Lauren James Combines Sports and Analytics

By Daniel Robb | August 19, 2021

Let’s be real. When you hear the words “computer scientist,” you picture someone who wears glasses. They’re probably working late into the night with the cold glow of a computer screen as their only illumination, they don’t talk with other people unless thay have to, and they certainly don’t exercise. Well, that person probably is out in the world somewhere, but Lauren James is here to prove that such is not the case of every computer scientist!

Lauren has spent the summer living a dream come true as a Research and Development intern for the San Francisco 49ers. She is going into her fifth year studying at Taylor, and is set to graduate in May 2022 with Bachelor of Science degrees in both Computer Science and Mathematics, as well as a Data Science minor. Her work with the 49ers, lasting for the duration of NFL Training Camp, has been an exciting opportunity for her to employ her skills and knowledge from each of her various fields of study. She has done significant work in coding languages R and Python to perform a wide variety of statistical analysis and evaluation of importance to the team’s coaching, performance, and scouting staff.

When asked what some of the highlights of her experience have been, Lauren replied: “Every day working with the 49ers is a highlight. To be involved with a high-caliber NFL organization has been an amazing experience. I have had the opportunity to meet some awesome people and have learned a tremendous amount about sports analytics and how an NFL organization operates as a whole!” As an athlete herself, she has been excited to use data analytics—from basic statistics all the way to advanced applications—to learn more about the field of sports, many areas of which have yet to be accurately quantified. Meanwhile, she has greatly appreciated the company of the people she has gotten to work with and is thankful for the chance to show Christ’s light in the world.

“I hope I have been a great representation of Christ. All I really can control is my daily efforts to live out my faith. There have been certain situations where I have acted differently from “the crowd” due to my commitment to my faith, but I’m not ashamed, and I hope they see something different in me. How they view me is out of my control.”

For those who are interested in getting into sports analytics, Lauren advises: “Work crazy hard and be willing to learn! Find your passions and pursue them. These major sports organizations (NFL, NBA, etc) seem large but in reality they are small worlds, so networking is important! Being a kind person with high character will take you a long way. Trust in God’s plan for your life. He will do more than you could ever imagine!” She also highly recommends the website Teamwork Online, which is the job-posting site for sports organizations she found the position on.

After her last year at Taylor, Lauren plans to pursue a Master’s degree in either statistics or data science, both of which she has gained valuable experience in this summer.