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By: Daniel Nicholson-Gardner

Dart Scholar Reflects: Living large in Chicago

Dart Scholar Reflects: Living large in Chicago

My final year at Indiana University during a pandemic created uncertainty and anxiety. I am thankful to be a part of the Class of 2021, but at the same time, I feel some of the best parts of university, the graduation celebrations, bidding farewell to close friends as we all went our separate ways, were taken from my classmates and me.

Landing a job during a pandemic was no easy feat. It wasn’t until I had attended several interviews where recruiters questioned me about my four years of summer work-experience with Dart Labs that I realised just how valuable those summers were. Working at Dart during my summers taught me to problem-solve and work in teams. I attended meetings and interacted with tech professionals which, in hindsight, lessened my anxiety of the unknown going into my first real-world job and work environment.

Looking back at my eighth-grade self, writing my application essay for Dart’s high school scholarship, my goal to become an analyst has been realised. Growing up, technology had a big influence for me, whether it was a laptop, phone or building tech projects with my friends — the passion was always there. Today, as a business intelligence analyst with Epsilon Data in Chicago, my job has me immersed in technology, data analytics and helping clients find ways to improve automation.

So far, living in Chicago has been amazing. The city has lots to offer. From the food scene to entertainment and outdoor activities, I find myself busy taking it all in. Sometimes I take transit around the city just for fun. I don’t mind the cooler climate; however, I do get some strange looks when I wear my shorts and flip-flops to the gym in 32-degree weather.

I have no regrets about the choices I made to pursue a degree and career in a tech-related field. Having a part in building great technology that simplifies lives or actively solves problems is extremely rewarding.

I pay close attention to Cayman’s emerging tech industry, in particular, areas such as blockchain. Ultimately, I believe that's where my interests will lead me in the future.

Daniel Nicholson-Gardner was the 2013 Dart High School Scholar and the 2017 William A. Dart Memorial University Scholar.

This article appears in print in the December 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times.

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