Meet Garrett Stemmler. Garrett graduated with two undergraduate degrees in Economics and Mathematics in 2020 and continued at Chapman to receive his M.S. in Computational & Data Sciences in 2021. The interdisciplinary nature of the two subjects of Garrett’s undergraduate degrees allowed him to develop a well-rounded understanding of analytical thinking, problem-solving, and data-driven decision-making.
Garrett’s Post-Grad Experience
Garrett works as a Machine Learning Developer at Realty Income in San Diego, California. The company is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that invests in free-standing, single-tenant commercial properties. Garrett says “My current role as a Machine Learning Developer lets me design, develop, and implement machine learning models and algorithms tailored to address specific changes in commercial real estate. This may involve tasks such as regression analysis, classification, clustering, or time series forecasting. I also monitor the performance of deployed machine learning models, identify and address issues, and perform period model updates or retraining as necessary.” Garrett also collaborates cross-functionally with different teams at Realty Income, including data scientists, analysts, business stakeholders, and more.
Stemmler says that the Argyros School prepared him for his post-grad career by allowing him to merge his analytical background through mathematics coupled with business knowledge through his economics degree. He says that the “combination of math and business/economics in my college education has prepared me with a strong foundation in analytical thinking, quantitative analysis, financial literacy, decision-making, business acumen, and effective communication. These skills serve me well as I transitioned to the professional world and pursue opportunities where I can leverage my expertise in both fields.”
Garrett’s Chapman Experience
During his time at Chapman, Garrett played on Chapman’s lacrosse team for four years, where he was Captain during the shortened 2020 season. “Through lacrosse, I was able to meet a lot of good people and was able to teach me many valuable life lessons that play a significant role in my professional career,” he says. “Teamwork, discipline, perseverance, leadership, and competitiveness are just a few of the many ways lacrosse has influenced my career trajectory. The experiences and qualities I gained from the sport continue to shape my approach to work…”
Influential People & Professors
For Garrett, there were many people and professors that shaped his Chapman experience. These include math professors Dr. Peter Jipsen and Dr. Mohamed Allali who helped hone his love for mathematics and research. Argyros professors Tim Frenzel and Dr. David Porter shaped how Garrett was able to combine business and economics with deep and complicated mathematical models. Further, Garrett says that “Dallas Hartley and AJ Rafter taught me many valuable life lessons under their leadership as coaches.” And finally, Nicholas Totah and Ethan Smith were very influential for Garrett during his time at Chapman and he says “They both are now doing exceptional things in their respective fields.”
Garrett couldn’t decide on a single class to pick as a favorite, so he has two answers. The first was a mandatory freshman class that he took called ‘Intro to Moneyball.’ The class was taught by Dr. Ken Murphy and Garrett says that “in this class, we learned about common statistical analysis tools such as a linear regression but we applied these analyses to sports data. This is one of my favorite classes because it somewhat started my love for data science and analytics and being able to use data to come up with a solution or solve a problem.”
Garrett’s other favorite class, although in no way was it easy, was Econometrics with Professor Tim Frenzel. He says that “it was a very data and statistical-analysis heavy class in which we used the programming language ‘R’ and combined the theories we learned in other courses and tested them on real-life scenarios.” Garrett specifically remembers his final project for the course, which was an empirical research study looking into forecasting the return for REITs. At this time, he was looking into working in the real estate sector, and this class and project solidified his interest and is why he ultimately ended up working at a REIT today.
Advice from Garrett
Garrett’s advice to students looking to take a similar path would be to “first build a solid foundation in relevant programming languages such as Python or R, data analysis, and statistical modeling. Then I would say to embrace continuous learning as Data Science and Machine Learning is a newer field. It is crucial to stay updated with the latest trends, tools, and techniques. I’d say making a habit of continuous learning and wanting to learn more and more played an enormous role in where I am today.”
Garrett’s last piece of advice would be to take on personal projects related to machine learning, data science, or artificial intelligence (AI) to showcase your skills, creativity, and ability to solve real-world problems.