Bellevue University’s Freeman/Lozier Library Brimming with Resources for Students, Faculty and Community

The Freeman/Lozier Library on the campus of Bellevue University is more than just a space to house books.

Outside of the library’s unique moveable stacks is a team of people working to bring a variety of services and resources to online and residential students, faculty and the community.

The Freeman/Lozier collection includes more than 61,054 print titles (includes media), 647,233 eBooks and eVideos, and 52,094 periodical titles in print and electronic formats, according to Robin Bernstein, Senior Director of Library Services at Bellevue University. Bernstein, who has been with the library for over 40 years, is herself a valuable resource, especially for anyone looking to learn about the library.

Much More Than Books

“We’ve gone so far beyond the brick-and-mortar mentality where we’re just a gathering place or a warehouse of books,” Bernstein said. “That’s not only what we are anymore. We offer so many online resources and services. We offer a wealth of knowledge at the fingertips.”

So, what does the library do? The library maintains up-to-date resources to support the University curriculum, provides and circulates both physical and digital materials and conducts library instruction and research assistance to faculty, students and staff.

The library is also a digital archive depository for the University housing photo and video collections, University documents, newspapers and more. Anyone can access the Bellevue University Archives – and trust us when we say, you can spend a lot of time getting lost in history there.

With more than 13,000 students enrolled at Bellevue University – more than 90% of them online – it’s important to meet their research needs. The library offers a unique service called 24/7 Library where a live person is available online through a chat service at all times of the day including weekends, evenings and holidays.

“This service is beneficial to students because it truly makes us 24/7,” Bernstein said. “We have students all around the world, so this tool allows them to have access to a live person that can help with finding the right resources for any assignment at any time.”

The Heart of the Institution

Other borrowing services include Document Delivery for those who can’t physically visit the library can have materials sent to them and Interlibrary Loan where students and faculty can request to borrow books, journal articles, movies, and more from participating libraries worldwide.

Some online resources available include NoodleTools – an online research platform with MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian bibliographies, notecards and outlining resources. Students and faculty also have access to a tool called Lean Library – an extension available on any web browser that will provide access to BU resources regardless of where they are found online.

Beyond its services and resources, the library also has a stellar social media presence with their Facts from the Stacks blog, The More Than Books Podcast, Instagram account, Pinterest page, and the newly created Facebook page. They also publish a quarterly newsletter that shines a spotlight on library services, staff and collections.

“The library is the heart of any institution,” Bernstein said. “People don’t know everything and that’s the beauty of being a librarian. People think librarians are so smart, but they don’t know everything. But, we know how to find out everything and that’s what we’re there for, to help them learn, to help them have what they need to be successful as they enter into the workforce.”

Click here to access all the resources of the Freeman/Lozier Library at Bellevue University.

Nine Bellevue University Students Recognized With CMA Scholarships

Nine Bellevue University accounting and business students have received Certified Management Accountant (CMA) scholarships through the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

The students include:

Scott Farrah, Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Eric Perez, Master of Science in Accounting
Lana Geissinger, Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Jean-Marie Gabou, Master of Science in Strategic Finance
Jamie Long Soldier, Master of Business Administration with Accounting concentration
Ellie Bliemeister, Bachelor of Science in Accounting
CaSandra Vann, Master of Business Administration
Robert West, Master of Business Administration with Finance concentration
Andrew Cook, Master of Science in Accounting

All of the student recipients will receive comprehensive package of benefits enabling them to study for and take the CMA exam at no cost. The CMA certification is considered the benchmark for management accountants, and certifies mastery of 12 core practice areas in the profession.

The student recipients will also receive IMA membership for up to three years while pursuing completion of the CMA exam; entrance fees to the CMA program; exam support package, including an assessment tool that can help assess the content covered on the CMA exam; registration fees for the first attempt at both parts of the CMA exam; and comprehensive online materials for both exam parts.

