Jennifer Schon
Director of Institutional Research; Instructor in Data Science and Statistics
Jennifer Schon

Knowing that math is a powerful tool, Dr. Schon is passionate about helping others learn to use mathematical concepts as they make decisions and process information in everyday life. As a member of Northwestern’s faculty and the leader of the college’s institutional research team, she is able to bring research to life as she shares with students how data influences the world.

Applying natural talent
Dr. Schon enjoyed math from an early age, but after taking an accounting class in high school, she realized she didn’t like doing math just for math’s sake—she wanted to use her natural talent to do something more. Making sense of data and using math to influence a business decision or lead to an outcome is what she truly enjoys. Understanding how she wanted to apply her talent helped her determine the next steps in her education.   

Sharing stories from statistics
While earning a graduate degree in communication studies may seem like an unlikely route for a math major, Dr. Schon has found the two fields work together in synergistic ways. Math is used in so many types of business and aspects of our daily lives. Numbers presented through research and statistical data can be confusing and intimidating to a general audience less familiar with the information. Having a degree in communications has helped Dr. Schon share data in a way the average person can understand and to highlight the stories of real people who are represented in the numerical data.

Making the abstract applicable
Serving as both a professor in the data science and statistics major as well as Northwestern’s lead institutional researcher provides Dr. Schon with the opportunity to share examples from her research with her students. This allows her to have an applied teaching style that helps students see how abstract principles and equations can be used in a career or a specific position.

Connecting with community
Dr. Schon shares her talents with several nonprofit organizations, inviting her students to join her in helping these groups understand the audiences they serve and the impact they can have. In past classes, students raised funds for local nonprofits by holding events and creating social media campaigns. Recent classes have assisted several Orange City charitable organizations and churches by conducting marketing research and teaching them how to increase their brand awareness and presence in the community.

Read Dr. Schon’s bio