In 2016, Capella University and global analytics leader SAS teamed up to offer the first-ever Capella Women in Analytics Scholarships to encourage women to join the growing field of big data and analytics sciences.
The awards provide full scholarships to two women enrolled in Capella’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology – Data Analytics program and two women with full scholarships for the Master of Science in Analytics program. SAS will also provide mentoring and networking opportunities for the scholarship winners, including attendance at the Analytics Experience 2017 in Washington D.C. and a visit to the SAS corporate headquarters in Cary, NC, where they will network with other analytics professionals, including the SAS Women’s Initiatives Network (WIN). WIN is a group of more than 600 female SAS employees who foster female leadership and professional excellence encourage women to pursue STEM-related careers.
Capella is proud to announce the Women in Analytics Scholarship winners for 2017.
Bachelor of Science Winners
LaWanda Edwards may not be an obvious candidate for a bachelor’s degree, given that she already holds a bachelor’s and three graduate degrees. She started her career as a school counselor, and then became a counselor educator—a role in which the collection and analysis of data was important. Through this experience, she realized that what she really wanted to do was return to her early love: math.
Edwards had considerable interest in the field of data analytics, but was concerned that she lacked a strong enough IT background. So instead of seeking out a master’s, she decided to start with the foundational bachelor’s instead.
While noting the significant career-deepening potential of earning this scholarship, Edwards also sees a personal advantage. “I think the scholarship will help me gain confidence in working with data and new technologies,” she says. Her goal is to expand data collection and analysis in her school to drive better results in everything from student test scores to candidate recruitment to the impact of trauma on students.
As a technology sales professional with a strong background in IT, Natalie McCants is pursuing a data analytics degree to expand her career opportunities in the analytics field. She plans to apply data analytics to create business roadmaps that will drive better outcomes for her clients.
“This scholarship makes the decision to pursue this degree much easier, since the financial obstacles are eliminated,” she says. Already active in many associations and boards that promote the role of women in IT, she would like to expand her role as a speaker, advisor, and industry expert.
Master of Science Winners
A U.S. Navy veteran, Danna Keller entered the health care field in 2005 at a teaching hospital. Her role was in technology, and she transferred those skills to health care IT. Keller uses data analysis in her work at the VA to learn how clinical processes affect hospital funding by analyzing trends in patient populations, medical conditions, and treatments provided. She is involved in staff training, process improvement projects and implementation.
“The VA offers care and camaraderie that private hospitals can’t provide,” she says. “The VA’s mission and vision statement speaks to my purpose, which is to serve with commitment, integrity, and excellence.” Keller feels earning an advanced degree will position her to move into national data analytics for the VA, something she is passionate about. Through data analytics, Keller believes she can better serve her fellow veterans.
As a K-12 math educator/interventionist and school performance evaluator, Jahna Lindquist has long been a proponent of using data to better understand and improve school outcomes. But in recent years, school budget cuts have led to roles like hers being reduced.
“I’ve always taught high school students, particularly young women, about the possibilities a career in data and IT can provide for them, and how it can make them financially independent,” Lindquist says. “Now I’m taking my own advice.”
“I see the master’s in analytics as the next natural progression to further develop my skills and broaden my network,” she says. She hopes to bring her newly gained knowledge and skills into the education system, and potentially, to organizations beyond education.
Capella congratulates these scholarship recipients on their outstanding achievements and commitment to growing the field of analytics.
Learn more about Capella University’s analytics degrees.