Becoming a Data Professional​

D3M Tracks

This program offers two tracks toward becoming a Data Professional. One track is geared toward students coming primarily from a non-STEM background. After completing the program, these students will have become Data-Proficient Decision Makers. The other track is geared toward students coming primarily from a STEM background. After completing the program, these students will have become Policy-Savvy Data Experts. See below two hypothetical pathways.

Data Proficient Decision Maker

Reese enters the Friedman School as a new Ph.D. candidate to focus on issues of U.S. food policy on determinants of public health. They have a B.S. in Biology and in the two years since getting their degree worked for a non-profit focused on ending urban food deserts through urban agriculture. Reese was motivated to further their education because they witnessed interactions and impacts of urban planning and poverty alleviation programs on the health of affected communities. They are interested in the role of data visualization in communicating policy impacts.

Reese takes MCEs to boost data analytics (ISA-I, Formal Knowledge) and visualization skills (ISA-II, Practiced Techniques) during their first semester, and then rounds out the core MCEs with a communication-focused MCE (ISA-III, Practical Wisdom) and an MCE on modeling for decision support (ISA-IV, Thoughtful Practice). Their final 4 MCE selections focus on analytic techniques or advanced visualization skills (ISA-I and ISA-II).
Reese develops a Data-Focused Project that visualizes some of the exploratory data analysis performed early in their Ph.D. experience.
Resse shares their data-focused project with other D3M@Tufts students during the Fall Bi-weekly Colloquium. Reese receives feedback on how to make the outputs more generalizable to other data challenges.
Reese develops a D3M@Tufts fellowship proposal in consultation with primary advisor from application domain (Griffin), secondary advisor from data science theory domain (Cowen) and a member from our national partner organization (USDA). Reese uses skills developed by taking several MCEs to enhance their Ph.D. research (with one year supported as a D3M@Tufts Fellow) and a D3M@Tufts travel grant to present at an international conference.
After completion of their Ph.D., and now a Data Proficient Decision Maker,  Reese accepts a fellowship at a prominent policy think tank addressing vexing issues of public health.
Policy-Savvy Data Expert

Casey enters the M.S. in Environmental Engineering program with a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and experience in local government as a junior civil engineer. Casey is interested in how HDR can help the public sector better understand, design, and prioritize capital improvement projects under multiple challenges stemming from funding uncertainty from shifting tax base, demographic shifts, and urban growth, all under poorly understood infrastructure threats from potential climate change impacts. 

Casey begins by joining the Fall Colloquium on advice from their advisor (Lamontagne), and gains interest in the D3M@Tufts Certificate.
Casey adds two MCEs in the latter part of the first semester, both related to data modeling (ISA-I, Formal Knowledge) and begins discussing how to include the Interdisciplinary Immersion Program in their educational path. Casey completes 6 more MCEs, which notably includes increasing their knowledge of machine learning (ISA-II, Practiced Techniques), while pursuing a thesis project that better incorporates climate change impacts into an existing infrastructure investment prioritization model.
Casey’s Data-Focused Project is an exploratory analysis into weighting the climate-related aspects of their model, and they share their findings at the Annual Data Symposium.
Casey uses a travel award to present at an Open Source Government conference.
Casey completes M.S. thesis on time, and completes the Interdisciplinary Immersion Program as their final activity. Casey graduates with an MS in Environmental Engineering and a D3M@Tufts Certificate as a Policy Savvy Data Expert. After graduation, Casey starts working for the Planning Office of a State Transportation Department and takes on a leadership role in the interdisciplinary steering committee of the global Open Source Government movement.