Lucy Graduate Scholars Launch Lucy CONNECT Series

Lucy Connect series December

The Lucy Graduate Scholars are excited to announce the launch of the Lucy CONNECT Series. This new initiative will focus on connecting graduate students across all disciplines with academics and industry leaders in various data-driven fields through several panel discussions. The purpose of the panels is two-fold: first, to highlight the importance and benefits of industry-academia collaborations, and second, to explore the similarities and differences between academia and industry in each field.

These lunchtime events will bring together professionals from industry and academia to discuss the challenges and opportunities that arise when academia and industry work together on data-focused problems. These events will provide graduate students with a deeper understanding of the real-world applications of their research and the potential impact it can have on society. 

The first event in the series was held on December 2nd, 2022 and focused on Data & Technology. The panelists for this event included  Dr. John Behrens, Dr. Monisha Ghosh, Matt Harrison, and Dr. Yanfang (Fanny) Ye

The panelists drew from their experiences to explain the benefits of industry-academia collaborations. Matt Harrison, the Director of Design and Business Intelligence at CHaSE Manufacturing, discussed how academic collaborations benefit industry: “[In industry], you don’t really have a lot of time to research… so the collaborations assist by providing those extra assets that [you] don’t necessarily have.” He went on to explain, “It’s really about trying to make it better for our employees long term.” Dr. Ghosh, currently a Professor of Electrical Engineering who recently completed a term as Chief Technology Officer at the Federal Communications Commission, added an academic perspective to these collaborations: “I think collaborations with industry, for any kind of engineering, are absolutely essential because the really hard and interesting problems are the ones that you come across when you’re talking to people in industry and [seeing] what they’re facing in the real world.”

The panelists also discussed differences between working in academia and industry. Dr. Behrens, currently a Professor of the Practice of Digital Learning and formerly Vice President of AI Product Development at Pearson, talked about the different focus of academia and industry: “Typically, academia fosters deep experts rather than broad generalists. In industry, however, generalist are often highly valued for making connections across groups and they say ‘oh, you bring a lot to the table!’” Dr. Ye, currently a Collegiate Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering with significant prior experience in industry leadership roles, added her thoughts as well: “When you work in industry, you can see what is really needed, and your research, your product, or your service can be turned into reality… To provide that to millions of people is greatly fulfilling.” However, she continued, “you may not have the luxury to think about a particular problem in more depth… and you have few chances to explore other fields if it’s not directly related to the company’s mission.”

Are you interested in hearing more of this discussion but were unable to attend this event? An audio recording of the event can be found here. You are also invited to attend the future events in the series.

The next event in the Lucy CONNECT Series will be held on Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 12:00 pm in 1030 Jenkins Nanovic Hall and will focus on Data & Education. The third event in the series will center on Data & Health and is scheduled for April 13, 2023 at 11:30 am. In addition to the Lucy CONNECT Series, the Graduate Lucy Scholars are also hosting a Collaboration Hour Series, and all are welcome to attend. Interested in these events? Click here to join the mailing list to hear about ongoing Lucy events or contact to get added to the Lucy Graduate Student Slack.

To learn more about the application process to become a Lucy Graduate Scholar, please visit the Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society website.