She’s always shared her family’s love of numbers, and now she knows her way around a box score, too – thanks to a research project with one of her professors that combines sabermetrics and sophisticated data analysis to compare the stats of Negro League and Major League Baseball players during the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s. They’re investigating whether the distribution of batting average and earned run average data was similar. Their end game? Prove that NL and MLB players performed at the same level.
“Before doing this research, I didn’t know anything about baseball, and I wasn’t interested in baseball to be honest,” Nagel said. “But I’ve learned a lot.”
So much that instead of walking through the room when her family crowds around the TV to watch the Yankees, Nagel takes a seat and shares her latest research.
“My family is very mathematical,” she said, “and they like to discuss the mathematics behind baseball.”
Nagel is proud of her lineage – she is a third generation number-cruncher. Her dad is an accountant and her grandmother (whom Nagel is often told she takes after) was an actuary “at a time before women were able to go to college,” she said.
“One of the main reasons I love doing research is because I know that people are going to read about my research in the academic journal, and they’re going to use what I’m doing”
And her research has led to a four-credit internship at Frontline Education, an administrative educational software company in Rockville Centre where she has worked part time as a software engineer for more than two years. When Frontline’s development manager, Matthew Klenosky, learned of her statistical data analysis research with Dr. Puerzer, he carved out a role in which she will work with predictive data analysis. This will be her second internship that’s been integrated into her position at Frontline – she’s already earned three credits for a computer science internship at the company. As with her campus research projects, Stephanie has learned a lot more than technical skills during her time at Frontline. As she mastered a programming language called Sequel, she also developed professional polish.
“She’s been put in a position where she needed to work as part of a team and learned teamwork skills and how to collaborate with people to get the job done, and she’s done an exceptional job at that,” Klenosky said.
“She also has a good sense of when to reach out for assistance, so if she’s in a position where she’s not sure what to do, she won’t just spin her wheels and waste time. She’ll go find someone and get the answer so that she can move along.”
Said Ben Abraham, one of her mentors at Frontline: “Hofstra’s prepared her to think and problem solve, but from a technical aspect Frontline Education gives her real-life experience.”
Back on campus, Nagel passes along everything she’s learned by volunteering n the Math Tutoring Center, where she coaches her peers twice a week. “I had Stephanie Nagel as a student before we had her as a tutor,” said Dr. Behailu Mammo, an associate professor of mathematics who oversees the Math Tutoring Center. “She is one of the most disciplined students I have ever had. She is really hardworking and a very smart student.”