My name is Trei Alexander and I am the Data Operations manager for rel8ed.to Analytics and the Head Huncho of the Robot Training Academy (RTA). I started in this role last September and it’s been an amazing rollercoaster ride since then.
Despite having prior experience as an Analyst and Supervisor, working with students from several different schools (District School Board of Niagara, Brock University, Rochester City School District, University of Rochester, etc.) has been quite a new journey for me. New and scary but maybe even my calling.
I was quite nervous to start teaching a group of young, talented students. But after meeting my first cohort in the RTA, I fell in love with the idea of guiding kids through a journey of exploration and growth. Each student that has come my way has been VERY enthusiastic and eager to learn more about data science -- and they're even more excited when I remind them that their project based work has real-world impact. Much of their hands-on learning actually involves building systems and refined data sets for rel8ed.to's clients and R&D.
Since Fall ‘21, the RTA has worked on projects for government, non-profits, and the private sector (Microsoft, Google, and major Tech partners!). Our work on these projects spans everything from data collection, web scraping, data research, cleaning and analyzing data, and training AI. While we are just one part of the whole process, the students are always thrilled to know that they aren't just interns fetching coffee -- they're helping find data and build datasets that people and companies rely on. Some students have even attended live client meetings and had the opportunity to meet executives in the field.
One of the most exciting things that the students look forward to each semester is our seasonal “Hack-A-Thon”. At the end of each semester (Fall, Winter and Summer), each student has to present an open data project that they’ve built from the ground up. Students are given the opportunity to create a video game, a protocol or a mobile app. Our students have been so creative that one of them actually even received an investment offer for his app.
Being able to be part of the process of helping the next generation find themselves and grow their love of data science has been a blessing. Going forward, we have visions of making the RTA program a worldwide program, so more students have access to this opportunity.
If you know a high school or college students who wants to learn more about data science and what it's like to actually work in the field -- send them our way!
Click the link below to learn more about the program and how you/they can participate.