Music + Stats Add Up for Young Alumna

Devon Bradshaw with violin
Devon Bradshaw

When Devon Bradshaw (B.A., music and statistics, ’17) was growing up in a one-bedroom apartment with a single mother in Hollywood, she spent over two years listening to her neighbor down the hall teaching the violin–and pleading with her mother for lessons.

“When my mom agreed, I began my journey of learning to play the violin. I went from feeling different as a little girl with divorced parents to finding myself among a community of artists at my high school. Playing music helped me cope with my childhood feelings and led me to feel embraced by a talented group of people,” she said.

Devon’s early musical experience and her love of numbers came together in her choice of a double major in music and statistics. Fresh out of college, Devon shares her thoughts on choosing her majors and her plans for the future.

From Where I Sit

by Devon Bradshaw

As I moved into my freshman dorm, I had two main academic goals: get a degree in music, and get a degree in another field of interest. Since I had been playing the violin for 11 years by this point, and I remained incredibly passionate about music, a degree in music was an obvious choice for me. Discovering another area of interest seemed to be the more daunting task.

You never know how many times you are going to change your mind when UC Davis offers so many possibilities. The question is which opportunity do you take? To find my answer, I decided to dabble in different departments, thinking back to what fields interested me most growing up. After a couple of years jumping from psychology to cognitive science to computer science, plus consulting with friends over late-night talks, I landed in the lap of the statistics department.

When I started the statistics major, I tried to decide which industry I wanted to go into for data analytics. One course in particular set me down my path: “Applied Time Series Analysis.” This course introduced me to techniques used to analyze trends and forecast future data.

As I took this course, I became curious about how I could apply my knowledge. I am interested in the effects of music education on childhood development, so I realized I could use these techniques to analyze the effects of an arts education on students’ academic careers. This sparked my desire to work with educators to use the arts to maximize each student’s experience and success.

From faculty to student support, the resources offered at UC Davis have been instrumental in shaping and solidifying my career goals. I will be forever grateful for these opportunities.

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