Amanda Rago

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Upon graduating from USC with my Bachelor of Science in Applied and Computational
Mathematics, I had this unwavering feeling of wanting to learn more. I hoped to pursue a
program that would teach me about business, data analytics, economic theory and analysis, while also giving me the opportunity to work with a unique group of people. I was simply browsing the USC website, researching Progressive Degree Programs, and stumbled upon the SEDA Master’s program.

After reading the career opportunities and course descriptions, I knew it was the right fit for me, even if my parents wouldn’t be able to remember the lengthy program name.

What drew me most to the M.S. SEDA program was the ability to dive into data analytics
with an economic frame of reference that was both holistic and scientific. I also like the fact I can leverage these skills to work in a plethora of different industries. Personally, I like the idea of being able to do data analytics in the sustainable sector or using my technical skills to improve socioeconomic disparities. My education thus far prepares me to succeed in many different positions as well, and I truly just hope to make the most of what I’ve learned.

Starting in the Fall 2022 semester, I am part of the research team working under the direction of Dr. John P. Wilson to build out and expand the USC GeoHealth Hub.

I plan to use my degree to begin a career in Big Data analyzing environmental or socioeconomic trends. The advice I have for incoming students would be to get to know your professors and peers. Everyone I’ve met so far in the program has a different background and perspective, which leads to interesting conversations and collaborations.

Also, don’t be afraid of learning to code. It’s not as bad as you think, and such a great skill!

Lastly, my best piece of advice for any student is to not be afraid of asking questions and admitting when you don’t know something. Treat the moments where you think to yourself “I have no clue how to do this” as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and skill set. I promise nobody will think less of you, and typically having this skill is seen as a strength!

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