data analytics

Capella U., SAS create career pathways for women in data analytics

Scholarships, professional networking prepare data experts for talent-hungry employers

The shortfall of big data and analytics professionals in the US could reach 190,000 by 2018. Women represent 47.4 percent of the labor force, yet they fill only 25 percent of STEM roles. Capella University and SAS are joining forces to combat the looming skills gap by providing pathways for women to enter and advance in the high-demand field of analytics.

The Capella Women in Analytics scholarships not only fully fund bachelor’s and master’s degrees in analytics, they bolster the experience with mentoring and networking opportunities.

“Employers are clamoring for analytics experts to make sense of their data,” said Emily Baranello, Vice President of the SAS Education Practice. “Women are too frequently underrepresented among those seizing these rewarding opportunities. Efforts like the Capella Women in Analytics scholarships will help turn the tide.”

The Capella Women in Analytics scholarships consist of two full-ride scholarships each for Capella’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology – Data Analytics program and Capella’s Master of Science in Analytics program. The application period runs from April 20 through May 31, 2016.

Winners will receive the opportunity to attend Analytics Experience 2016 in Las Vegas. In addition, winners will be invited to visit SAS corporate headquarters in Cary, N.C., where they will network with other analytics professionals, including the SAS Women’s Initiatives Network (WIN). WIN is a group of more than 600 female SAS employees who foster female leadership and professional excellence at SAS and reach into communities to encourage women to pursue STEM-related careers.

What to know before you apply

Applicants must demonstrate leadership and involvement in, and commitment to, the field of analytics.

Applicants should be starting a Bachelor’s in Information Technology degree program with a minor in data analytics, or a Master’s in Analytics degree program at Capella University in October 2016. Former students reapplying to the university are also eligible. All applicants must meet Capella University admission requirements.

Eligible applicants who do not win full scholarships may still be eligible to receive a $5,000 scholarship toward a BS in IT or a $3,000 scholarship for an MS in Analytics. Submitted essays shall include the applicants’ career goals and passion for analytics, along with a video submission about how they would mentor other women interested in the analytics profession. Submissions will be judged by a joint Capella and SAS panel.

“As a woman in analytics, I’ve oftentimes been the only woman in the room. I understand how isolating and intimidating this can feel. While I was fortunate to have female mentors, it’s not always common for others,” said Shawna Thayer, PhD, Vice President of Data Strategy and Institutional Analytics at Capella University. “Capella’s partnership with SAS is an opportunity to not only build a community of women supporting one another, but to help advance the fast-growing and in-demand field of analytics. Capella is continually assessing ways for our educational offerings to solve problems, both for individuals and for industries.”

Capella and SAS first worked together in 2014 to launch Capella’s BS in IT – Data Analytics and BS in Business- Business Intelligence programs. In July 2015, Capella’s Master of Science in Analytics program launched to help meet the need for graduate-level professionals in data and analytics.

Laura Ascione