Class of 2023

Photo of Chunxue (April)  Yang

Chunxue (April) Yang

Graduate StudentEmail Chunxue (April) Yang

April graduated from Rice University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Statistics and a minor in Computational and Applied Mathematics in December 2021. Throughout her undergraduate study, April developed her passion for data science and built a solid quantitative foundation in data mining, statistical analysis, and machine learning. Her interdisciplinary coursework in statistics, computer science, business, and optimization and operation research enabled her to develop both technical skills and business acumen. April was also interested in exploring the application of data science in different industries. After visiting the headquarter of Southwest Airlines in Fort Worth, April was fascinated by the practical usage of data science in the aviation industry and decided to use machine learning algorithms to build flight departure delay prediction models as her senior capstone project. Within three months, April used Python and R to process data, train prediction models using SVM, random forest, and XGBoost algorithms, and obtained a high prediction accuracy of nearly 75%. The academic project strengthened April’s data analysis skills and understanding of various machine learning methods. After graduation, April joined American National Insurance Company as an actuarial analyst in the life & annuity modeling team. She used GGY-AXIS, SQL queries, Excel, and Access to extract and visualize data, load annuity, and asset models at the end of every quarter for cash flow testing, and perform sensitivity analysis. Besides, she updated the underlying assumptions and product features of insurance policies. The work experience not only improved her analytics skills but also trained her to become a team player and an effective communicator who can collaborate with colleagues well and deliver presentations confidently. April is excited to continue her education at Northwestern University. She hopes to expand her data science knowledge and skill set through courses and hands-on projects offered by the MSiA* program. After completing the master’s program, she hopes to become a data scientist and solve business problems.

*later renamed MS in Machine Learning and Data Science