Sarah Brewer

Sarah Brewer

Analytics Project  

During the program, I worked with a major food producer in our area to understand their supply chain, as well as a large insurance provider to predict profitability. Both of these provided indispensable experience partnering with industry to solve real-world challenges. A third project worked on involved the UNH agriculture department to develop predictive models for crop scheduling using sensor data. A fourth project entailed creating an adaptive demand forecasting program for franchises that includes outside factors along with previous sales. In all cases we’re making extensive use of R and Python, in addition to tools such as Tableau, JMP Pro, and IBM Cognos.

Tell us about your background. 

My background is in marketing (2 yrs) and non-profit administration (3 yrs). In both roles I was very interested in using data to improve results and processes. At one point, I became so interested in using feedback to improve systems that I enrolled in a MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management through MIT’s online program on edX.org. I enjoyed this immensely, and loved working to understand how pulling one small lever in a system can have huge ripple effects. That was the turning point for me in deciding to pursue analytics professionally. Mapping and understanding complex systems through data engaged me in a way nothing previously had, so when I learned of UNH’s Master’s of Science in Analytics, I jumped.

What are your professional goals? 

I’m very excited about using the tools of data analysis to map and understand systems and relationships. While supply chain management was the driver of my attending this program, I’m open to any industry with complex systems I can help shine light on. Some industries I think are innovating with data in exciting ways include transportation, manufacturing, the energy grid, and agriculture.

What have you found valuable about the M.S. program ? Why did you choose to pursue a career in analytics?

One of the defining features of the UNH Master’s in Analytics and Data Science is a belief in positive failure. We learn something new, try it, inevitably make mistakes, and then become better practitioners by understanding our errors and correcting them. We’re encouraged to experiment and ask questions, and everyone is expected to take initiative in this way. Coupled with regular opportunities to apply our knowledge to real-world problems, and I cannot think of a better way to prepare for a career in analytics.

Have you attended any conferences? 
I attended Strata this fall in NYC, and was struck by the focus on data architecture and processing tools. It made me realize just how crucial it is for organizations to think strategically about their data infrastructure from the very beginning.

Do you have any extracurricular activities you would like to tell us about? 
I’m an avid reader, especially of non-fiction, sci-fi and fantasy. I will also take advantage of almost any excuse to get outside; I’ve hiked ~12 of New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers and a few of Maine’s, plus many long jaunts with my two dogs and husband over countless nameless hills. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite New England activities – the backyard bonfire with good friends and local craft brew.

Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn.