CDS MS Student Becomes Masters Co-President of GSAS Student Government

We’re excited to announce that Karmen Hutchinson, CDS MS student, was recently appointed Masters Co-President of GSAS (NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science) student government. We caught up with Karmen to discuss her new role and some of her objectives as Co-President.

This interview was lightly edited for clarity.

Karmen Hutchinson, CDS MS Student & Masters Co-President of GSAS

How did you become Masters Co-President of GSAS student government? Congratulations by the way!

There was actually an email sent out about filling the position because the former co-president stepped down. I thought the application itself was quite interesting. They asked how you plan to advocate for master students. I thought if they’re expecting this much in the application process, the position has to be pretty interesting and cool. I believe there was a majority vote among the council members over the people who applied. It took about a week.

Can you talk about your goals and what you hope to accomplish as Masters Co-President?

My main goal is to bring masters students further into the loop, because I felt like there were a lot of things that I was missing coming into the program. I wasn’t at NYU for undergraduate and came from a completely different structure. So one thing that I really wanted to advocate for is some kind of orientation programming that will help master students get acclimated to the change in culture and in structure, just so that we could be more successful in the short amount of time that we are here. Unlike PhD students, we are here for such a short amount of time (maybe one year, two years, depending on the program). What I see as the first step in my position is to make sure that the graduate student counsel of GSAS has reach into each of the different programs. I want to make sure that we’re in contact with any other student organizations that have been formed in each program, and that their voices are heard. I also want to make sure information is passed more efficiently to masters students. I’m about a week and a half into my position. Right now I’m actually working on election materials for the upcoming election which I think is in March.

What do you hope for the future of the student government? Do you have an ideal long-term vision?

I’m actually graduating sometime this year so I hope to leave behind a template for orientation. I hope to guide some type of direction for whoever’s to follow me so they can continue with ensuring master students aren’t lost. I hope that master students, in the end, feel more comfortable that they can get involved and take advantage of all of these resources that they may or may not know currently exist.

I was also curious about your research. Tell us about some of the things you’ve learned at CDS and what your ambitions are research-wise for data science.

I come from an economics and physics background. And honestly, prior to applying to NYU, I had no idea what data science was. I’ve been piecing together what I want to do as far as work after graduation. I’ve been focusing a lot on programming and data engineering and have also been taking the Foobar Challenge with Google. I’m also taking a lot of programming classes and trying to take them in different departments as well, because that’s one thing I have always enjoyed. I took a lot of statistics in undergrad but I took them in the math, physics, econ departments. So I’m taking the same approach now by exploring different applications in different departments.

What are your plans for the future after you graduate? Do you have an ideal vision of where you hope to go after NYU?

I know that I want to do something coding and data intensive, but I’m really open to exploring. I’m applying to so many different job titles. In the long run, I do hope to return to some graduate school and to possibly pursue a PhD in econometrics, but that’s to be determined. What I hope to do within a company or institution that I’m working for is to help automate and make processes reproducible. I can see myself as a project manager as well for data science projects or research projects that I’m organizing. Someday I can see myself somewhere sitting behind a computer crunching numbers.

By Ashley C. McDonald

Official account of the Center for Data Science at NYU, home of the Undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D. programs in Data Science.

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