A data-driven path to graduation, and what graduation means to me


It's that time of year. Caps and gowns, photos and parties. Time to begin a career or go off to college. For those starting a career the learning is over, right? Well, for those of us in the work force we know first-hand, this isn't the reality if you want to succeed.

Before we reached that point, though, there were times where our education could have taken a different path...a path that didn't allow us to reach our potential. Or maybe that WAS the path we ended up on and we've succeeded anyway, but maybe not in the way we would have. What does this have to do with data?

A student's likelihood of ending up in a college major or career in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) areas often hinges on whether the student takes Algebra in 8th grade. By analyzing their math testing history, it is possible to predict the student's chance for success in 8th grade Algebra. (SAS® EVAAS® for K-12 is used for such analyses.) Shouldn't schools have this information...shouldn't parents? Even if the kid ends up choosing to be a personal spacecraft salesman (“Prices that are OUT OF THIS WORLD!”), wouldn’t it be great for them to have the option of a STEM career?

On a personal but related note...I had the opportunity to witness a boot camp graduation ceremony for Marines. At the time, my brother was a Marine Corps Drill Instructor. I commented that the graduating Marines must be glad that boot camp was finally over. Yes, it was tough and they go through a lot to earn the title of US Marine but as my brother said: "The real training happens after boot camp and continues every day they are a US Marine." It's that kind of dedication, commitment and unrelenting pursuit for improvement and learning that keep the Marines strong. This is also true for anyone who wants to succeed in life.

So I began to think of all of my graduations. I had the typical high school and college graduations. Then I thought about my marriage and the birth of our son. I consider each a graduation since both have taught me so much. Then I thought about all of the jobs I've held along the way. The mentors I've had who've helped me aim high, reach deep and learn more. Each new job brought new responsibilities which required an increased level of skill and knowledge....and it still continues today. I've graduated many times and I intend to graduate many more. What about you?


About Author

Lindia Harbaugh

State & Local Government Director of Operations

As Director of Business Development & Operations for State & Local Government at SAS, Lindia Harbaugh helms SAS’ development efforts in the vertical industries within state and local governments and manages the operations of the State and Local Government business unit at SAS. Lindia has over 20 years experience structuring, negotiating and administering contracts in federal, state and local government. Prior to joining SAS, she worked for global companies in the telecommunications industry, including Alcatel and Sumitomo. Lindia is an active board member for the Granville Education Foundation, which raises money to bring 21st century technology into the classroom in Granville County schools. She holds a degree in business administration from Wesleyan College and an associate's degree in computer programming from Bristol Community College.

1 Comment

  1. Very true. I think you learn more from trial and error and mistakes made then anything else in life. I think the mindset needs to be, the Tripe L mindset - Life Long Learning - to constantly grow and reach new levels! Great article.

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