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UVI to Now Offer Minor in Data Science, Partially Funded by Cane Bay Partners VI

The University of the Virgin Islands School of Science and

University of the Virgin Islands

Mathematics will now be offering a minor in data science, supported, in part, by donations provided by Cane Bay Partners VI LLLP.

Over the last 11 years, Cane Bay Partners has contributed more than $125,000 to UVI, with a focus on supporting initiatives around data science and analytics. Just last week the company donated an additional $10,000 to support UVI’s efforts in providing the data science minor.

“This is a very exciting milestone in the development of a core curriculum for those wanting to pursue a career in data science and analytics in the Virgin Islands,” said Kirk Chewning, co-founder of Cane Bay Partners. “We hope young people consider this field of study as there are many positions locally and globally that are high paying, have great growth trajectory and are meaningful to our communities. We are proud of the work UVI has done here, and we look forward to partnering with them further to help the curriculum path be successful for the UVI and its students.”

The new program is a multidisciplinary program that uses mathematics, statistics, and computer science together to gain knowledge and insights from data in all disciplines. It will be available to all majors and includes 18-20 specialized credits. Students will be exposed to the data science workflow: asking the research questions, creation of and access to data, data privacy, data policy, data standards, and data ethics. Students will be introduced to programming in Python, data exploration and visualization, basic statistics, modeling, evaluation of results and telling stories with data.

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Dr. Joanne Luciano, the data science professor at UVI, said the contribution from Cane Bay Partners allowed her to hire a teaching assistant and launch the program while challenged by the pandemic.

“This is an exciting time for the Virgin Islands to embrace data, as it can support the health care industry, private businesses, government, non-profits, public safety and so much more,” said Dr. Luciano. “Working together with companies like Cane Bay Partners, we have an opportunity to not only provide a career path for young Virgin Islanders but also to support all areas of our community.”

Cane Bay Partners is a consulting firm on St. Croix that specializes in complex underwriting analytics as well as marketing analytics. The company employs a team of data scientists and marketing analytics specialists that work every day to optimize client portfolios. As a VI Economic Development Commission beneficiary, the company is required to hire Virgin Islanders for 80 percent for these positions. To honor the true intent of this law, the company has sought to invest in the education and training of those interested in pursuing this field of study.

“We are very interested in investing in the development of this skill set in the Virgin Islands so that we and other similar technology companies have access to a cadre of candidates to fill these high paying positions,” said David Johnson, co-founder of Cane Bay Partners. “And we want young Virgin Islanders to know that these opportunities exist if they choose to pursue this specialty.”

Cane Bay Partners previously supported UVI in developing a computational science and modeling curriculum to provide students with cutting-edge training in decision sciences, predictive analytics and econometrics. They have provided opportunities to dozens of Virgin Islanders through internships and full-time employment in the fields of data science, analytics, marketing and other business roles.

“I met Kirk and David when Cane Bay Partners first opened their doors in St. Croix. At the time, we understood UVI had an obligation to expose our students to this industry. The University has progressed substantially since our initial meeting, with much of the credit due to Dr. Joanne Luciano’s ongoing efforts,” said Mitchell A. Neaves, vice president for Institutional Advancement at UVI. “We appreciate the long-standing commitment Kirk and David have made to our Data Science Program and hope other industry partners will join the effort to cultivate future industry professionals in the Virgin Islands.”

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