September 12, 2023

Never Stop Learning

Emily Dunn ‘21

I guess you can say I’m a lifelong learner. I always enjoyed learning. When I was a senior in high school, I was one of those eager students who intentionally — yes, intentionally —enrolled in two math classes at once because I was so fascinated by the subject and a potential career in data analytics.
When I arrived at Millersville University, I initially pursued a Bachelor of Science in Education with a focus in mathematics. However, that eager high school student inside quickly reminded me of my desire to dive deeper into the world of data analytics. Switching my major to a B.S. in Mathematics, this time with a specialization in statistics, was a pivotal decision in my life and one that aligned my education with my passion and career goals. 
The leadership opportunities I embraced during my time at Millersville were truly just as transformative. They not only allowed me to learn and evolve in alignment with my ambitions, but also provided a platform for honing my soft skills, which are indispensable in any career. Yes, soft skills do matter. 
As an orientation leader, I had the opportunity to meet new and transfer students embarking on their college journeys, and just like I was, eager to learn. What really surprised me was how much I learned about myself and who I wanted to become. I went from being shy and reserved to gradually becoming more outspoken and influential. Who would have thought I’d be giving campus tours and answering questions from parents and prospective students? Certainly not me. 
When graduation day came, I was confident in my abilities. I was eager to transition into a more analytical field that corresponded with what I had learned in statistics. My determination led me to actively seek out additional courses and methodologies that would not only enhance my skill set, but also align with the modern tools and techniques highly sought after by employers today. 
Emily DunnAs a pandemic grad, I was grateful to have a job right out of college. However, I still wanted to do more with data analytics. My degree was a great foundation for what I wanted to do, but many of the job postings required additional experience in programming tools like SQL, Python and R. That’s when I decided to take the Google Data Analytics Certificate. After I completed the SQL courses at the beginning of the certificate program, I started getting more and more interviews asking about my experience in SQL. While I was still taking the certificate courses, I accepted my current role as a Digital Product Analyst, which put my learning into practice, as well as helped me gain additional knowledge of SQL and Python in the real world. 
While I know my learning will never be over, I know that the opportunities I had at Millersville, combined with the Google Data Analytics Certificate, have helped me realize my passion. 
If I could offer some advice to other eager students looking to stand out to employers, I would strongly recommend getting involved in activities beyond your academic coursework. Whether it's a part-time job or extracurricular involvement, expanding your experiences and, in turn, your network can be one of the most advantageous things you do. 
Secondly, don't hesitate to continue learning even after you graduate. Creating a habit of lifelong learning is one of the most beneficial practices you can adopt after college. My decision to enroll in the Google Data Analytics Certificate program was driven by a desire to acquire new skills and knowledge. Now, in my current role, my employer actively encourages and supports ongoing learning, allowing me to grow and establish a solid platform for my future learning endeavors wherever they take me.

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