Congratulations to these outstanding students and their faculty

Placek selected for ‘Centris Up’ leadership program after completing B.S, M.S. degrees at Bellevue University

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bellevue University are helping Omaha native Becky Placek to combine her head for numbers and heart for people in a rewarding and fulfilling career and life path.

Placek, 32, whose childhood goal was to be a nurse, is a branch manager for Centris Federal Credit Union, serving members and helping other staff members be more successful. She also volunteers time and professional expertise serving on the Board of Directors of RESPECT, a nonprofit organization providing educational programming to prevent bullying and other abusive behaviors.

Placek’s story may resonate with many Bellevue University students and alumni whose journeys to a degree began at some other college or university. After graduating from Gross Catholic High School in 2006, she completed a year of nursing school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then returned to Omaha and earned an associate’s degree from Metropolitan Community College, including general education core course prerequisites for a bachelor’s degree.

After another semester of healthcare courses at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Placek decided to join the workforce as a part-time Teller at Centris in 2009. A promotion to a Branch/Financial Services Representative followed in 2010, prompting her to complete a B.S. in Business degree at Bellevue University while continuing to work full-time, earning back-to-back “President’s Sales and Service Awards” as her Centris branch’s number 1 sales producer in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

After graduating, Placek took three MBA courses before switching to the University’s M.S. in Management (MSM) degree program in 2013. “I realized the MBA was not for me. It was a quantitative program, and I enjoyed the more qualitative, people-oriented courses,” she said. “My counselor suggested the MSM might be a better fit.”

Placek, who was promoted to a Lead Services Representative position at Centris in 2014, completed the MSM program in 2016, taking one or two courses per term. “I wanted to be able to give my full attention to my work and studies and not overwhelm myself,” she explained. “I love education, and I tell people that of all my education experiences since pre-school, I learned more that I have been able to use and apply, from my master’s degree. It helped prepare me to be a better leader when I came into the branch manager role.”

In 2016, when an Administrative Project Associate job offer came from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, a nationally recognized regional healthcare provider, Placek decided to give a healthcare career one more try. “I still liked wellness and healthcare, so I accepted the job to combine it with business, but it wasn’t what I anticipated,” she recalled, returning to the financial sector when her current, branch manager, position opened in 2018. “I enjoy being in the finance area. It enables me to help and educate people in financial matters, and it is an opportunity to help others be more successful in their careers.”

In 2018, shortly after rejoining Centris, Placek got involved with RESPECT on the recommendation of a former work colleague and mentor who had served on the nonprofit’s Board. After meeting the organization’s Founder & Executive Director, Patricia Newman, Ph.D., and learning more about its educational programming, which includes staging presentations and dramatizations on bullying and abuse-related topics for Iowa and Nebraska school children, she was invited to join RESPECT’s Board and serve on its Finance Committee. “I just wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives regarding bullying, trying to provide a better atmosphere that doesn’t allow any form of bullying, especially with social media being so prevalent these days,” she explained. “There’s a lot of cyber bullying, even with younger kids who really put each other down sometimes. It’s a cause I have a passion for.”

Placek continues to advocate education within her sphere of influence. “I have no regrets. I tell people that if they have the ability to do a master’s program, to do it. It takes a lot of time, drive, and discipline, while working full-time. But it was the best decision I could have ever made.”

Recently, Placek was one of 25 Centris employees selected by company leaders for a new 10-month management and leadership development program offered in partnership with Bellevue University’s Corporate Learning Solutions unit. Titled “Centris Up,” the program provides four hours of professional and skill development training each month, adding value for the employees, the company, and members. “I think it’s going to be a great program that will help us grow more in our roles,” Placek said.

Konikoff Defeats Cancer, Takes on Doctorate Program

By Liz Perry, Alumni Guest Blogger

Bellevue University instructor Beth Konikoff has a wide range of experience to share with her classes, including high-level marketing positions, more than a decade in higher education and defeating cancer three times. Despite all this, she’s not slowing down, she’s still learning and growing, pursuing the Bellevue University 100% online Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA).

