KENNESAW, Ga. | Jul 17, 2023
It was happenstance that a Kennesaw State student realized her calling for both nursing and numbers.
Trinity Johnson, a nursing major from Stone Mountain, Ga., for Spring semester needed to satisfy an elective course requirement for the KSU Journey Honors College and stumbled upon a class in data science. During that course Johnson uncovered a raw talent for analytics and ended up being the youngest student to place in the highly competitive data science competition at KSU held on what is called Analytics Day.
“I have a really good memory,” Johnson said. “Our professor would walk us through the steps, and I would be able to repeat the steps through memory. Despite zero familiarity with the subject, I found the homework enjoyable and always looked forward to tackling it.”
For the competition, undergraduate and graduate students must create a poster presentation reflecting what they had worked on during the semester. Johnson used her passion for nursing and did a deep dive into the analytics on life expectancy and predictors for longevity.
Johnson spent so much time on the project that she said it came down to the wire to submit it.
“I had multiple laptops open, I was still finalizing the poster, and I only had a few minutes to go,” she said. “But I got it in.”
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), medical breakthroughs for better health can be substantially accelerated through data science.
Johnson is proving to be a leader in understanding the value of marrying the fields of nursing and data science. She gives a great deal of credit to her data science professor Nicole Carder.
“I could tell Trinity had started to understand how impactful data analysis is in uncovering information that could be used to benefit millions of people,” Carder said. “I know without a doubt she will accomplish great things.”
Despite hours of rehearsal, Johnson said she had to give herself multiple pep talks before her big presentation.
“I heard Professor Carder’s voice in my head reminding me that nobody is expecting me to be perfect,” Johnson said. “I am the youngest person here. It’s good that I’m just trying. It’s okay if I mess up.”
When Johnson’s name was called as runner-up in the competition, she said she remained still for a moment.
“I was in shock,” she said. “I honestly thought they made a mistake.”
As she went on stage and was subsequently presented with a check for $500, the realization of her accomplishment sank in, and her joy became palpable. She called her mom on FaceTime upon exiting the stage to share in her excitement.
“My mom wasn’t even that surprised though,” Johnson said. “She is the most optimistic person I know.”
Johnson is proud of herself for being so young and inexperienced in data science but pushing herself to succeed. The experience has transformed her path. In addition to her nursing major, she is now also pursuing a minor in data science and analytics.
“I want to see what I can do in both these fields together,” she said. “It’s important.”
– By Amanda Cook
Photos by Darnell Wilburn
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.