Adjunct Faculty Spotlight – Brandon Bean

Welcome to the first in a series of posts shining a spotlight on our adjunct faculty members. Maryville wouldn’t be the same without the dedication, expertise, and diverse real-world experiences of our adjunct faculty. Let’s start off by getting to know Brandon Bean, professor of data science.

How long have you been at Maryville?
I have been with Maryville since 2021.

What interested you in becoming an adjunct faculty member?
Working with industry as an Active Duty military officer, I realized a gap between what was actually needed in Data Science skills and what was being projected or proposed by companies. the Department of Defense was not an early adopter of what is modern-day Data Science, and as data needs and generation grew, so did the appetite for data-centric and data-driven cultures. These were difficult to foster. So, I decided one of the best ways to ensure the quality and maturity of the talent needed was to start in academia. I became an adjunct to have a direct impact on the talent being introduced to the Data Analytical and Data Science workforces.

What is your proudest Maryville moment?
I think my proudest Maryville moment is when I was able to make a direct impact on a student that was frustrated with where their education was going, and lost motivation. The student was ready to drop from the program and wasn’t getting the results they expected in their job search. I worked with the student to come up with some actionable objectives they could take, reviewed their resume, and set up weekly mentoring sessions to keep them moving in a forward and positive direction. It not only kept them engaged and, in the program, but ultimately ended up getting them a job soon after graduation. I like seeing others win. It drives me to do better.

What is something unique about you?
Wow. This one is hard. I don’t believe that there is anything unique about me. I have had some rather unique experiences, though. In the latter part of my military career, I did some great things with some really great patriots in several national-level agencies. Tip of the spear-type things. Those were very rewarding moments. I still cherish those and engage in those levels of work effort today.

I was featured in a book on the U.S. Army 9-11 to Iraq. A random photographer took my photo as I boarded the USNS Yano to head to what would become Operation Iraqi Freedom. At the time, it was just me and my helicopter going to support some training operations in Kuwait. After I returned from over nine months of combat, one of my peers was in a Barnes and Noble and called me and said, “Hey dude, you are in a freakin’ book!” I was pleasantly shocked. I was also featured on CBS Morning News and a few other syndicated news channels when I eulogized my grandmother, who raised me and passed of cancer while I was in Iraq. I had a CBS producer embedded with me and my aircraft, as I was the flight crew that flew the 3rd Infantry Division Commander. He did a video and, while promising only that my family would get it, surprised me when he showed me that it aired nationally on the news. A crew from CBS in Columbus, Ohio drove to my small town and played it at the funeral home during the funeral. It was very touching.

I also had the opportunity to brief several different House and Senate Select committees in the latter years of my career on the effects of big data and the AI arms race. A very rewarding experience to get to educate their minds and be interrogated on my bonafides, experience, and opinions on what the nation and our Defense Department should do to stay competitive and win the race. And while these were all unique experiences, I am by no means a unique person. I would like to add that I learn from my students as much as they learn from me. I am impressed with the caliber of students Maryville brings to their programs and the depth and breadth of their diversity and backgrounds. It is a true honor to be part of this community and to say I am a Maryville Adjunct.

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