Alumni Early Career Profiles - Abrielle Agron
|Education:||B.S., Mathematics and Statistics & Data Science, The University of Arizona, 2021|
|Position:||Decision Science Analyst
USAA, Fraud Strategy & Analytics
|Sector:||Finance and Insurance|
I first interacted with USAA at a Computer Science job fair my sophomore year. I was interested in their internship program but they didn’t take sophomores, so instead that summer I worked at Sandia National Labs, which was a great experience, but made me realize that national security wasn’t a good fit for me. During my junior year, I applied to USAA and got an internship the summer before my senior year. At the end of my internship I was offered a full time position at the company starting soon after my graduation in June 2021.
My job title is Decision Science Analyst, which is essentially a more business focused data scientist. I work in the bank’s Fraud Strategy and Analytics department; my team and I study fraud trends and write rules to alert on fraudulent activity or stop it from happening. I really don’t have a typical day to day, because my work changes as the fraud we are trying to prevent changes- which is constantly! This is one of the reasons that I love my job- I’m never bored (and I get bored really easily). I have several long term projects that I work on in addition to ad hoc requests. Recently, I’ve been helping implement several newly acquired machine learning products to aid in fraud detection.
All of my data analysis is done in SAS and using SQL. I write queries to help evaluate performance of our rules and suggest modifications to keep false positive rates low. I also create visualizations for higher ups in order to keep them apprised of what is happening in the fraud space. My job boils down to taking a large amount of data across multiple data sources, deriving meaningful insights and creating visuals that can assist the business with decision making. I’ve learned SAS on the job, but my prior skills in SQL, Excel, and data visualization have been very useful.
My advice to anyone considering a degree in mathematics or SDS is to just go for it! It took me a long time to embrace the fact that I enjoyed math and not worry about what other people thought about it. Both Math and SDS are applicable to such a wide range of industries that you aren’t limited at all. Another piece of advice is to not worry about having experiences that directly relate to your career path. I worked in a social insect lab as a Freshman and Sophomore and that was by far the thing that I was asked the most about in interviews. Go to all of the job fairs that you can! I think that internships were really helpful for me because spending some time in the “real world” can help you figure out exactly what you want to do when you graduate. (Or, equally as importantly, what you don’t want to do) Good luck, and I hope that you choose a degree in Math or SDS… it’s worth it!