UNH alumni return to campus to mentor students in DataJam

Friday, August 11, 2017

Front row, l-r: Dean Deborah Merrill-Sands,  Lai Lai Jenkins ’08, Natalie Landry ’13, Hallory Haley ’06 ’16G. Back row, l-r: Anthony Savani ’12, Michele Elliott ’98, Decision Sciences chair Roger Grinde, and Decision Sciences faculty member Jing Wang.

Hallory Haley ’06 ’16G loved working with students at her alma mater as part of her job as manager of Liberty Mutual’s campus recruiting team. So when the idea was pitched for Liberty Mutual to host a data jam at UNH in the fall of 2015, Haley was excited to help plan it.

“I love getting back on campus!” she said. “It’s great to see all of the change that’s happened to the university over the years, and the students continue to impress me with their involvement and interest in getting internships earlier and earlier in their college career.”

Haley worked with her Liberty Mutual colleagues Matt Keane, director of enterprise technology services, and Justin Millette ’16, then an intern with the company, and faculty and staff from Paul College’s decision sciences department to plan the first UNH DataJam with Liberty Mutual. The event was a success, and is an annual event, now held in the spring.

The event is a mutually beneficial experience for students and Liberty Mutual, according to Keane. “During the DataJam, students are working with real data, solving real business questions that we have in insurance,” said Keane. “On the other side, if students can enter the workforce with these skills, versus learning these skills on day one in the workforce, it kind of gives them a sense of what’s expected in a Fortune 100 company.”

"Working with industry allows students to apply the knowledge that they gain in the classroom to real-world problems," said Haley.

This year, six Paul College alumni including Haley and Millette gave their time to students participating in DataJam. Haley’s campus recruiting colleague Natalie Landry ’13 helped to coordinate this year’s event, and Haley and Landry spoke to students about how their skills translate to the insurance industry and  gave them information on opportunities available at Liberty Mutual.

“We thought it would be a great way to engage the UNH students to get more of an understanding about the insurance industry and why a career in insurance would be interesting,” she said.

Millette presented on his experiences as a Liberty Mutual intern (and now fulltime employee) helping to design the first DataJam. Anthony Savani ’12 built upon Millette’s groundwork and pulled together a real data set for students to work on this year, remaining on hand during the event for student questions. Michele Elliott ’98 and Lai Lai Jenkins ’08 served as industry mentors for student teams, guiding them through the challenges of DataJam.

“Working with industry allows students to apply the knowledge that they gain in the classroom to real-world problems,” said Haley. “The employees who acted as mentors to the students were able to talk to them about how they use the tools in their day-to-day work, and I’m sure that helped students to see if this is a career they might pursue in the future.”

Whittney Gould | Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics | whittney.gould@unh.edu | 603-862-1704