Big Data panel welcomes SUNY New Paltz alumni experts back to campus

Four accomplished professionals, including two SUNY New Paltz alumni, with expertise in Big Data came to campus for a TED-style panel discussion, Nov. 14.

Alumni speakers included Andrew Krol ’91 (Mathematics), founder and owner of Krol Data Management, Vienna, Va., which works hand-in-hand with clients to implement data management software solutions and analysis; and Shannon Smosarski ’95 (Business), project director at PCG Staffing Solutions, Albany, N.Y., where her responsibilities include using analysis of vital statistics to promote health care quality improvement.

The event welcomed students of all majors, as well as faculty, staff and members of the community, to learn how Big Data analytics generates new opportunities for businesses and individuals at the intersection of business and technology.

“With the ever-increasing awareness of big data there’s a growing demand for employees that know how to work with it,” said Krol. “I personally stumbled on this field and now I have been providing these types of services for well over 20 years. I feel that students deliberately looking to explore data analysis as a profession should have the opportunities to understand what employers are truly looking for. This event provided that for them.”

Audience members heard from other inspiring professionals including Arun Agarwal, head of customer advocacy at HLC Technologies in DubaiDubai United Arab Emirates, a next-generation global technology company; and Jack Sturn, senior vice president for sales and marketing at 4Cite, a data-driven marketing company in Albany, N.Y., with a proprietary platform that uses analytics to understand when and how best to deliver marketing messages to improve overall customer experience.

Each speaker delivered a short, conversational presentation on the nature of their work before diving into the broader state of data analytics in business and later a Q & A discussion with the audience.

“I was grateful to have the opportunity to return to New Paltz to share with the students my experiences that have lead to a very rewarding career in analytics,” said Smosarski. “Based on skills acquired while at New Paltz, like critical thinking and paying attention to detail combined with what I learned about computing and statistics, I taught myself enough about analytics to start my own business, Shannon Data and Audit Ltd., and more recently pursue more formal training in analytics.  It was important to me to encourage students to consider a career in this exciting field.”

The panel members were invited to campus by the College’s undergraduate program in Business Analytics, which launched in spring 2018. The program is the first undergraduate program of its kind in the SUNY system and was created to address the growing need for talented analysts in a variety of professional fields in the Hudson Valley and throughout New York State.

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