Today, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of high school students at a community outreach event sponsored by the Human Resources division at SAS. Approximately 80 students from schools as far away as Charlotte came to visit SAS and hear about the impact that SAS and analytics is having in their world.
It was a terrific event: they were welcomed by SAS VP Jenn Mann; they heard directly from Zoe and Sky about Wildtrack's efforts and their use of JMP and SAS; they heard Anne Hawley (SAS PreSales team) speak about her relatively recent rise through high school, college, grad school, up to her present-day career as a statistician at SAS. They also listened to me speak about the data that is ripe for analysis on Facebook and on everyone's favorite online movie rental service. (The students are now intimately familiar with my movie rental history and habits.)
What struck me: how smart these kids are. At one point in my presentation, I showed an example of a box-and-whisker plot and asked "who here can explain how to read this graph?" Because, seriously, I needed someone else to explain it. And there were students that raised their hands and offered an excellent description (which I will promptly forget, as I always do).
I showed an example of a program. Almost half the students recognized it as a SAS program. How old were you when you saw your first SAS program? (Was it a stack of punch cards? Wait, don't answer that.)
I also provided a link to this blog and asked them to check it out. So if you're a student who participated today...thanks for listening and for coming to visit!
SAS has always treated students especially well. They are our future workforce and customers, and I think SAS realizes it's worthwhile to invest in their education. I'm sure I learned as much as they did today. For example, what's the link between SAS and Oreos? (Hint: it's not that we both have a delicious creamy center, although that was definitely an interesting answer.)