Data Science Undergraduate Studies
For the 668 students who received their Data Science bachelor’s degrees on Saturday, May 15, it was a graduation day like no other, coming on the heels of an academic year like no other. Students celebrated their graduation via the program’s first-ever virtual commencement premiering on YouTube
The ceremony featured commencement speakers, student and faculty awards, and a surprise appearance by Cal mascot Oski the Bear.
“Class of 2021, you have been on quite a ride,” said Jennifer Chayes, Associate Provost for the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), in her remarks to the graduating class. “We’re now seeing daylight and it’s a testament to your and our collective ingenuity, resilience, grit, and heart as human beings.
“We need people like you with the heart and the skills to understand how to leverage data science for the good of humanity and the planet,” Chayes said.
Featured speakers included Giorgia Lupi, an information designer who created the Dear Data project with Stefanie Posavec, swapping hand-drawn data postcards with each other for a year.
Michael Jordan, the Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and the Department of Statistics, reassured the parents of graduates, emphasizing the students’ “fantastic decision” to major in data science and how well positioned they are to be leaders in whatever career they pursue.
The final speaker was John DeNero, an Associate Teaching Professor in EECS who was recently announced as new Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies for CDSS. Looking a bit confused, DeNero wondered if he was on the right Zoom call as he was in his final office hours of the semester and no students were there. Suddenly, Berkeley mascot Oski the Bear logged in and DeNero realized that the bear was in his class and the one ungraded final exam -- unsigned but marked with a big blue paw print -- was Oski’s.
Faculty Director of Pedagogy Ani Adhikari presented awards recognizing student excellence. Outstanding Teaching Awards for graduate student instructors were given to Kunal Agarwal, Mihaela Curmei, Samantha Hing, Anna Nguyen, Ryan Roggenkemper, and Ishaan Srivastava.
Awards for Outstanding Data Science Undergraduates, recognizing performance in the major, research, and contributions to the data science community at Berkeley, were given to Emma Besier, Emily Hsiao, Adalie Palma, Ashley Quiterio, and Jack Stehn.
Four other graduate students were honored with an Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times Award for their innovative work to keep students engaged while learning remotely during the pandemic. Philippe Boileau, Anna Nguyen, Suraj Rampure and Allen Shen were recognized for their efforts to adapt the Data 8 and Data 100 courses they taught to a combined 800 students during the Summer 2020 semester.
The program concluded with the announcement of EECS Professor Emeritus David Culler receiving the 2021 Berkeley Citation Award, one of the highest honors the campus can bestow.
Read more about the DSUS commencement.