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ICS Establishes First-Ever Scholarship for Military-Connected Students Through Master of Data Science Program

UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) has launched a Master of Data Science (MDS) Veterans Scholarship for military-connected students. This scholarship – which supports active-duty military, reservists, National Guard and veterans by covering up to 50% of program fees – is the first of its kind in ICS and across the University of California system.

MDS Program Director Bryan Muñoz

According to MDS Program Director Bryan Muñoz, the Veterans Scholarship makes graduate-level education in data science more accessible to military veterans, who are an “underserved community.”

“There’s a need for supporting our active military veterans – legislation often falls short to meet the needs of those who protect our country. A huge motivator for introducing these benefits is that current benefits don’t support professional programs and I thought that we as a community could do more,” says Muñoz.

Veteran Services Center (VSC) Director Dani Molina, Ph.D., says he was “ecstatic” upon first learning about the MDS Veterans Scholarship and that it is an exciting opportunity for military-connected students.

UCI Veteran Services Center Director Dani Molina

“ICS has been at the forefront of advocating and supporting our campus military-connected students for some time. They regularly spotlight our student veterans during the Veterans Day holiday and ICS staff have even supported our universitywide event every year,” says Molina. “Now that this initiative has been approved, I look forward to promoting this opportunity and ensuring that student veterans are competitive for admissions to the program.”

Molina and Muñoz both say having more veteran students will positively impact the MDS program’s growth and diversity because of their unique experiences. When the MDS part-time program launches, Muñoz expects veterans will also enjoy more access to a data science education due to increased flexibility.

“An academic background in data science coupled with military service will set the students we serve apart from a typical applicant. Military veterans are incredibly disciplined in the work they do and are poised to make new discoveries and lead in the field of computing and data science,” says Molina. “UCI is poised to be a leader in data science training and education because of this foundational scholarship opportunity, and it gives me great joy that ICS will invest in attracting more military veterans to UCI.”

There is no separate application for the MDS Veterans Scholarship – military-connected individuals who apply to the MDS program will automatically be considered for the scholarship. Verification of service (Service Benefit Verification letter or Statement of Service letter) is required.

“Military-connected students considering using their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits for this academic program should contact the VSC to ensure that they receive their earned federal assistance. We can be reached at (949) 824-3500 or at should you have any questions,” says Molina.

— Karen Phan