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Jack Vanourny (2015-2018)

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I am currently a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, studying Math and Computer Science with a minor in the Business of Sports. At school, I am a player on the club basketball team, and am the co-president of our Sports Analytics Club. 

I would love to work in the intersection of sports and data science, and I am particularly interested in how analytics relate to the team-building aspect of a sports organization (similar to the movie Moneyball). This summer I am working with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks as an intern and I hope to work in professional sports for years to come!

I want to develop a couple more career-oriented skills, particularly becoming proficient with more coding languages like C++ and SQL, and additionally learning more about how I can use machine learning to automate programs stronger than human capabilities. I am also currently spending significant time building back our Sports Analytics program at WashU. We were one of the top-performing schools at many competitions (such as SABR, or the Sloan Conference Competitions) before COVID, but we have hit a wall since then. I’m really hoping to build more interest in our club on campus to become recognized as a strong program across the country. 

When I think back on my time at Riverbend, I cherish the memory of off-campus activities like volunteering at the Natick Community Organic Farm, or Elm Bank to help tap trees during maple season, returning months later to collect the sap. Though the work was not the most fun, I will always look back fondly on those trips because of the jokes my friends and I made on the way to and from Elm Bank, and how the service brought our class closer together. It’s hands-on, communal involvement like that which separates the Montessori experience from any other type of school.

For today’s Riverbend students, I encourage them to get involved in more clubs and activities than you think are necessary. You can always cut down on your involvement later on, but it’s important to find at least one or two commitments that you look forward to. The times when I felt the most bored and unfulfilled were my freshman years of both high school and college when I failed to get involved in anything outside of sports.