Campus to Career: Sara Schumacher

Sara Schumacher

Senior in Statistics

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Advanced Statistical Analytics Intern at Kingland Systems in Ames, IA

From Vegas to farmland

Sara lived in Las Vegas, NV until her junior year of high school. At that time she moved to Ames, IA and attended Ames High School. On applying to colleges, she said “I had just recently moved to Ames in my junior year of high school, and I wasn’t ready to leave yet.” During her time at Iowa State Sara found that it wasn’t “completely what I expected. I had moved to Iowa and noticed a lack of diversity compared to where I lived before. I really thought that everyone was alike here. Once I got to Iowa State, I learned that there are so many different kinds of people here. It was very refreshing.” She began as an engineering major, “in high school they press you to be an engineer if you are good at” math and science, “but they don’t mention the many other options open to you.” However, she found that engineering wasn’t the right fit. After trying dietetics and mathematics education Sara added a statistics minor to “investigate other options”. She had finally found her calling. “Ultimately, I was meant to be a statistics major, with a slight math emphasis, as evidenced by my mathematics minor. And now I couldn’t be happier. The journey was long, but I made it. Interesting note: I have always maintained my sociology minor.”

Preparing application materials

Sara turned to CyHire, an online job and internship search system available to all students and alumni, to apply for the position of Advanced Statistical Analytics Intern at Kingland Systems. Before submitting her materials, she made an appointment with the Liberal Arts and Sciences Career Services to review her resume. When Sara was invited to an interview with Kingland Systems she felt very comfortable. “Iowa State University taught me better communication skills, so I was able to speak with upper management without extreme unease.”

Starting late

Sara was hired by Kingland later in the summer, causing her to miss the orientations and icebreakers that other interns had participated in. In addition, she is the only statistics employee at Kingland. “I was nervous, but the employees at Kingland are incredibly welcoming. My manager was there on my first day, so I did a week of training in one day. Getting thrown all that information was a lot, but it really helped me, since I was starting so much later than the rest. My experience was a little different than most, but generally you are given a mentor, a project team, a manager, etc. There are many resources, and the community seating set up makes socialization and question-answering easy.” Sara’s job was to analyze Kingland’s “business practices using statistics. They are in the process of raising their business maturity level. As part of this process, there is a certain amount of data and statistics necessary to back up the business practices and corporate goals.” She struggled the most with the “business language, specifically software and banking business languages. It took a week or so to grasp the lingo and start to apply this knowledge to the stats I was demonstrating.” In the end she had the opportunity “to fly with Kingland Systems to Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. We visited the Army Software Engineering Center. In a consultation with them, I got to present the work I had done the previous summer for general approval. I hadn’t been able to correspond with a truly stats person until this point, so this experience was very rewarding and fulfilling.”

“This experience made me realize that everything I do at Iowa State can be applied to future jobs and internships. I used so many of the skills I have acquired through my 3.5 years here, that I never expected to use. It really makes you respect even the general education classes.”