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Taking Science and Data Analysis to the Next Level, Together

Kara and Sophia Ebbutt

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Data Analysis and Communication

When Kara Ebbutt ’96 set her sights on earning a Ph.D., she never thought the path would lead her to return to Agnes Scott College or attend school at the same time as her daughter.

But that’s precisely what happened. 

Kara is pursuing a master’s degree in Data Analysis and Communication from Agnes Scott. Sophia Ebbutt ‘24 is in the middle of her third year as an undergraduate in the dual degree program. She’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Agnes Scott in May and then move on to the Georgia Institute of Technology for two years to earn another bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering. 

Since Kara is doing her work remotely from her home in Beaverton, Oregon, there’s no chance she’ll run into Sophia on campus. But when she gets emails about upcoming events on campus, she’ll tease her daughter about attending – from one student to another.

Kara graduated from Agnes Scott with a degree in physics and went into the software field. After taking a break to raise her two daughters, she returned to the workforce when Sophia was in middle school. As her girls got older – Sophia’s younger sister will be heading to college in fall 2023 – Kara decided it would be a good time to return to school. 

“I began looking at master’s programs to help me get a feel for what might hold my interest in a doctoral program,” Kara says. “I took into account the degree I already had, my interests and my future goals.” 

She settled on data analysis and was surprised – and pleased – that Agnes Scott offered a graduate degree in data analysis and communication.

“Based on my undergraduate experience, I knew the level of instruction I would get would be top notch and that I would come out with more than just a degree,” Kara says. “I would immediately be able to apply what I was learning to the work I do in the future.”

Kara began the graduate program in the fall of 2021. Some of the graduate classes were already in an online format and she asked if the college would consider a fully remote option since she was in Oregon. They agreed. Since then, Agnes Scott has updated their graduate curriculum to meet the growing demand for flexibility. Now, the college offers three master’s programs, several certificate programs fully online, and two master’s programs and several certificate programs in person on campus.

“In working with everyone at Agnes Scott, they have been so welcoming and so supportive,” she says. “You are part of a community, not just a consumer of education.”

Agnes Scott College’s Master of Science degree in Data Analysis and Communication prepares students to combine data analysis with effective communication strategies to deliver answers to the most compelling questions.

“There is no subjectivity in data. That’s why I loved physics and math – it’s just numbers. To me, it’s fascinating. Organizing data brings a sense of order and calm that is wonderful.”

Kara Ebbutt

Sophia Ebbutt '24 and Kara Ebbutt '96

She intends to earn a Ph.D. in human-centered design and hopes to one day create an app that teaches critical thinking skills. 

“My time at Agnes Scott will be used to define the research and timeline for development,” Kara says. “I have to determine whether or not it’s even remotely feasible!”

Sophia says people ask her if it ever bothers her that her mother is at the same school as she is at the same time. She’s not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. 

“I’m very excited my mother finally decided to get a graduate degree,” Sophia says. “She’s been talking about it for a while. I think it’s very impressive that she’s gone back to school.”

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