#ElonGrad 2022 spotlight: Sam Bacon, statistics and computer science

In this series, Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences is shining the spotlight on distinguished members of the Class of 2022 from a wide array of disciplines.

Honors Fellow Sam Bacon ’22 is a statistics and computer science double major and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Mu Sigma Rho honor societies.

His incoming year, Bacon was selected as the William R. Kenan, Jr. Honors Fellow, which provides a scholarship covering full tuition.

He was also a member of the varsity men’s soccer team all four years, and was team captain his junior and senior years. This spring, he was named Elon’s Scholar Athlete of the Year. In 2021, he received the Colonial Athletic Association Leadership and Sport Excellence Award and was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America’s Academic All-District team.

How did you choose your majors?

I am majoring in statistics with a data analytics concentration and computer science. Growing up, I was always pretty good with numbers and I became interested in the ways that data could be used to solve problems. During my first semester at Elon, I took a statistics course that totally hooked me. I really enjoyed what I was learning and had some fantastic professors, so the decision to major in statistics was an easy one. I discovered computer science a little later in my Elon career. As I took more courses, I realized how well concepts from my statistics and computer science courses paired together. I ended up adding computer science as an additional major because I believe that the skills gained from those fields will be beneficial throughout my career.

What was the topic of your Honors thesis and undergraduate research?

My honors thesis was titled, “Comparisons of Q-Q Plots on Viewer’s Assessment of Normality.” I decided on this topic with my mentor, Dr. Laura Taylor. I presented our findings at SURF Day this spring.

How did your relationship with Associate Professor of Statistics Laura Taylor impact your college experience?

Throughout my time at Elon, I have had the opportunity to work extensively with Dr. Taylor. I took multiple statistics courses with her, and we worked together on my Honors research for two years. This relationship has been one of the highlights of my Elon experience. I have gained so much knowledge about my field of study and how to conduct meaningful research. Most importantly, my conversations with Dr. Taylor have helped me better understand the career that I want to pursue. I am grateful for all of the professors I have worked with at Elon, and I am confident that we will keep in touch after I graduate.

What are your plans following graduation?

This fall, I will be pursuing a Master in Information Systems Management at Carnegie Mellon University. My area of focus will be business intelligence and data analytics.

As you reflect on your undergraduate years, what’s been most valuable to you?

By far, my most valuable takeaways from Elon have been the relationships that I have developed. Through the Honors program and my major classes, I have cultivated friendships with other academically motivated students with similar interests. As I mentioned before, I am also grateful for the close relationships I have with multiple professors across the university.

As an athlete, I have shared a locker room (and a dorm room) with players from all over the world. Over time, these relationships have opened my eyes to other cultures and also forced me to think critically about my own culture and what I believe. Elon has provided me with many fantastic opportunities. I know that I will carry these friendships and relationships with me for the rest of my life.

What advice would you give future Elon students?

Always be willing to meet new people. I have made a lot of meaningful connections with professors, classmates, teammates and other students. These relationships will make your college experience much more enjoyable overall. Additionally, they will likely lead to lifelong friendships and future opportunities.