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Ashley Peterson

Ashley Peterson

Advanced Analytics Consultant

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"When I graduated I was most nervous about moving to a new place and starting over. Purdue had become my second home. I went to graduate school at North Carolina State after graduating undergrad and had no family or friends in the area, and I had a combination of nerves and excitement starting something new. I’m glad I made the choice to move somewhere new and push myself outside of my comfort zone. I would encourage students who will be graduating to continue to push and challenge themselves just like Purdue did."


What was your major/minor at Purdue and when did you graduate?

I majored in Mathematics and Applied Statistics with a Psychology minor and graduated in 2017.


What was your most compelling class and why?

Intro to Big Data Analysis (STAT 290) with Dr. Ward. This class was my first introduction to Data Science and the field of Analytics. We learned how to do statistical programming in R and how to provide insight out of data. I knew that this is what I wanted to continue to do with my degree and career after taking this class. I remember one project of looking at airline data and answering questions like which airport is the busiest and what flight route gets delayed the most and being excited to provide those insights. From there, I continued to take more statistics classes and eventually went to North Carolina State for a Masters in Analytics.


What are you currently working on?

As a consultant, I work on a variety of projects from answering questions with data science and analytics to some projects with more data visualization and data engineering. The type of work depends on the question you are trying to answer with the data. I am always using new tools as the technology field continues to change. I enjoy the variety to be constantly learning and applying new methods to answer questions with data.


Did you pursue internships/co-ops, research experiences, volunteer, or join student organizations while you attended Purdue?

Yes, I participated in research, an internship, and several student organizations. Without these activities to augment my coursework I wouldn’t be as well rounded. My research led to me co-authoring a paper that was published in an undergraduate journal which was a great talking point in interviews and showed that I could apply what I learned in the classroom to real world problems. Women in Science Programs and Boiler Gold Rush shaped me as a leader. I learned the most about working with others, having compassion, and how to lead a team from being involved in these organizations throughout my time at Purdue.


Are there any special accomplishments you've achieved after college that you might not have been able to do without your college experiences?

Purdue taught me to be a continual learner and always step up to a new challenge. Having this attitude when approaching challenges has helped me in graduate school and in my current job. If I am asked to solve a problem with a toolset I haven’t used before, I look at the challenge as an opportunity to gain new skills rather than think I can’t do it because I haven’t used the tool.


What advice would you give to prospective or current Purdue students about how to make the best use of what Purdue offers?

Don’t be afraid to try something new and take advantage of all the opportunities available at Purdue. If you don’t take the chance to try you are losing out on the opportunity to learn something new. Some of the best experiences I had at Purdue were things that I wasn’t sure I would be successful at or was just nervous to try. Being involved outside of the classroom was just an impactful as my coursework and made me feel connected at Purdue.

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