At the Fowler School of Engineering (FSE), our programs are constructed to offer hands-on learning and showcase the many sectors of the engineering workforce. Our degrees, like data science, open a world of possibilities to our students who are interested in other institutions, such as Major League Baseball (MLB).
Ever since he was young, Jackson Thomas (Data Analytics ‘23) had a tremendous passion for baseball. Thomas pursued his passion for the sport on the field until he turned eighteen. Now, with a data analytics degree under his belt, this Chapman graduate continues to pursue his love for baseball off the field as the Texas Rangers’ Analytics Apprentice.
“I love being able to apply the courses from my degree to my passion. It is easy for me to compare how I viewed and approached baseball pre and post-Data Analytics degree,” shared Thomas.
Community Values Guiding Careers
As every life decision came his way, Thomas prioritized places that supported his value for community. “I liked how Chapman offered smaller classes and had a higher feel for a community than a bigger school”, shared Thomas. For his career, Thomas once again chose a place that shared these values.
“The Rangers had the best combination of culture and development opportunities…I saw an easy path to grow and develop as a baseball mind and analyst while also having the ability to contribute in my first year,” said Thomas.
Q&A with Jackson Thomas
Q: Can you share your current role and responsibilities in this role?
Thomas: I’m an Analytics Apprentice and I solely work on the amateur side for baseball operations. Essentially anything that concerns analytics on evaluating high school and college players for the draft is my primary focus. I work on projects to improve how we evaluate amateur talent ranging from research reports, modeling, and as well as draft strategy evaluation.
Q: What led to your decision to work for the Texas Rangers after graduation?
Thomas: The Rangers had the best combination of culture and development opportunities out of any other MLB team I communicated with. I saw an easy path to grow and develop as a baseball mind and analyst while also having the ability to contribute in my first year.
Q: What excited you the most about your job with Texas Rangers?
Thomas: Focusing all my work on the draft and amateur scouting and analytics. My biggest dream in baseball has always been to be in the war room for the draft and I lived that out this summer. The entire process of the area scout meetings, cross-checker meetings, and draft day were surreal and where I felt like I learned the most. My office, Globe Life Field, is a close second too.
Q: What is your biggest takeaway from your time at Chapman now that you’ve entered the workforce?
Thomas: The biggest takeaway from my time at Chapman is the relationships I created have immense value in my life. Arguably my closest friends came from Chapman and I’ve been fortunate to maintain contact with them even though I can’t see them in day-to-day life anymore. The workforce can get in a repetitive cycle pretty quickly so I’m thankful I can share that experience with them and have people to rely on as I’ve adjusted to it. I’ve been able to embrace new life changes with people by my side who are also going through those changes and I think that’s vastly undervalued.
Q: What are some things you wish you knew earlier going into this process?
Thomas: How long of a slow burn it is to secure the job. There were many stages of interviews and questionnaires that I went through and it was a long process but it was worth it in the end. It’s important to be patient!
Q: What advice do you have for underclassmen who are looking for similar opportunities?
Thomas: My best advice would be to create your own path. Explore projects and research that you feel passionate about where you can showcase your unique skills and way of thinking as an analyst or sports head. Be as authentic and as creative as you can and the rest will take care of itself!
Students looking for exciting career opportunities can visit our Career Center and meet with FSE Career Specialist, Samuel Lee.