Chester (B.A. ’05, M.A. ’11) returns to her alma mater to direct new effort that provides graduate STEM programs for working professionals
Amy Chester will serve as the inaugural director of the University of Maryland Science Academy, effective October 15, 2019.
The Science Academy provides graduate education programs for working professionals who want to advance their knowledge and skills in key areas like data science and machine learning. With courses taught by UMD faculty members who are leading experts in their fields, the Science Academy is designed to meet a regional demand for a modern workforce with expertise in specialized areas of science and mathematics.
“We are excited to welcome Amy back to the University of Maryland, where she earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees,” said Amitabh Varshney, dean of UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS), which runs the Science Academy. “Amy brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge in higher education and professional training. In her new role, Amy will be instrumental in growing our portfolio of Science Academy programs to meet the needs of working professionals and lifelong learners.”
Chester joins UMD from Georgetown University where she has worked since 2012, most recently serving as senior assistant dean in the School of Continuing Studies. In this role, she oversaw the university’s professional certificate and executive education programs. Notably, she designed more than 10 new programs to meet market and workforce demands—including programs in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and blockchain technology. She also fostered dozens of corporate and government agency relationships and oversaw the lifecycle of more than 3,000 professional students per year.
Prior to Georgetown, Chester held positions at UMD, the George Washington University and the Catholic University of America.
“I am thrilled to join CMNS at this pivotal moment,” Chester said. “In leading the Science Academy, I look forward to growing and designing new programs that respond quickly to the needs of the market and the community.”
Chester will oversee all Science Academy operations and programs, which currently include:
- Data Science - Master of Professional Studies (30 credits) or Graduate Certificate (12 credits): Students learn to design, conduct, interpret, and communicate data analysis tasks and studies using methods and tools of statistics, machine learning, computer science, and communications.
- Machine Learning - Master of Professional Studies (30 credits): Students master the methods and techniques of creating models and algorithms that learn from and make decisions or predictions based on data. They also explore advanced topics such as deep learning, optimization, big data analysis, and signal/image understanding.
These Science Academy programs will begin in late November.
“I see enormous opportunity for CMNS to lead in professional development and lifelong learning in STEM fields,” Chester added. “Our long-term goal is to expand access to the university’s expertise. Science Academy programs will respond to the learning and training needs of professionals across industries and in government.”
Chester earned her bachelor’s degree in communication in 2005 and her master’s degree in education, leadership and policy studies in 2011 (specializing in higher education administration)—both from UMD. She also earned an executive master of leadership degree from Georgetown University in 2019.
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About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 9,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college’s 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $175 million.