Multi-Industry Experience
Konikoff worked in marketing for many years, holding director positions at Borders Books and Music, Michigan Jewish Institute and Advisicon. She currently serves as Volunteer Coordinator and is responsible for educational programming at UCHealth Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Day to day, Konikoff is also a full-time online faculty member and program specialist in the Bellevue University College of Continuing and Professional Education. She has been with the university since 2009.

Acquiring Knowledge She Can Apply
A doctorate has been a goal of Konikoff’s for many years. “I want to bring my marketing and business expertise to the healthcare environment,” she said.

DBA program director Dr. Julia Cronin-Gilmore said Konikoff is just the kind of student the DBA serves: “individuals who want to lead their organizations, and aspire to influence persons, organizations and communities through positive and ethical leadership informed by scholarly and applied knowledge. The program values integrity, scholarship, inclusion, rigor, and awareness.”

Konikoff said she chose the DBA because she could complete the degree in three years, with no on-campus requirement. She said she was also attracted to the broadness of the degree, knowing that it could apply to a number of areas: business administration, marketing, finance, and more.

“I like to explain it as 3.2.1, which is three years from start to finish; two-week breaks between courses; one doctoral project focused on solving an organizational or societal problem,” Dr. Cronin-Gilmore said. “Our mission is to develop and inspire ethical business leaders who recognize, respond, and resolve business and societal challenges for a better future.”

Though Konikoff is just a couple months into her program, she already sees that the program is what she expected and that she’s able to apply what she’s learning to her career.

“I am enjoying the student and professor interaction. The feedback from all the professors so far has been detailed and applicable,” she said. “There is a clear academic focus, as well, which is fun to be back into. I would recommend it to others because there are no surprises, which I have seen fellow doctoral candidates struggle with.”

Balancing Life, Work and School

Konikoff says balance is key to success. “It requires planning, managing around projects (both academic and home-based) and ensuring everything has enough time to thrive.” She also says taking some downtime is important.

She’s not new to overcoming big obstacles though. As a three-time cancer survivor, she’s gained a lot of resilience.

“The lesson here is to get back up after each incident,” she said. “I think of my interaction with the disease as chapters in a book (not my favorite chapters by the way!). But there is so much more to the story. So get through the (bad) chapter as quickly as you can so you can get back to the good stuff.”

Konikoff says she is grateful for the relationships and people around her. “It certainly takes a village (or in my case an entire country!), but keep going forward. Move the obstacles in your way and go where you want to go.”

She’s doing just that. Konikoff plans to complete her doctorate degree program in March of 2023.

Ronald Woerner to Present Three-Part Virtual Series on Cybersecurity

Bellevue University’s Ronald Woerner, Cybersecurity Instructor, will present a virtual series this month titled “Protect Yourself and Your Family in This Crazy Online World.” The program is co-sponsored by the Better Business Bureau and AARP Nebraska .

The three-part virtual series will cover basic cybersecurity topics and will include self-help resources to help anyone who becomes a victim of online fraud, identity theft, a cyberattack or COVID-19 scams.

All sessions are free but registration is required. After registering, attendees will receive a link via email to join the online session. Each session will include a 30-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes for Q&A.

Session One: Tuesday, May 12, 10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. or 6:30-7:15 p.m.

Safe Online Communications:  With COVID-19, online is the main way we talk to each other. Learn how to  do it safely using Zoom, Facebook, Amazon, Google or Skype. You will also learn about social media best practices to protect your personal information and privacy.

Session Two: Thursday, May 14, 10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. or 6:30-7:15 p.m.

Cyber Safety 101:  Learn basic cybersecurity tips for protecting your computers, accounts and personal information. Topics include passwords and authentication, proactive defense against unwanted software, and how to keep your devices current with security updates.

Session Three: Tuesday, May 19, 10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. or 6:30-7:15 p.m.

