and specific analyses to help our Category Managers.
What has been the most memorable experience or favorite project you’ve worked on?
I was lucky enough to work as an intern at 84.51° prior to joining the company full-time in the Development Program. I worked on developing the codebase for new Functional Loyalty logic that worked its way into our mainstream 84.51° segmentation process (it was integrated into the new easy_hml package). It was neat to see work I did as an intern take on the status of company-wide usability and benefit.
Did you go through the internship Program at 84.51° prior to graduating? If so, what was that experience like?
I really enjoyed my internship at 84.51°! In fact, it was one of the primary drivers for my decision to return to the company full-time. I interned in the summer of 2020, so we were fully remote. However, the University Recruiting team did a great job redesigning our Program for completion online and made sure we had plenty of opportunities to interact with one another. I felt that we all completed meaningful project work for the company, and it made me excited to work in the field of data science. 84.51°’s fun and collaborative culture came through even over the phone and I was excited to have the opportunity to contribute there as well.
What advice would you give students who are interested in working in the data science industry?
I would tell students not to get discouraged if they face a difficult problem or have trouble coming up with a solution. I had not worked in data science prior to joining the company, and I had some difficulties along the way in the Development Program. I thought that I wasn’t competent enough to be a data scientist since I initially had trouble coming up with project solutions. Through watching and listening to others in the Program, I increased my knowledge and now feel a bit more comfortable in the data science space. It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to try something that may not work out in the end. Part of data science is experimentation and seeing what methods prove to be useful. Don’t give up, even when it’s difficult, and lean on your peers and colleagues for help whenever needed. They are there to help and support you in your education of this relatively new field called data science.
What’s your favorite part about working at 84.51°? Do you have a favorite benefit or perk that is offered?
One of my favorite things about working at 84.51° is the culture. We continually build each other up and foster each other’s growth and learning rather than trying to compete with one other. It feels very collaborative and supportive, and everyone I’ve ever asked for help has been more than willing to come to my aid.
84.51° offers a lot of great benefits to its associates, but my favorite benefit has to be the flexibility that came out of COVID-19. Being able to work remotely when needed is a huge help to those with children and for balancing all other needs of life. I’ll be able to visit my family for two whole weeks while working from home instead of trying to fit that time into a small two-day weekend window!
What do you like to do in your free time outside of work hours?
Outside of work hours, I like to spend time with friends and make sure I’m getting out to socialize. I like to read, watch sports (live and on TV), and play card games. I also like to participate in intramural sports and pretend that I’m athletic when I’m not! :)