2023 Undergraduate Student Spotlights Claire Knutson

Claire Knutson

Hometown: Chetek, WI

Year in School: Junior

Interests/Hobbies: I enjoy baking, going to the gym, and spending time with friends and family.

Involvements/Employment/Activities: I am an academic coach through the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement. I am also the 2023-2024 President of the Women in Economics Club at UW-Madison.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is the terrace at Memorial Union. I enjoy being able to study or spend time with my friends by the lake. It’s a great spot to grab some food or ice cream too.

What has been your favorite Econ course?

My favorite econ course was Econ 301, Intermediate Microeconomic Theory, with David Johnson. I enjoyed going deeper into theories learned in Econ 101 and using math to back up the different theories.

If you have any other majors or certificates in addition to Econ, how did you decide to add Econ or add the other major/certificate?

I added Data Science as a second major between my sophomore and junior year. I took CS220 and experienced coding for the first time. I really enjoyed learning a new way of thinking and problem solving and immediately knew I wanted to continue learning more about data science.

How do you manage your course load?

I manage my course load by choosing a mix of harder and easier courses each semester. I also prioritize getting any homework assignments or studying done when I have any free time in order to turn in assignments early and to not have pressure to finish them by a deadline.

Where did you intern/research, and did you have a good experience? Why or why not?

Between my Sophomore and Junior year, I had an internship at a lobbying, investment, and law firm in Washington DC. I enjoyed my time experiencing a new city; however, I learned that I really enjoy doing more quantitative work than qualitative work. This encouraged me to pursue data science as a second major and has led me to a Data Engineering internship that I will be completing this summer which I am looking forward to.

What advice do you have for students seeking an internship/research experience?

I think it’s important to go to the career advising department and have the advisors help to look over your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letter. I also found it beneficial to start looking early and do your best to network with people from your desired company at career fairs or on LinkedIn.

Do you know what you want to do after graduation? If yes, what? If not, what advice would you give to another student who may not know either?

I know that after graduation I would like to work with data as a data analyst or data engineer. I think it is important to utilize every opportunity presented in college regarding experiences and school. You never know what you might end up having a passion for.