Internet Scams & Fraud:  Learn how to recognize false customer service calls, scam/phishing emails and Internet pop-ups. You will also hear how you can confirm if an offer is valid and what to do if you’re a victim.

To register for a session or for more information on sessions, visit

Dr. Linenberger Co-Authors, Publishes Leadership Education Article

Dr. Stephen Linenberger, Professor in the College of Business, recently co-authored an article on leadership education within medicine which has been published in a special issue of the academic journal New Directions for Student Leadership that looks at how academic disciplines approach leadership development.

John Schmidt, M.D., a neonatologist who teaches at Creighton University School of Medicine, co-authored and collaborated on the article, “Medicine: A Prescription for Medical Student Leadership Education,” with Dr. Linenberger.

Together, Drs. Schmidt and Linenberger presented an overview of the current state of leadership education with medical school. They also proposed a curriculum for medical schools that goes beyond managerial and professional interests to develop physician-leaders and focus leadership knowledge on patient outcomes.

“This article specifically highlights the leadership curriculum that they have developed for the Creighton University School of Medicine,” said Dr. Rebecca Murdock, Dean of the College of Business. “This is an exceptional accomplishment.”

To read the recently published article, click here.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Julia Cronin-Gilmore

Meet Dr. Julia Cronin-Gilmore, Professor in the College of Business and Director, Doctorate of Business Administration Program.

What was it like transitioning face-to-face classes to online?

Most of our courses are offered online and the face-to-face classes contain the components of an online course. As such, it was simply turning them on and adjusting the syllabus for discussion questions and assignments. Across the nation, we have seen secondary educational institutions scramble to transition traditional face-to-face classes to online in a short amount of time.

I feel very fortunate to teach at an institution who has been progressively offering online education since 1996. At Bellevue University, we have been driving online education into the future for some time, have learned much along the way, and are increasingly advancing education as a result. An excellent example are degrees offered fully online, hybrid, or as combination mixing online and face-to-face interaction. Our online courses are asynchronous learning and the use of Zoom and other technology sources allow professors and students to connect synchronously (in real time), as well.

How long have you been teaching online?

I have been teaching online for 13 years and have seen many advancements in that time. In the beginning, I remember creating course content, loading it online and later teaching the class. Today, we have an entire department of instructional designers who can enhance learning by creating a variety of interactive activities resulting in highly sophisticated courses. It is really pretty fun to think of something that will enhance student learning and watch as they create an outstanding activity. A recent example is having students view and listen to an online focus group, which the designers created and embedded into the course. After, students create codes and themes from the transcript. The exercise allows students to practice and hone valuable skills enhancing the learning experience.

What are some changes you initiated because of the COVID-19 situation?

We still have students who are under a great deal of stress due to the current COVID-19 crisis. Much like my face-to-face courses, my online students know the class is a safe place. There is much care in the relationship between a professor and student and it transcends into how they treat each other, as well. When there is chaos in the environment, students need support, so I have added new elements to the class beyond our traditional coursework.  Along with my open online office, I have integrated resources to the course such as mediation exercises to help them stay grounded. I shared free conferences where students can expand their knowledge base. I provided information on free training including certifications. I shared local and national resources for job listings for those who are concerned about their present employment situation. In addition, I continue to check in with them to see how they are doing and offer supportive positive feedback when grading. Caring about them as a person is important because the support helps them become successful learners.

What are some current challenges as an online professor and what have you learned to overcome them?

Because most professors are working from home, it is important to stick to a schedule and decide when it is time to work and when to stop and have free time. I find it helpful to select a nice spot to work in that is comfortable. I look forward to waking up each morning as I make my favorite coffee, head to the living room, open the window (only slightly on cold days), listen to the birds chirping and glance up to see them on the feeder. It is a very peaceful and beautiful way to start the day.

In my courses, I like to start my day, too, by checking in with students, posting intriguing questions, asking how they are and more. During this time of crisis, I have offered my students a diversion at times, such as posting an article about famous places to visit and asking them to select from the list or suggest something new. These approaches, along with other activities, offer a bit of a break. If students are in your course, it may be one of the only ways they are connecting with the outside world, so engaging them in a different way, even for a brief time, could make a difference.

