Building New Opportunities in Established Fields

the number of women currently represented in the STEM science fields*

Wharton seeks to expand access and opportunity for those seeking career in the data sciences.

The Bridge to a Doctorate Program in Statistics and Data Science is a two-year research master’s (MA) degree program which includes tuition, fees, health insurance, and stipend. Overseen by Wharton’s Department of Statistics and Data Science, the new MA program offers advanced coursework and research experience for students who hope to earn a PhD, but need additional preparation for admission to a statistics doctoral program.

Program founder Dylan Small, the Universal Furniture Professor and Chair of Statistics and Data Sciences, co-directs the Stat Bridge MA with Nancy R. Zhang, the Ge Li and Ning Zhao Professor of Statistics and Data Science and Vice Dean of Wharton’s Doctoral Programs. Like Small, Zhang is excited to be involved with the Bridge Program, one of the few programs of its kind. “There are bridge programs in other fields at many schools, but very few in statistics and in data sciences with the explicit focus on preparing students for PhD study and a future career in research,” says Zhang.

Tiny but mighty, the inaugural Stats Bridge Team chats on Penn's Locust Walk. Pictured from left to right is Professor Nancy Zhang, Fellows Emma Ross and Nimo Ismail, and Professor Dylan Small. (Image: Hoag Levins/LDI)
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"People who grew up in communities with a lack of resources, such as role models in statistics and related fields, may get a late start in thinking about statistics as a career path. Our program seeks to help students fully tap into their potential and to ensure that we continue to develop bold thinkers who will be prepared for the challenges of new sources and new statistical problems.”

—Dylan Small
Professor and Chair of Wharton’s Statistics and Data Sciences program

First semester smiles from Nimo Ismail (left) and Emma Ross (right). (Image: Hoag Levins/LDI)

With new paths forged forward, discover what Wharton offers its students.

As the program’s first Fellows, Emma Ross and Nimo Ismail are looking toward bright and expansive horizons, embodying not only their program but also Wharton’s steadfast dedication to nurturing exceptional talent and pioneering research in the field of data science.

As for the current and future Fellows of the program, expectations are centered around building the structure for successful academic and professional trajectories. Fellow Emma Ross’ ultimate goal is to become a professor in statistics, which she can only achieve with a PhD in the field of data sciences. Facilitated by the mentorship opportunities that are a key aspect of the program, Ross is developing research projects that directly help people in need.

*Reported by the National Science Foundation in 2021.
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