When you’re a small but growing business like ours, hiring can be a nerve-wracking experience. Each hire amounts to a double-digit-percentage growth in the employee base, and that means each new employee can still have a significant impact on the overall culture, positively or negatively. That’s why we place such an emphasis on team fit and “soft” skills. Many people have wonderful technical skills, but not many have those skills coupled with strong communication skills, adaptability, and someone-I’d-like-to-hang-out-with-ness. Fortunately for us, we found a math whiz from Alaska who fits those characteristics in spades. We’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our team: Nick Bell!
DTA: Tell us about yourself:
Nick Bell: My educational background is in mathematics. I studied both applied and pure mathematics at the University of Anchorage, Alaska. I had so many interests during my youth and mathematics was relevant to them all, so I felt it was a natural place to begin. What I found in my explorations of mathematics and its studies was that it was so misunderstood. People often dislike math for very similar reasons regardless of age, but many don’t realize that what they dislike is a very small part of mathematics as a whole. I learned as well that communication was an essential, and often overlooked, skill of a good mathematician. For these reasons I pursued my Master of Teaching in Mathematics and spent some time teaching. I felt it was a necessary step for me to learn how we understand and utilize math so that I could better communicate with it diversely.
I traveled and moved frequently when I was younger but found my home in Alaska. Alaska has been a welcoming and wonderful home, but I am excited by the warm welcome that Minnesota and Minnesotans have offered me. It already feels like another home.
DTA: Why the transition to healthcare and data analytics?
NB: Healthcare has been one of my strong interests for some time. I find it to be a tremendously vital industry, and I want to see what part I can play in making it better for future generations. I have been shown that mathematics and technology have been underutilized in healthcare, especially when it comes to data and its utilization.
I believe math is like a language, and because of that I see data as part of the vocabulary. Like any language, math and data can be extremely personal and is easily influenced by who is speaking. From how I see it, healthcare data analytics is an area where understanding the importance of personal variables in the data can make a vast amount of positive change for many lives. That idea truly excites me, and I hope that I can use my (admittedly quirky) love of mathematics to be a part of those positive changes.
DTA: When you aren’t doing math or diving into data analytics, what do you do for fun?
NB: Yes, I do actually like to take a step away from my screens and see the daylight from time to time. One of my favorite activities, but unfortunately rare, is playing soccer. But I really enjoy the outdoors. If that’s in the form of soccer, hiking, or the chance fishing or crabbing trip, I’m just happy to be out there.
If I am stuck inside, I find that I often have a difficult time sitting still! In cases like that I like to pick up my pen and pretend that I can doodle. Some seem to turn out all right. Truthfully, I just draw the same characters repeatedly!
One other thing I truly enjoy is going to the movies. I really love finding weird and unique theaters that keep up with new movies. I’ll go see movies I’ve seen already, ones I have no interest in, or even ones I’ve never heard of! I just really enjoy spending time discussing the movie with friends and loved ones, whether that’s in sheer excitement of the greatness of a movie, or if it’s in a shared laughter of the perfect lousiness of a bad one.
DTA: Anything else you want to share?
NB: I would just like to share with everyone how much joy and excitement I am filled with to be a part of this team. I have much to learn, but I am looking forward to the challenges ahead. Everyone here at DTA, and so many of the people I have met in Minneapolis, have welcomed me with open arms. I am grateful for everyone’s kindness.
Anytime anyone is interested in hearing more about me or Alaska, I am happy to talk!