Path to Healthcare Leader, Business Owner Began with Mid-Career Degree

By Liz Perry, Alumni Guest Blogger

In a world where medical supplies are now more crucial than ever, Bellevue University alumnus Burdette Brown is right in the thick of it as director of supply chain operations at Northfield Hospital and Clinics in Minnesota, near the Minneapolis area.

None of us were prepared for the way the world is going, but Brown’s education, experience and innovation have brought him to a place where he’s as prepared as possible.

“Our hospital has outstanding leadership and we have been in front of this,” he said. “We continue to prepare and get ready to meet this challenge. As the leader of logistics in our incident command structure, we have a very good tracking system in place, and have our supplies locked down.”

“Our process for delivery is very solid and can withstand the pressures ahead of us. Although we do not know how long this will last, we feel we are set to sustain longer because of our processes”

How did they get to such a solid place? It all began with learning, applying that knowledge and evolving along the way.

Mastering the Skills

Brown had experience as director of supply chain in a few smaller hospitals where a four-year degree was desired, but not required. He had already learned a lot through his peers, as well as trial and error, but wanted to push his knowledge and career potential to the next level.

It was somewhat daunting returning to school in his late 40s, but Brown did it. After completing his associate’s degree at a community college, he found the online Supply Chain, Transportation and Logistics Management program.

“I looked at every opportunity I could find,” he said. “I wanted to have a degree, wanted to be able to afford the school and I wanted it to work with my schedule.  BU gave me an excellent degree, it was very affordable, and although it took some getting into a new routine, it worked perfectly with my schedule!”

Improving Healthcare Logistics

Brown credits his program instructor, Professor Patrick Ruddy, for helping him build on the knowledge he’d already acquired on the job.

“He pushed me to broaden my mind, to think more globally and to get out of my comfort zone on how I saw supply chain and logistics,” he said. “With his help, I now look at more than just how supply chain and logistics impact my hospital. I now look at how it starts with the raw material, and ends up in the hands of doctors and nurses to make the difference in what they do they do.  Because of this, my hospital is better prepared for COVID-19.”

In looking past his own regional distribution chain, Brown saw the impact of a shortage of sterile gowns. He knew this could cause problems far beyond gowns, and that taught him how to prepare his hospital for the “what ifs.”

Creating New Solutions
Not long after completing his degree, Brown was working at Central Iowa Healthcare, which filed bankruptcy and many people lost their jobs.

”I decided when I left, I needed to find a way to reduce costs in the supply chain in a new way,” he said.

Working with a developer, and implementing RFID and intelligent automation, he sought to create an automated supply system at Northfield that built upon two-bin systems he’d already created in three hospitals. Phil My Bin, LLC was the result.

“Phil can reduce up to 48% of distribution costs by eliminating staff travel and computer time,” Brown said. “Instead of my staff walking around to each area of the hospital to see what needs to be replenished, Phil is able to do this through our technology.”

The cloud-based system also gathers the empty bins (electronically) and creates a report to help staff navigate the storeroom without any backtracking. This helps get needed supplies to departments more efficiently.

The system has also had an impressive, unintended benefit — in the face of COVID-19, supplies can be delivered with no contact.

“We are able to keep our staff 100% out of these areas,” Brown said. “We allow Phil to let us know what is in need of replenishment, we pull the product and deliver to the front door of each area. For now, distancing is huge and we are able to do so.”

Passing On the Knowledge

Word spread about the impact Phil could have on healthcare, and Brown was happy to share his findings. He has since spoken at several conferences around the country for hospital leaders.

“It has given me an opportunity to share my story about Phil, but more importantly, the journey I have been on since graduating from BU,” he said. “My life has changed more than I could have ever anticipated because of what professor Ruddy and BU have done for me.”

In addition to during his speaking engagements, Brown highly recommends BU to anyone looking to make a life change.

“The university treats every student like they are the most important student,” Brown said. “Also, when times were tough and some classes were difficult, I could pick up the phone or send an email to my instructor, and would receive the support I needed to succeed.  College is meant to stretch your knowledge and with BU, mission accomplished!”

Expecto, Scripturam! Three Ways the Writing Center Can Serve as a Source of Magic for Students

Anyone who wants to write better (and we all do!) should schedule an appointment with the Bellevue University Writing Center because that’s where the magic happens.

We’re not talking about fictional wizardry, but rather the ways the experienced Writing Center consultants can conjure up your inner writing confidence and know-how. Writing Center consultants can assist with the following:

• Issues with organization. Writing Center consultants can help you sort out the components of your assignment and order them for maximum effectiveness. When your paper has its main idea/thesis, logic, and evidence support in the right places, it will flow naturally and express your ideas in an effective way.

• Source attribution. Crediting, or citing a source, is simply a way of using an expert’s ideas as proof, or evidence, of a new idea that you are trying to communicate. The guidance that Writing Center consultants provide on when and whether to cite a source in a paper works like a charm for those who don’t even realize they may need adjustments in this area.

• Grammar and writing mechanics. Sentence structure, proper punctuation, verb agreement, APA Style…we know it can all feel like a confusing combination sometimes. Writing Center consultants understand that grammar and mechanics are like the right ingredients within a recipe. The consultants can help ensure that the right ingredients are being used so your recipe, or your paper, achieves its desired effect.

If you’re not sure how you can benefit from the Bellevue University Writing Center, submit a paper for review.

From there, Bellevue University Writing Center consultants will review your work and send you back written feedback. Because our Consultants want to make you a better writer, we don’t just highlight errors. Instead, we show you ways to improve your writing, give you tips on finding and correcting errors, and share strategies for revising content on your own.

Then, you’re free to adopt and incorporate the Writing Center feedback, check with your professor, or even leave your paper as is. There are no tricks – just feedback that’s approachable and helpful.

For more information on the Bellevue University Writing Center, watch this short video:

My View: “Curiosity About Data” Is Most Important Skill for Data Scientists

Meet Catie Williams, Program Director for Bellevue University’s new Bachelor of Science in Data Science program and Product Director for InEight.

Q. Tell me about your current role at InEight.
I currently oversee the Connected Analytics product stack and we provide data and analytics solutions to improve project profitability, identify and mitigate risk, and increase productivity.

Q. Just how big is “Big Data”?
I do think Big Data is a bit of a buzzword still – and typically used as a wrapper for the architecture and infrastructure required to process really large volumes of data quickly. Traditional hardware and software runs into issues with processing data to provide real time analytics – so Big Data is being used as a term to differentiate what is required from an infrastructure perspective. I don’t usually consider data large until it is well in the petabyte range. Datasets with millions of records is more the norm today vs being considered Big Data. Typically the types of industries generating this volume of data are retail, social media, medical – anything with logging, sensors, etc.

Q. What are some everyday examples of how businesses collect and use data? What kind of decisions do they make with it?
The data an organization generates and stores today has increased significantly in the last 10-20 years. Storage used to be very expensive, so an organization didn’t always have centralized systems or applications for each portion of their business. Now, you can find a tool for any business process and typically these tools provide insights out of the box, without manual intervention. With the addition of mobile devices, data can now be collected anywhere and can be aggregated to a centralized location to provide analytics and reporting.
A scenario might be when we use our debit/credit cards and get a phone call from the bank wanting to verify if the transaction is fraudulent. This is possible because there is a machine learning algorithm that has been learning our patterns and detects a potential anomaly that needs to be validated. The more data it consumes, the better it becomes at understanding your pattern.
Prior to this ability of being able to collect standard information and consolidate the information – most decisions have been driven off experience, intuition, and an individual’s level of confidence. Now, experience can be validated by data – for example, determining how much product should be purchased, or what products complement each other. These decisions no longer have to be made via manual observation or calculations, but instead can be built into programs.

