MDS Spotlight: Meet Kaitlyn Hobbs, MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

It was during her undergraduate studies where Kaitlyn Hobbs developed a true appreciation for data science. While completing her biochemistry degree, Hobbs often found herself favouring dry labs involving statistical analysis and introductory programming. After completing her thesis in comparing biome classification software efficacy, Hobbs thought it only natural to follow her interests and pursue formal data science learning.

Kaitlyn Hobbs
Kaitlyn Hobbs

“I wanted to elevate my foundational skills as I believe, in pursuit of approaching objective truths, data science is an effective tool that leads to a measurably impactful career in an array of disciplines,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs began investigating data science programs and it was the MDS Okanagan program that immediately caught her attention.

“The curriculum at MDS Okanagan was very appealing to me, with the inclusion of optimization and advanced statistical courses,” Hobbs explained. “It was the best fit with my academic direction.”

Likewise, class size and connectivity to supervisors was important to Hobbs when searching for a program, something she found in surplus at the UBCO campus.

“UBC MDS Okanagan offers intimate class sizes and specialized professors that motivate participation, networking, and rapid skill development.”

Hobbs was also looking to combine accelerated learning with a balanced lifestyle.

“Coming from Mississauga, Ontario, I was looking for a calming environment to offset the intensity of schoolwork,” said Hobbs. “Kelowna offers a great balance. Outside of the program, I was able to teach adult drop-in contemporary dance and yoga. I also enjoyed the occasional weekend snowboarding at Big White, going for hikes around the area, and socializing with classmates.”

Once engrossed in the 10-month, full time program, Hobbs knew she made the right choice.

“Both the high-level of collaboration with classmates and eagerness of professors to provide help after hours has been a huge impetus in skill development and networking,” said Hobbs. “The capstone project is also a major highlight of the program as it helped build confidence in applying the broad range of skills taught.”

Reflecting on her time in the program, Hobbs revealed how her instructors and classmates helped to develop skills needed to enter the workforce. 

“As the program progressed, many of the assignments throughout were designed from an industry standpoint that employed a beginning-to-end process from data wrangling to drawing conclusions from models, with open-ended solutions,” explained Hobbs. “Having the opportunity to discuss multiple strategies as a class polished future approaches to problem solving.”

As Hobbs prepares to enter the global health sector, where she would like to work on improving data collection and participate in disease modeling in effort to provide support and direction for intervention methods, she highly recommends the MDS-O program to anyone who asks.

“There are many applications of data science and the program at MDS Okanagan will reveal a great deal of avenues to explore.”

Kaitlyn’s Top 3 Tips on Succeeding in the MDS-O Program:

  1. Students will get out of MDS what they put into it. The program goes by extremely quickly so abiding by a calendar and mindfully listening during class as well as during completion of assignments will bear the most fruit in the future.
  2. Taking a calculus or linear algebra review course isn’t a bad idea if it’s been a while since completing those courses.
  3. When weeks become intense, don’t forget your reasons for pursuing the degree and let that intention be the driving force behind your perseverance.

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