The MSDS Student Leadership Council

The Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) at Northwestern University is one of the fastest growing and most established Data Science programs in the United States. The purpose of MSDS Student Leadership Council (SLC) is to help foster relationships among students in the program, alumni, and world-renowned industry professionals. The MSDS SLC creates opportunities and events that allow students and alumni of the program to grow their knowledge of Data Science and their professional networks. ​ Visit our SPS Graduate Program Events page to learn more about past and upcoming events.

Applications for 2022-2023

Applications are now closed.  Thank you to all who expressed interest and applied for various roles in the SLC.  We hope that all students and alumni apply for board positions or seek other ways to engage with the SLC in the future.

For more information about the MSDS Student Leadership Council and student events and opportunities, please see the FAQs or CONTACT SLC below.



Vision Statement

Graduates of Northwestern’s Master of Science in Data Science will feel a sense of comradery with their classmates and a deep understanding of the Data Science field in practice.

Mission Statement

The MSDS Student Leadership Council strives to serve the program by broadening awareness of Data Science in practice and building a sense of community in the graduate program.


2022–2023 MSDS Student Leadership Council Members


Bob Henkins

Bob Henkins

Bob is an Associate Director of Analytics/Senior Systems Engineer working for Northwestern University in the Enrollment Data Analytics department, which he helped to create.  He is a proven leader with extensive experience working in information technology as well as data science. When not working on the continuous analytic projects, Bob enjoys spending time with his wife and four children as well as taking on various remodeling projects around the house.

Email  |  LinkedIn



Andrew D'Amico

Andy D'Amico

Andrew is a partner within Northwestern Analytics Partners, LLLP and responsible for their GIS and Business Analytics clients. Andrew is very active with the Project Management Institute and concurrently serves as the Director of Executive Outreach for the Chicagoland chapter.  In his free time, he enjoys the gym and philosophical conversations with his friends on subjects such as ethics and artificial intelligence.

Email   |  LinkedIn



Becca Hilderbrand

Rebecca Hilderbrand

Rebecca currently works as a Consultant with EY in the Digital Grid practice. At EY, she supports clients plan and implement large-scale electric grid projects relating to grid modernization, DER-related activities, and data analytics. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys solving problems while rock climbing, traveling to new destinations, and listening to business start-up podcasts. 

Email  |  LinkedIn 



Murphy Freal

Murphy Freal

Murphy currently works as a research analyst for an economic consulting law firm in Washington D.C. In her role, she extracts data from legal documents to create economic impact reports for environmental and product liability litigation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cheering on Washington sports teams, and adding on to her extensive mug collection.

Email  |  LinkedIn 


Contact the MSDS Student Leadership Council

We love hearing from you! Do you have questions or feedback for us? Please feel free to contact us via the form below. A member of the council will respond to your inquiry shortly.


MSDS Student Leadership Council FAQs

How are Student Leadership Council (SLC) members selected?

  1. The MSDS Student Leadership Council was approved and established in fall of 2019 and the inaugural members were selected for the first term (2020–21). Students and alumni are informed of the application and selection process in the fall of each year. The roles are staggered, so every year there are positions that need to be filled.
  2. The selection process includes the following:
      • Application
      • Statement of Purpose
      • Résumé
      • Interview with Faculty Advisor, Administrator Advisor and SLC Members
  3. A rubric is used to assess each applicant and includes behavioral questions and questions about leadership experience.

What is the purpose of the SLC?

Vision Statement: Graduates of Northwestern’s Master of Science in Data Science will feel a sense of comradery with their classmates and a deep understanding of the Data Science field in practice.

Mission Statement: The MSDS Student Leadership Council strives to serve the program by broadening awareness of Data Science in practice and building a sense of community in the graduate program.

SLC aims to achieve its mission and vision by conducting events and projects. Some past projects include:

  • Career Data Science Events
  • Data Science Case Study Events
  • Establishing a communication and relationship management platform
  • Engaging alumni and students through activities (e.g.: MSDS t-shirt campaign, etc.)

Is SLC a volunteer-based organization?

Yes, these are student and alumni volunteers. Each member is committed to a two-year term per the role and responsibility.

What are the roles and responsibilities of each SLC position?

At a high-level, each SLC member is responsible for the following:

  • Serving their role for a two-year term, regardless of the graduation status.  
  • Members must attend regular meetings as determined by the SLC and a SLC meeting with Faculty Advisors and Administrator Advisors on a monthly basis.
  • Each member must be responsible for tasks, activities and projects that is pertinent to their overall responsibility, in addition to supporting SLC as needed.
  • Central representative of SLC
  • Determines SLC priorities with input from members
  • Delegate tasks to SLC members and follow up
  • Ensure continuation of SLC for following years
  • Be present for all events
  • Ensure all tasks for events and initiatives are completed
Vice President
  • Lead the scheduling and execution of SLC meetings
  • Provide logistical assistance
  • Assist President with following up on member tasks
  • Act in place of President when needed
  • Keep minutes from all meetings
Communications Chair
  • Ensure event information is distributed through the CRM application
  • Aide in managing and promoting activities on various social media platforms
  • Manage the database and ensure its accuracy
Event Coordinator Chair
  • Lead coordination of events including contacting presenters
  • Provide logistical assistance and ensure tasks for events are completed
  • Act as host at events
Finance Chair
  • Track all expenses and keep SLC informed
  • Work directly with vendors on purchase orders or events
  • Make sure to collect invoices for payment
Alumni Chair
  • Manage contact of alumni and capture active students when they are completing the program
  • Ensure alumni are involved and participate in various SLC events and projects
  • Act as contact for alumni that want to become involved

What do SLC members formally agree to with their participation?

In addition to adhering to their specific responsibilities, each SLC member must sign the University established bylaws that covers items such as, non-discriminatory policies, decorum, and etc.

How can comments or feedback be shared with the SLC?

The best way to contact SLC is to complete the contact form via the MSDS SLC webpage on the School of Professional Studies (SPS) website.

Can SLC merchandise be purchased?

No. However, students are entered into drawings where they are eligible to receive MSDS SLC merchandise when they register for and attend program events.

Does SLC collect student or alumni information?

  • In an effort to engage and grow the alumni community, we ask for general information (e.g.: name, phone, email, professional information, etc.) prior to graduation. This allows SLC to contact alumni and keep them informed of events and activities after their graduation. Most alumni do not keep their Northwestern email address active so it is difficult to connect with them after the program.
  • SLC adheres to the School of Professional Studies privacy policy.

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