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Data Science

An interdisciplinary program, our data science major responds to an ever intensifying societal demand for expertise in the management and analysis of data. Students pursuing a major in data science can choose from three tracks: finance and economics; statistics; and computer science.

Our program provides readily accessible education and training focused on the collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of data.  We blend know-how from the disciplines of statistics, computer science, mathematics, economics, and finance to teach and mentor students in ways of applying powerful computational and inferential strategies to real-world problems. 

Data Research Fellowship
The James Rocco Quantitative Data Research Scholarship provides up to $5,000 to support innovative, student-designed quantitaative research projects to be carried out during the summer or the academic year. The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage the development of skills in using quantitative methods to derive information from data.

The College is really good for data science, because it’s so interdisciplinary here. I was able to make an entirely new project between two entirely unrelated fields with two professors who hadn’t really talked before this.
I’ve been looking at master’s programs in data science and, when I’m talking to recruiters for those programs, they always mention that doing both research in data science and getting a degree in the field is extremely beneficial to work on my master’s and find a job after graduation.
Data Research Projects

A sampling of recent research projects include:

  • Statistical analysis of the intensity and rate of helmet contacts in college football, a project collaboration with the Lake Forest College Football team and the NCAA
  • Image-based classification of body language poses to emotions using convolutional neural networks
  • Applying machine learning to predict tweet topics based on the sex of the tweeter and what region the tweet originated from. (Collaborating with Prof. Ta in psychology)
  • Applying machine learning to predict if user comments will change the viewpoint of the original poster in the Change My View section of a Subreddit (a specific page on Reddit)** 
  • Applying machine learning and statistical algorithms on the human genome to predict colorectal cancer. (Collaborating with Prof. Conrad in biochemistry and molecular biology) **
  • Developing software, in collaboration with the Department of Preventive Medicine at Rush University Medical Center of Chicago, that will provide an online simulation and data capture tool to assess the utility and effectiveness of various “pre-commitment reward strategies” in prompting and sustaining desired behavior change (such as smoking cessation and weight loss). The tool is intended for use by healthcare providers and behavioral scientists. 

    **Indicates funding by the James RoccoResearch Scholarship
Data Science Minor

The Data Science Minor is designed to allow easy entry for students with no prior exposure to statistics or computer science. It can be completed within the first two years of college study.  In this way, students with majors in the humanities, social sciences, and/or natural sciences can acquire data analytic expertise (particularly in the areas of statistics, statistical programming, and machine learning) that can be put to effective use in subsequent upper-level coursework. Data management, visualization, and analysis techniques, coupled with computer programming fundamentals, provide students with a skill set that is increasingly in demand by a wide variety of employers.


Students have participated in summer research internship programs in biostatistics and bioinformatics at the following universities:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Minnesota-Minneapolis

Employers recruit our data science students for internships and jobs:

  • Abbot Laboratories
  • Accenture
  • Airspace
  • Wolverine Trading
  • Vizient, Inc.
  • WayUp, Inc.
Career Paths in Data Science
  • Actuarial Science
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biostatistics
  • Business Intelligence Analytics
  • Data Analytics
  • Data Management
  • Data Warehouse Architecture
  • Financial Analysis
  • Machine Learning Engineering
  • Marketing Analytics
  • Operations Analytics
  • Quantitative Analytics
  • Sports Analytics
  • Statistician
  • Systems Analytics 

The Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM/ICM) is an international mathematical modeling competition in which teams, consisting of three students each, analyze and develop a solution to a real-world problem. The competition focuses on collaborative teamwork and ingenuity, and requires students to present their ideas in a clear and concise manner. Students with multidisciplinary interests who are drawn to data applications and tackling practical, real-world problems are encouraged to join our Lake Forest College team

Related Programs

Contact Us

DeJuran Richardson
Ernest H. Volwiler Professor of Mathematics
Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science
Lillard Science Center 358

Harriet Doud
Department Supervisor