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Seaver College Students Explore Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence with New Data Science Minor

In fall 2021, Seaver College’s Natural Science Division will officially launch the new data science minor for students interested in machine learning, programming, and more. The minor was made possible with support and careful course design by Fabien Scalzo, associate professor of computer science at Seaver College. The minor’s four new courses will be embedded within the college’s computer science program. 

“The use of data science and machine learning has exploded in the past five years,” shares Scalzo. “Yet, the skills are still lacking in the workforce. This minor will prepare students to fill those gaps in the industry with interdisciplinary approaches.”

Commonly connected to consumer big data, data science at times gets a negative rapport. However, data science can be used to understand or predict disease, provide personalized recommendations for treatment, and even track climate disasters and ecological health. The field connects scientific research methods, mathematics, and programming to address real-world problems. With industries in all sectors turning to data to inform strategic goal setting, data science skills are some of the most critical and coveted in today’s workforce.

Mirroring other minor programs at the college and the interdisciplinary nature of the field, the data science minor leans into interdisciplinary approaches to course subjects, which allows diverse perspectives and creative thinking to thrive within the program. Students will gain initial foundations to data science and programming before taking their foundational knowledge and applying it to solve a real-world problem. What Pepperdine is uniquely able to provide, Scalzo shares, is the ethical and moral approaches to a highly scientific and technical field.

“It’s one thing to know to use the tool, data science, to do anything you need,” says Scalzo. “But it’s more important to use it in the good and right way for the betterment of society, and I think at Seaver with this minor we will be preparing students to handle those questions.”

To learn more about the minor and course details, visit the data science minor website.