Courtney Hodge

June 10, 2022
Courtney Hodge

Major: Data Science and Secondary Spanish with a History minor
Year: Class of 2024
Hometown: Newport News, Virginia

How did you decide on Baylor?

My mom was born and raised in Waco and watched the city grow into what it is today. She had the most influence in my decision to come to Baylor. Every time we'd visit, I could always see the campus from the other side of town, but didn’t visit in person until I received my acceptance letter. Baylor is a great school with a great community, and I look forward to what the future holds for me here.

Which student organizations or extracurricular activities are you involved in at Baylor and ECS?

I am a proud member of Baylor's Golden Wave Band and I serve as a clarinet squad leader for the upcoming season. I love the band, my clarinet family, and being a part of something bigger than myself. I can't wait to experience another successful year with them. I am also in Baylor's Women in Computer Science organization (WiCS) and serve as the recumbent membership chair. Working with fellow ECS young women to rebuild this club from the ground up has been a memorable experience and we are excited for this club's future at Baylor. Lastly, I am co-president of Baylor's Chapter of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

What has been your favorite ECS class and why?

So far, my favorite ECS class was Intro to CSI II with Professor Aars. This class helped me to think differently when it came to projects, practicums, and labs in a more logical, problem-solving way. Even though the class is very daunting, Professor Aars was eager to answer our questions and make sure we understood the assignments. His knowledge, along with the textbook material, made the class much more manageable, so passing the class was within reach. And as a Data Science major, I've found that I apply that problem-solving thought process to many projects.

Thus far, which professor or staff member has meant the most to you and why?

I want to give a shout out to all the hard-working Faculty and Staff in the ECS. Thank you for being great mentors for your students each semester and for guiding us towards our academic goals. Your dedication to your students is admired and appreciated, and we are thankful for everything you've done and continue to do for us.

What internships or jobs have you held?

My first internship opportunity was as a Data Science Fellow with Baylor’s Modernizing Water and Wastewater Treatment (MoWater) Program. This program gives undergraduates the opportunity to analyze real-world problems in the water and wastewater treatment industries. It provides detailed solutions regarding how stakeholders should apply the research findings in their businesses for future projects. This internship gave me the confidence to apply what I’ve learned from the classroom to the real world as an undergrad student.

Have you been involved in any research while in ECS?

Baylor’s MoWater Program has been my first official undergrad research opportunity. After this program, I feel confident that I'll pursue more research opportunities my junior and senior years.

What are your career goals?

I would like to incorporate my studies of the Spanish Language into my work as a future Data Scientist by traveling the world and working across the language barrier to express critical ideas to my international coworkers, establishing a greater level of respect for those who I work with. A dream would be to travel the world as a Data Scientist for entities like National Geographic or the Smithsonian. I would love to analyze data and provide valuable insight while experiencing different cultures around the world.

What are your plans after graduation?

I hope to earn a PhD in Data Science as well as get my Master’s in Spanish and possibly a degree in History. I also will be conducting research and completing internships with Data Science along the way. There is a lot of planning and hard work involved, but I know this goal is within reach.

Any advice for prospective students?

My advice for incoming freshmen is to be unafraid to get involved around campus. It’s very normal for freshman year to be challenge, since you're leaving home for the first time to enter a campus full of strangers, but it is easier to meet people and savor your college experience when you have outlets. So go to athletic games, join clubs, be on your dorm’s council. Do as much as possible to enjoy your time at Baylor because time will pass quickly.

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