Cassidy Chansirik

Department: 
Data Science Undergraduate Studies
Bio/CV: 

Major: Legal Studies, Minor: Education

Role: Student Leadership Training Intern

Cassidy Chansirik has had a somewhat unconventional path to the Data Science Undergraduate Studies (DSUS) student teams. Despite not being a Data Science major, she has embraced the opportunity to serve on the DSUS student teams after taking Data 8. Her role as a Student Leadership Training Intern has allowed her to work towards increasing the sense of community within DSUS and focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion within Data Science at Berkeley, allowing her to apply her skills as a Legal Studies major and Education minor.

Question: How did you become interested in data science?

Answer: Funnily enough, I am not a Data Science major at Berkeley – I’m a Legal Studies major and Education minor! However, I became interested in data science after taking Data 8, the introductory course to Python that students take to dip their feet into the larger world of data science. After taking Data 8 and seeing how applicable it was to my extracurriculars and internships, I enrolled in a connector course, which is a course that takes the skills you’ve learned in Data 8 and applies them to a specific field or industry. I took Data in Business Decision with Professor Richard Huntsinger, which helped me practice the skills I learned in Data 8 and improved my ability to think critically and analytically about the data I’m presented with. 

Even though I’m not a Data Science major, being able to host an event for enthusiastic and passionate students was extremely rewarding and showed me how powerful the virtual community can be in creating connections and fostering relationships between students and working professionals. 

Q: What is the most interesting thing you’ve had the chance to work on as a part of DSUS?

A: As part of DSUS, I’ve been able to build events and workshops from the ground-up, which has been super interesting and rewarding! Although I’ve loved every project I’ve worked on, my most memorable work would have to be hosting the Data Science Career Exploration Panel. After hearing feedback from other students in DSUS, we knew that there was a desire from students to connect with industry professionals. Understanding how difficult this can be in a virtual environment, my co-workers and I began planning the panel by cold-connecting with Berkeley alumni over LinkedIn who were applying data science and data analytics in different fields. At the event, we were able to group the panelists by their industries and have students attending hop in and out of breakout rooms so that they could chat with the panelists on a more personable level. Even though I’m not a Data Science major, being able to host an event for enthusiastic and passionate students was extremely rewarding and showed me how powerful the virtual community can be in creating connections and fostering relationships between students and working professionals. 

Q: What is the most important thing you’ve learned from being a part of your student team?

A: As a part of the Strategic Operations team, the most important thing I’ve learned from being part of my team is to have fun while I’m working! As an extroverted person, this transition into a virtual work environment has been difficult for me, but being able to connect with my team weekly both inside and outside of work settings has made my time in DSUS so worthwhile. At every team meeting, we always include a check-in question, and it always brings joy and laughter into my day. Last week, I led our team meeting and was able to learn about “what type of potato” my co-workers and supervisor would like to be cooked as. In prior weeks, we’ve talked about different reality tv shows we’d like to be on and our go-to comfort foods. Outside of meetings, some days we’ll just have Zoom open so that we can work together as if we’re in-person. By bonding and forming friendships with my co-workers, I’ve been able to collaborate with them on events and projects, which makes the work I do all the more enjoyable! 

As an extroverted person, this transition into a virtual work environment has been difficult for me, but being able to connect with my team weekly both inside and outside of work settings has made my time in DSUS so worthwhile. At every team meeting, we always include a check-in question, and it always brings joy and laughter into my day. 

Q: What might others not know about your team/role?

A: As the Student Leadership Training Intern, I get a lot of questions about what I do in my role. At DSUS, my role is to focus on three things: (1) increasing camaraderie within the Data Science community, (2) building community among DSUS staff, and (3) creating educational opportunities for Berkeley students that engage with diversity, equity, and inclusion principles. These focuses serve as a basis for the many internal and external events and workshops that I create and execute. For example, in order to build community among DSUS staff, my co-workers and I led a Meme Battle, where staff were segmented into random groups to make the best memes for a given topic. For the Data Science Career Exploration Panel, I made sure to find Berkeley alumni who were not only diverse in the companies they worked for, but also in their backgrounds and the communities they belonged to. Depending on the feedback we receive from mid-semester feedback forms, I may shift the types of events I’ve created to really cater towards what DSUS students are asking for. Because of this, my role involves a lot of creativity and thinking-on-my-feet, which makes my work exciting!