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Meet Fall 2020 Hokie Grad: Allison DeSantis

Class of 2020 graduate Allison DeSantis, majoring in computational modeling and data analytics, with minors in computer science and business.. Photo taken before COVID-19.
Class of 2020 graduate Allison DeSantis, majoring in computational modeling and data analytics, with minors in computer science and business. Photo taken before COVID-19.

Senior Allison DeSantis says being a part of the Computer Science (CS) Genome team provided her a window into understanding the work done by people in the computer science field.  "I had not been involved in research before CS Genome, so seeing how a research team operates gave me a lot of insight into computer science careers that are more research oriented," she said. 

She specifically worked on the new education page for CS Genome, introducing the concepts of supercomputing and benchmarking with an interactive programming introduction to data science.

 “One of the most rewarding parts of being a member of the CS Genome team has been getting to work with intelligent and passionate people," said DeSantis. "Seeing the work of the other students inspires me to be more like them."

As a computational modeling and data analytics major (CMDA), with double minors in computer science and business, she said the minor was beneficial in giving her a lot of good programming experience. "I would recommend the minor to someone looking to add challenging computer science coursework to their schedule."

DeSantis found CS/CMDA 3654: Intro Data Analytics & Visual Computational Modeling to be her favorite class, which introduced her to a variety of data analysis and visualization tools and techniques in Python. The course included a final group project, in which she and her team chose analyzing Twitter data and conducting sentiment analysis on tweets containing certain words.

“Allison's enthusiasm for data analysis and outreach helped lay the foundation for our ‘Introduction to Data Science’ interactive notebook and has sparked team interest in sentiment analysis,” said Margaret Ellis, associate professor of practice and member of the CS Genome faculty team.


In March 2021, DeSantis will join Booz Allen Hamilton working on their data science and machine learning team. "I look forward to growing as a data scientist and learning more about how machine learning is applied to help serve clients in industry." 

DeSantis said she is fascinated by the potential applications of data science. “What I find most interesting is the potential it has to be used in so many different areas. Essentially, whatever interests you there is probably a way to use data science in that area, and I think that is really cool.”

— Written by Jacquelyn Noel, communications intern for the Department of Computer Science