Q. What are the most important skills for data scientists?
Whenever I am asked this question, I immediately answer ‘curiosity about data.’ Being passionate about data, finding answers, and not taking something at face value is going to propel you against your peers. The data science space is different than traditional reporting and analytics because it is met with an expectation that a data scientist will uncover something unknown – a golden nugget in the data that no one ever realized was there and traditional reports wouldn’t have detected. There is a high level of ambiguity in this field, because the goal is to discover hidden insights, correlations, and patterns in the data that a person didn’t think to ask for.
Reports are typically defined by a person – they request they want to see “x” and “y” on a report. But a data scientist doesn’t start with a pre-defined list of requirements, they typically just start with the data. The field requires tenacity, problem solving, and grit to dig into the details and realize that most projects are never really finished, but constantly evolving as we uncover more information.

Q. What don’t people realize about the field of data science?
I think most expect there to be a lot of math required, which there is, but there is also a lot of programming because before you can get going too far, you will realize the data is extremely messy and requires a lot of massaging to get it in a workable state. If you think about the number of systems generating data, then trying to blend those together – when they each have different data standards – it quickly becomes the place where most time is spent. Doing the analysis manually or “by hand” is not feasible either.

Q. What advice do you have for students who want to go into the field of data sciences today?
Data Science is a broad field, with multiple roles that tend to get all lumped together under the sole umbrella of data science. My advice would be to not feel overwhelmed by the possibilities and focus instead on what you feel most passionate about. Whether that is as an analyst or on the development side, the data engineering or data wrangling, to the storytelling. Most organizations have a myriad of individuals who are all fulfilling these roles – each focusing on a different specialty. While the program will expose you to most roles, it is possible to specialize and really hone in on a specific piece. For example, my passion is around data visualization and helping someone find an answer very quickly, so I am very interested in new developments in this space and the psychology of data viz – this is where I tend to focus my time because it interests me the most.

Q. What does a day in the life of a data scientist look like?
A data scientist can typically expect to be part of a project team, either with other data scientists or with a business area (Finance, HR, Operations, etc.), and is likely given projects they work on following a certain methodology, scrum/agile are the most popular right now, but there are methodologies specific to data science as well.
On a day to day basis, one could expect to be providing a daily status on progress, interacting with technical resources to help with data access, deploying code, or just be heads-down on development for that project. A good portion of time on a data science project is usually spent figuring out where the data is going to come from, how to easily get to it, should it be automated, is it repeatable and then what steps need to be taken to blend it with other data. Data cleaning/preparation is estimated to take about 80% of a data scientist’s time – because there are so many applications that all have data in different formats. A lot of time must be spent identifying the rules to follow, data that needs cleaning, etc.
A data scientist also will likely have a stakeholder group or executive committee that they keep regularly in the loop on their progress for specific projects – it should be expected to have to present findings and a visual analysis on a regular basis to these groups.

Q. How flexible is a data science degree? Are you limited to a specific role once you gradate?
Having a data science degree will position you in the job market as a person that understands analysis, data structure, programming, which allows for unlimited job opportunities. Having the ability to manage and analyze data is a skill most organizations think is hard to teach – with a strong portfolio of data science projects after completing the program, it will be evident you as a candidate have this ability.

Q. How big of a role does machine learning and AI play in data science for businesses today? Will it be a bigger deal in the future?
Both machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) are important in data science because they remove some of the manual work required and employers are always looking for opportunities to automate and increase efficiencies. I think we will continue to see new use cases for both in ways we can’t even consider now. Self-driving cars seemed impossible several years ago, but they are a near reality. Other applications, like being able to go to the store without having to physically checkout or having groceries and household goods automatically ordered and shipped are also the type of things hard to imagine happening, but in the short term are very possible.

Click here for more information on Bellevue University’s new Bachelor of Science in Data Science program.