From Herald Tribune   September 13, 2018   By Ned Lautenbach   Guest Columnist
As chairman of the board that oversees Florida’s 12 public universities, I recently created a new award to recognize “State University System Business Champions” that have outstanding partnerships with our universities. It was my pleasure earlier this week to honor LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which partners with New College of Florida’s Data Science Program.

LexisNexis, which uses Big Data to assess and mitigate risks for its clients, is one of several companies that embed New College’s Data Science students into their workplaces and assign those students to use their skills — including both critical thinking and technical skills — to solve a problem.

To illustrate the point, Nicole Navarro, a recent New College graduate who completed a practicum with LexisNexis in the spring of 2018 and now works for the company as a software engineer, described the project she worked on with the company. It involved overlaying social network data with geographic and health care data to determine the best locations fordrug-diversion programs.

This is an excellent example of how companies can tap into the unique resources at our universities to solve real-world problems — resulting in a win for everyone involved.

In fact, the best part is that Nicole ended up getting valuable professional experience and a great job at an employer right here in Florida, and the company ended up with an employee who has the skills and experience to help meet its goals. Ned Lautenbach is chair of the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida.

Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state’s Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in applied data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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