Reflections On The First Full-time Data Analytics Cohort

Aug 24, 2020
Mary van Valkenburg

Every cohort at NSS is unique, but there’s always something special about the first cohort of a new program. Full-time Data Analytics Cohort 1 was not the first class through our data analytics bootcamp, but they were the first cohort through the full-time version. Transferring curriculum from a part-time to full-time program is not as simple as changing the schedule, but requires rethinking how the content is delivered and feels very much like a brand new program. Additionally, this cohort only spent their first day in a physical classroom for installs as we quickly moved NSS online in mid-March. In this post, our Analytics + Data Science Program Manager and Instructor reflects on her experience with Full-time Data Analytics Cohort 1.

I will be forever grateful to the first full-time data analytics cohort. Being able to immerse myself each day in something meaningful during the early days of the pandemic was a tremendous gift. Working with Mahesh Rao as a co-instructor – so passionate about learning, gracious, and calm – was an extra gift. But the greatest gift of all was a group of diverse students who learned to work together, to thrive together. Watching them accept, maybe even embrace one another’s personality quirks was inspiring and magical.

Whether the opening class each morning brought shenanigans,

DDA1 Class Pranks Instructors By All Changing Their Online Profile Picture To Same Classmate's Photo In Virtual Classroom

An opportunity to share a little about ourselves,

DDA1 Students Use Sentimental Photos From Their Childhood As A Virtual Background in Online Classroom

Or just a happy moment to be together,Full-time Data Analytics Cohort 1

We gained a brief reprieve from the craziness of the world outside our Zoom bubble.

Our tribute to the class – read by Mahesh and me at graduation – says it all:

We are M&M (Mahesh and Mary) and this is a love letter to DDA1.

We are grateful for every time that you brought everything you had to the (Zoom) classroom. Your adaptability and engagement were so impressive and helped pass the time during these first 100 homebound days of COVID-19. Seriously, the time has flown by.

You were fearless in a sea of new experiences, both expected and unexpected. Not only the first time in a bootcamp and with the new technologies, but also the first full time class and first (almost) fully remote class. Your amazing capstones are a testament to your tenacity and creativity.

You fully owned your learning. You didn’t satisfy yourselves with the easy way out, you dug deep and persevered even when the path forward was unclear. 

You understood – so quickly – that constructive feedback is a gift and readily gave and received it with positive intent.

You supported each other throughout the entire class and proved that you can still make close bonds while being miles apart. You didn’t just take your own learning seriously, you took everyone’s learning seriously.

During a time when society seems poised to finally acknowledge the value and dignity of every human being, you consistently modelled respect for individuals, tolerance for ideas, and an awareness of a shared path in a way that fuels our hope for the wider world.

I know every one of these students is going to find a place to make an impact, and I feel very fortunate to have spent a little time with them along the way.

Topics: Student Stories, Analytics + Data Science