FEBRUARY 15, 2022 — Editor’s note: This op-ed by David Mongeau, founding director of UTSA’s School of Data Science, and Kimberly Andrews Espy, UTSA’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, originally appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.
Driving around downtown San Antonio, it is hard to miss the “UTSA” etched six-stories high in the glass windows of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s new School of Data Science building on Dolorosa Street.
The truly enduring nature of the building will be the incredible work done within its walls when top data researchers innovate with students to make our world more equitable, informed and secure.
In 2018, UTSA launched its initiative to create the School of Data Science — which will occupy the new building with the National Security Collaboration Center — after recognizing a persistent need in the job market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 28% job growth in the data science field by 2026, and Glassdoor’s annual report of the 50 Best Jobs in America ranks data scientists as No. 2 in 2021 with a median salary of $113,000.
UTSA can create pathways to these positions as one of a group of visionary universities designated as both Carnegie R1 and Hispanic-serving that is investing in the U.S. strategically in data science education and research.
Studies by Forbes and others show that among all tech fields, data science ranks the lowest in diversity, with fewer than 3% of data scientists being women of color, with 5% Latino, 4% Black and 0.5% Native American. As a university that awards 67% of its bachelor’s degrees to students who identify as Hispanic/Latino or other underrepresented minority and ranks 26 in the nation for social mobility for its intentional work in promoting student success among its diverse population, UTSA and the School of Data Science can make a strong impact.
Making careers in data science accessible among a population that represents the future of the Americas with roots in Military City, USA, is integral to making our world more informed and secure. A new generation of diverse data scientists can enrich our daily lives in ways many of us may take for granted. They can bring their life experiences to the algorithms — the rules that digital devices follow to perform calculations and make recommendations, for example — in our handheld devices as we shop, scroll through social media, use GPS, pass under video surveillance cameras or save a favorite song to the cloud. They can help to ensure that the data we collect and process to train the algorithms are broad and inclusive.
Moreover, the new generation of data scientists can enjoy the results of and benefit by shaping the future of data science and artificial intelligence, or AI — the simulation of human intelligence by computers and other machines. AI is at the center of a market expected to grow more than 120% every year until 2025, realizing visions for autonomous vehicles, personalized medicine and virtual medical assistants, and ever more sophisticated drones for home delivery and national security.
The data-driven digital economy will only continue to evolve, and UTSA is fully embracing the movement by encouraging and preparing our students to advance with it — in all disciplines.
Come celebrate the doctoral students graduating this commencement season.H-E-B Student Union Ballrooms, UTSA Main Campus
Celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the College for Health, Community and Policy, College of Liberal and Fine Arts and College of Sciences.Alamodome, 100 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78203
Celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates of the Carlos Alvarez College of Business, College of Education and Human Development, Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design and University College.Alamodome, 100 Montana St, San Antonio, TX 78203
First Friday Stargazing gives anyone free access to the night sky using university telescopes and teaching equipment. Weather permitting, experienced astronomers will provide a handful of telescopes of varying designs, give training on how each operates, and point to various astronomical objects that may appear in the sky for that given time of the year. If you have a telescope and do not know how to operate it, feel free to bring it and get instructions on its use.4th Floor of Flawn Science Building, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.