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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute renewed for another five years

Rex said in the first five years the institute was in “growth mode,” but looking at the next five years, he said they’re prepared to expand their reach.

The Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute has been renewed for another five years. Northwestern Mutual, UW-Milwaukee and Marquette are working together to transform Milwaukee into a hub for data science innovation.

Scott Rex, instructor of marketing at Marquette and co-director of NMDSI, said data science is becoming more prevalent within the job market. He said NMDSI gives college students at both Marquette and UWM a way to work with faculty members on their research, get paid and provide experience.

Rex said in the first five years the institute was in “growth mode,” but looking at the next five years, he said they’re prepared to expand their reach.

“If you look at the top 10 job titles that companies are trying to hire into, five of those are data science titles,” Rex said. 

Rex said not only is data science important for those who are planning on going into the field, but it’s also important for students of all disciplines.

“If I was a student, and I wanted a job, I would be integrating a little data science into the work that I’m doing. Regardless of what your major is, a couple data science courses could help you be more valuable in the workforce,” Rex said.

Jonathan Stark, executive director of NMDSI, said the organization also allows faculty to submit a request for a course on data science that they think would benefit their students.

“We want every opportunity for students to engage directly with NMDSI … we are creating student chairs for our subcommittees, so we actually have the student’s voice at the table,” Stark said.

Stark said the students will help decide if the courses submitted by faculty are worth implementing at their university.

Even after graduation, Stark hopes that having opportunities for students to engage in data science throughout college will keep them working in Milwaukee.

“It’s a way for us to give back to the community to always have talented students staying in the region, forgetting what’s going on in California or New York for data and tech careers. There’s a lot going on here in Milwaukee,” Stark said.

Rex said over the course of five years, NMDSI raised about $40 million for the organization to do research. Last spring, they awarded seven Marquette faculty members $50,000 each to conduct their own research.

“The grant projects are either a product or a service that can be commercialized and sold to someone that could really help people,” Rex said.

Rex said NMDSI will be awarding these “mini-grants” annually.

The grants were given to projects ranging from AI in healthcare, to computing ways to diagnose cancer. Rex said these projects can directly help the surrounding communities if successful. 

“NMDSI would not be who we are without engagement of faculty and students…we look forward to making more funding distributions to bring more talented students and support the students who are already here,” Stark said.

Rex said the idea of “cross-pollination” is the key to the institute’s success. He said combining a private, public and corporate organizations has allowed a wider flow of ideas.

“If you bring different people to the table with different background and different experiences, you’ll have a better chance of coming up with better solutions to problems,” Rex said.

Rex said that in this next phase of the institute he hopes to form a data science club in order to unite students from all across campus. He also said he wants to have job fairs and guest speakers for student who are interested.

On Marquette’s campus, Rex hopes NMDSI can help put Marquette on the map as a destination for data science.

This story was written by Sophia Tiedge. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Sophia Tiedge, Executive News Editor
Sophia is a sophomore from Arlington Heights, IL studying journalism. This year she will serving as the Executive News Editor after spending last year as a news reporter. In her free time, Sophia enjoys reading, working out and going to new places with her friends. This year Sophia is looking forward to collaborating with others and learning more about what happens on campus.

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