What I Did This Summer: Cassie Thompson Discovered an Unexpected Industry for her Data Science Skills

Posted Sep 16, 2022

Cassie Thompson
Cassie Thompson ’23

Name: Cassie Thompson
Majors: Actuarial Science and Mathematics
Minor: Data Science
Class year: Senior, Class of 2023
Hometown: Lancaster, Ohio

During the fall of my junior year, I was searching for internships and applying to anything that remotely related to my major. One internship that I came across was a data science internship at Abbott Nutrition based out of Columbus. Naturally, I applied even though I had no idea what Abbott made or did.

It was only after I got the first-round interview invitation that I did a deep dive into Abbott and, more specifically, Abbott Nutrition. It turns out that I had been eating protein bars made by Abbott Nutrition for years! After a couple rounds of interviews, I got a call from the Abbott’s university relations department offering me the data science internship.

Leading up to the internship, I thought I would either be sitting at a desk staring at a computer all day, or they would fire me for not knowing enough after the first week. However, neither of those things happened, and the 12-week internship provided the most challenging and rewarding work I have ever done.

I had ample opportunities to apply what I had learned in my classes at Otterbein, and although actuaries typically do data analysis in the field of insurance, I was able to apply the analytics knowledge I had learned in my classes to the field of healthcare and nutrition. I was not only able to apply what I had learned, but I also learned more about myself and obtained new skills in data science software. I learned that I enjoy working in the office, because I can talk with the people on my team to break up the time spent extracting and scrubbing data.

I also had the opportunity to learn new analysis tools like Power B.I. and Microsoft Azure Data Factory. Some of my time was spent sitting at a desk staring at a computer, but through my internship with Abbott, I also had opportunities to travel and meet with many different people. For a week in June, Abbott flew all the interns to Chicago (where Abbott is headquartered) for networking, fun activities, and to learn more about the company.

Whether you apply for an internship with Abbott (which I highly recommend) or somewhere else, I think every student should intern for at least one summer, because you get real-world experience in your field of study and learn what you may or may not like in a work environment.

Finally, I would like to thank all my actuarial science and mathematics professors for providing me with the skills needed to succeed.