Meet Our New Network Data Intern, Jake Watts

Jake Watts

This month we are excited to welcome a new member of our team! Jake Watts is joining Visible Network Labs as a Network Data Intern. He’ll be working with our Projects and Evaluation Teams to help collect, analyze and visualize network data for our partners and clients, while supporting development of our technology and software. We sat down with Jake this week to get to know him and his background. Enjoy!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional background?

Before starting college, I had very little idea of what I wanted to study or what career path I should pursue. I went to college in D.C. at George Washington University with the goal of studying political science, mainly because I had a cool comparative politics teacher in high school. However, I quickly switched to economics. For my economics major I had to take a lot of mathematics and statistics courses and found that I really enjoyed using those skills to model behavioral and social phenomena. I also did data analysis for the National Association of Counties which helped me realize my career goal of becoming a data scientist. After graduating, I enrolled in a masters’ program in applied mathematics with a specialization in statistics and data science at CU Boulder and I just began my first semester here.

What caught your eye about working at VNL?

Over the summer following my graduation I used some of my free time to explore interests that I did not learn about in school but was curious about. One such interest was network modeling and I ended up taking an online course and becoming really interested in the subject. Then when looking for internships I came across VNL and saw that they were using doing a lot of interesting work with network science and I knew that it was something that I wanted to be a part of.

What do you hope to learn or accomplish in your role here?

I hope to continue to develop my skills in data science and learn more about network analysis. There is a lot of insight to be gained in analyzing relationships in a network structure and I am glad there is a great group of people here to help me do so.

Away from school or work, what are your hobbies?

I really enjoy doing outdoor activities and now that I live in Boulder, I hope to maximize my time spent mountain biking and snowboarding. Before coronavirus I also really enjoyed going to concerts. However without concerts this year, I filled the musical void with a new hobby of collecting records.

What are 1 or 2 things we would never know about you without being told?

One is that I moved much more than the average person growing up due to my dad being in the Air force. I moved a total of eleven times before leaving for college and spent a good amount of my early childhood living overseas in both Germany and Panama. Another is that I really enjoy juggling. I became obsessed with learning how to juggle one summer and I still practice every now and then to keep my skills sharp.

Alex Derr

About the Author: Alex Derr, M.P.A.

Director of Marketing & Communications

Alex joined VNL in 2017, originally supporting our events. He now helps manages our communications and marketing strategy and content development work. Alex creates blogs, infographics, reports, and other content while managing our web and social media presence. He also runs our email marketing campaigns, tracks analytics, and conducts market research to drive our strategy. He supports our entire team with copywriting, graphic design and research, and helps with events, webinars, demos, and other online learning. When he isn’t at work Alex spends his time climbing 14ers (30 done, 28 to go!) and blogging on his own website, The Next Summit Blog.

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