This month we welcomed two new staffers to our Projects Team! This week we spoke with the second of our two new team members, Kyle Brees, our new Research Analyst! Click here to see last week’s interview with our new Network Scientist, Dr. Amanda Beacom.
Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from and what’s your professional background?
I was born in Texas before moving at a very young age to South Dakota where I spent my childhood. I also completed my undergraduate degree at Dakota State University in Math Education while living in South Dakota. I moved to Denver after applying for graduate school at the University of Denver less than three weeks before the start of classes and got accepted into the program with less than two weeks to move from South Dakota out to Denver. The move was well worth it as I graduated with my master’s degree from the University of Denver in Research Methods and Statistics this past June. While completing my MA I, worked with the Girl Scouts organization doing a variety of technology and data related job duties. Most recently I worked with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Aurora doing statistical analyses for several medical studies.
What is it about network and network science that attracts you to work in this field? What’s your “network story?”
What drew me to this field and to VNL, in particular, was the opportunity to do research and evaluation work in such a data-driven organization. I first came across social network analysis during my practicum (culminating project required for graduation). I had no real idea what the field was but it was a very interesting topic that I was able to research and wanted to learn more about.
How do your experiences, values and beliefs impact your approach to network evaluation and analysis work?
I have worked in an array of organizations and situations that I feel give me a unique perspective on some of my work. I have done a year of volunteer work for AmeriCorps and worked in a completely foreign field during my time at the VA. During that time I have grown my capacity to adapt my skills to different areas of content, that I believe will help serve me well for the variety of projects that VNL has.
What do you enjoy most about working as an analyst or evaluator?
I think what I enjoy most as an evaluator is the chance for creative problem solving. I have always enjoyed puzzles or strategy games growing up, so being able to find a job that lets me use creative thinking to solve complex problems is the perfect fit. I also have a background tutoring math so I feel a lot of the same skills apply in being able to understand someone else’s problems and to then identify a solution to it.
Away from work, what do you for fun? Any hobbies, interests, clubs or other activities?
During my spare time, I like to try and stay active by doing really any team sports or hitting the gym. I also enjoy cooking a nice pasta dish or trying new restaurants or breweries, especially when they have trivia.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new role at Visible Network Labs?
I hope to help people see how understanding networks can help improve their day to day operations, along with showing them the importance of using data to inform their daily decisions making. I also hope to be able to learn from such a great and experienced research and evaluation team.