Data Science Students Win Another National Competition

Data Science Students Win Another National Competition

Like Top 40 radio, the hits just keep on coming from students in the College’s Department of Computer Science. The latest achievement comes courtesy of data science students Xandre Clementsmith and Jacob Mattox. This duo won a $2,000 cash prize and a trip to San Francisco in last year’s Wells Fargo Campus Analytics Challenge. They’ll soon be heading out West to claim their winnings.

Clementsmith, a freshman triple major in math, data science and psychology, and Mattox, a junior computer science major with a minor in data science, excelled in the competition, besting nearly all of the 81 teams entered. Only four teams were deemed winners in their division, including those from NYU, Texas Tech, and Illinois Institute of Technology.

In the competition, which was held virtually, each of the teams were given a large data set and the following instructions: “In today’s ever-changing technology environment, customers prefer quick and seamless interactions with their financial institute. Senior leaders at Wells Fargo are looking for a new product, service, or application that will improve the overall customer experience. Based on your analysis of the data, what recommendations do you have for senior leaders at Wells Fargo?”

RELATED: Find out how two CofC computer science students took first place in the Charleston Defense Contractors Association Mobile App Competition.

Jacob Mattox (left) and Xandre Clementsmith, two data science students who won the Wells Fargo Campus Analytics Challenge.

The teams had two options. They could choose to create a simple blueprint analytics plan (Option A – prize: $1,000) or create a fully developed solution (Option B – prize: $2,000 and trip to San Francisco). Mattox and Clementsmith opted for the latter.

When asked about winning the competition, Clementsmith credits his first semester experiences at the College.

“I never expected that I’d be entering a national data science competition during my first semester of college,” says Clementsmith. “Still, during the first week of class I found myself learning about about this topic in one of the best ways
possible – by practicing it. For the first few months of last semester, Jacob and I worked on business ideas, statistical methods, data manipulation and many other subjects to create a working, data-based product for Wells Fargo.”

RELATED: Read about how computer science students are consistent leaders in the Association of Computing Machinery’s annual International Collegiate Programming Contest.

Clementsmith says he also never expected that his and Mattox’s work would win the competition and that they would be heading out to San Francisco. The two students, who worked on this project under the tutelage of Paul Anderson, the director of the College’s data science program, will be attending the Wells Fargo Analytics Summit when they travel to California in March.

“Winning this competition speaks to the wonderful students that we have at the College,” says Anderson. “Both Xandre and Jacob did a fantastic job and really embraced this experiential learning opportunity. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

During their stay in San Francisco, the duo will connect with senior business and technology leaders at Wells Fargo, make a presentation of their product and its use, and attend an awards ceremony.

“It’s fantastic that I’ve already had the opportunity to connect with businesses as an undergraduate,” adds Clementsmith.