Michael Grantham began his role as Data Scientist Intern at the Nebraska Statewide Workforce & Educational Reporting System (NSWERS) in June 2023.
As Data Scientist Intern, Grantham works closely with the Assistant Director of Research and Evaluation and NSWERS’ partner organizations to plan, organize, and execute research and evaluation functions. This includes both conducting and providing oversight for the technical quality of data analysis.
Grantham holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He is currently in the statistics doctoral program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln studying regularization techniques applied to changepoint analysis.
What author, researcher, or scientist is most influential to you in your work at NSWERS?
It’s hard to pick just one, but most relevant to my work at NSWERS is probably R.A. Fisher.
What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?
The desire to be able to answer difficult questions.
If I wasn’t in my field of work, I would probably be:
A teacher, tutor, or author.
What gets you up in the morning?
The desire to improve myself and be fully pleasing to God.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your position?
When people think about a data scientist, they probably imagine brightly-lit rooms and the bright glare of computer monitors reflected on the lenses of thick-rimmed glasses, groups huddled around graphs and charts strewn across a table or display, and the low buzz of high intellect explicating the mysteries of the universe over the comforting vapors of coffee. Perhaps they imagine meetings in which a smartly dressed team coordinate their efforts; an exciting crossfire of information and directions punctuated with inside jokes and wide smiles of filial affection as brightly-colored charts and thoughtfully-constructed graphics flit across their common screen. They might picture sparkly desks and whiteboards with impenetrable equations and books with recondite titles in the corner. Doubtless, many envisage a witty collection of people who were never very good at sports carefully articulating their insights, with the concomitant tapping at computer keyboards as they effortlessly summon code to serve their purposes. But actually, I’m very good at sports.
What hobby did you pick up or master during the pandemic?
Statistics…that’s when I got my master’s degree.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An NBA star.
What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?
Lincoln, Nebraska has the longest main street in the world (O Street).
Coffee or tea? Anything in it?
Decaf coffee with almond milk and stevia. No, I’m not joking (but I wish I was).