Heather Spetalnick (Shapiro), BS 2015

How has being a Statistical Science graduate from Duke help shape you personally and/or professionally?

"I work primarily with research scientists who are trying to implement new Privacy methods for Alexa. Having a background in Statistics, makes it easier to communicate with the team and fully understand what is going on during the experiments. I am able to use the skills I learned to analyze the results and synthesize the results so that higher level executives can make sense of the information."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Statistical Science programs?

"Statistics and analytical skills can be applied to almost every discipline; I think it is important to choose a topic area that you enjoy and then see how you can fit the skills to that specific area. Additionally, I would recommend taking some computer science courses, or learning to code with Python. Python has been the most popular language I've seen for experiments in large tech companies. There has also been a growing need for Data Engineers at major companies over the past few years, so having skills in computer science can be incredibly useful and marketable."

Technical Program Manager at Amazon Alexa, Boston, MA