After graduating from Bryant with a concentration in Computer Information Systems, Assistant Professor Kevin Mentzer ’91, Ph.D., held several senior information technology positions and founded his own IT company. Then, he returned to his first love – academia.
“I always wanted to come back to Bryant and teach; the energy of students is invigorating,” says Mentzer. Designing up-to-the-minute courses, exploring innovative new tools and technologies, and helping drive his department’s decision-making are a welcome change from the corporate sector.
“Data has exploded. Some of the old technologies weren’t a good fit to analyze these data.”
With strong student interest in Bryant’s new Data Science program, Mentzer concurs with Harvard Business Review, which called it “the sexiest job in America” in 2016. With data science, he says, companies bring in new data streams – like social media – to broaden the scope of data being evaluated.
“Data has exploded,” he says. “Some of the old technologies weren’t a good fit to analyze these data.”
How does Mentzer prepare students for an unpredictable future? “I prepare them for change; we want students to graduate from Bryant comfortable programming in multiple languages,” he explains. “I tell my students, ‘My job is to prepare you to handle whatever tool is thrown at you, while acknowledging that you will have no experience with that tool.’”
With open source tools disrupting and challenging leading technology companies, Mentzer says, “Our goal is to get students prepared for whatever will come next.” To that end, Mentzer is delighted to engage students in his research project evaluating how individuals use block chain technology: Is it just a small a sub-community of computer “geeks” or is the community actually growing, as the number of block chain technology applications grows?