Please tell us about yourself

Nandana Nallapu is learning about data science, both through her work in the classroom and as an intern for the John Deere Technology Innovation Center at the University of Illinois Research Park. With a bachelor’s degree in information technology from SRKR Engineering College in India, she is building on her academic success by earning an MS information management (MS/IM) at Illinois School of Information Sciences.

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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?

Nallapu worked as a software engineer before coming to the iSchool for her MS/IM degree. She discovered the opportunity at John Deere after attending career fairs and networking events during the spring semester. Her internship, which began in the summer, includes cleaning and analyzing agricultural data and finding ways to use the results in John Deere’s apps and products.She also works on text data from agricultural manuals and maps the solutions to categories using Text Mining classification. She enjoys working on interesting projects in an R&D atmosphere with the data science team.

How has been the experience studying and working?

“While the iSchool got me interested in learning the nitty-gritty of data science and how things worked, interning at John Deere has helped me transition from an academic learning perspective to the hands-on application of what I learned,” Nallapu said.

“After finalizing my class schedule, I divide my week into school days (where I am in class), work days (where I am at John Deere), and study days. If I’m hard pressed for time and lagging behind in schoolwork, I take a couple of days off from work. I’m lucky because my manager, Mark Moran, is very understanding and strictly believes school comes first.”

“The combination of her professional experience before grad school, her research since coming to Illinois, and the coursework of the iSchool has made Nandana a great addition to our team,” said Moran, associate director and manager of data-driven innovation for John Deere Technology.

After earning her degree, Nallapu plans to travel and pursue a career in data science.