This entry comes in the form of a letter from Sean Duffy to Angela Dills, who is the project director on the North Carolina Data Dashboard. Sean has contributed as one of four student workers on the Dashboard. He has a great story, only a small slice of which is captured in his endearing letter below. Enjoy.

Dear Dr. Dills,

I wanted to reach out and pass along a thank you letter. I recently moved to Madison, WI, following a dream job for Trek Bicycles Corporation as a full-time Business Intelligence(BI) Analyst.

I want to thank the College of Business at WCU and more importantly, the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise for helping to pave the way to a stellar career. Looking back I realize just how critical my experience from the NC Data Dashboard was in making me an eligible candidate for a mid-senior level position at the world’s largest bicycle company. The minimum requirement for this position was three years in an IT Business Analysis Role with at least two years of hands-on experience working with SQL Server BI tools. I feel confident to say that if it weren’t for the NC Data Dashboard that I wouldn’t of even come close to landing the initial interview. Upon three promising phone screenings, I was scheduled to fly up for an interview and had received a salary offer within 24 hours!

Throughout my interview, I was able to speak clearly and passionately about my work on the NC Data Dashboard and the CIS curriculum. The experiential learning opportunity I gained from my work on the NC Data Dashboard is invaluable and ultimately was the ticket to landing a job of this caliber. Feedback from the interviewers suggested that it was unique to see a recent college graduate with real business level experience using the same software/tools that their company uses. I was able to speak about real business experiences and troubleshooting technical issues rather than a topic or theory learned in a classroom. The CIS curriculum built the necessary foundation for me, but it was the NC Data Dashboard and knowledge gained in the early days of the project from Brad Bergh that shaped me into the perfect candidate.

Lastly, I wanted to thank WCU and CSFE for allowing Daniel Hartness and myself to travel to the World Wide Data Vault Conference to deliver a presentation this past May. This conference brought everything that I have learned and applied over the past four years into a complete circle. I wanted to give a truly heartfelt thank you to everything you all do to make these projects and opportunities possible for students. It’s an honor to of been a part of such a great program and hope to hear of many more success stories from students alike.

I hope you all had a great summer and are ready for another semester!


Sean Duffy

Computer Information Systems

Class of 2019