Alumni panel discussing data science in education
NC STEM education leader expands to prepare students for data-driven economy
March 14, 2019 (Morganton, NC) — The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), the nation’s first residential public high school dedicated to the intensive study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and leader in STEM education for four decades, is poised to innovate the educational landscape again with the addition of a new campus featuring a data-science influenced program. In addition to weaving data science into areas of the general curriculum, students at the new Morganton campus, slated to open in 2021, will have the opportunity for applied learning experiences working with data through partnerships with Western North Carolina institutions and industries.“The demand for data-savvy professionals has never been greater, yet we lack a pipeline of young people who understand the art of using big data to make the best decisions,” said Brooks Raiford, President & CEO of NC Tech Association. “NCSSM’s new campus in Morganton puts North Carolina at the forefront of educating the next generation of local, state, and global leaders who are data-literate, no matter their field. This will help fill the pipeline with scientists, engineers, innovators, and entrepreneurs that will bring a competitive advantage to North Carolina.” The announcement of the integration of data science into the new program has coincided with the latest installment in an ongoing series of events hosted around the state to engage the public and potential partners in conversation about the concept of data science and the way data is driving business, finance, renewable energy, technology and the future of education. NCSSM graduates have been among the experts, business leaders and entrepreneurs enlisted for panel discussions, and the public response to the series has shown a high level of public interest in the plans for NCSSM-Morganton. Jud Bowman, an NCSSM alumnus with three successful startup ventures under his belt, emphasized the pivotal role of his NCSSM experience in his recent keynote address. “I’ve now had the chance and been lucky enough to start three companies here, and it all started on Science and Math’s campus 21 years ago,” Bowman stated. “Science and Math made us believe anything was possible.” The most recent event, which reached capacity so quickly it necessitated a venue change, took place at the RTP headquarters on March 7, and area tech entrepreneurs discussed the future of education in data science. Akash Ganapathi, founder and CEO of Trill A.I., recognized the significance of focusing the program of NCSSM’s new campus on data science and emphasized this golden opportunity for students and the state as a whole to lead the charge in developing the data science program. “Data science is becoming commoditized, it’s almost the new IT,” Ganapathi stated. “There’s a negative unemployment rate for data science.” As NCSSM-Morganton officially breaks ground in June, the conversation around the data science program development continues. The next panel discussion in the series takes place in Hickory at Lenoir-Rhyne University on April 24 and will focus on the intersections of data science and health sciences. For more information about the development of NCSSM-Morganton, including a timeline to the campus launch and opportunities to be engaged, visit https://www.ncssm.edu/morgantoncampus.