Student Spotlight: Asurion Practicum Team

Twenty-four teams of NC State’s Master of Science in Analytics (MSA) students recently kicked off their eight-month practicum projects. Through these projects, sponsored by diverse organizations, students will use the analytical tools and techniques they’re learning in the classroom to develop solutions to their sponsors’ business problems.

This month, we’d like you to meet the Asurion practicum team. A veteran sponsor of Institute for Advanced Analytics practicum projects, Nashville-based Asurion is the preferred provider of technology protection to the world’s largest wireless carriers, trusted retailers and popular device manufacturers. Among Asurion’s 16,000 global employees are several MSA alumni, one of whom — Logan Cones ‘18 — will serve as the liaison between the company and its practicum project team. As liaison, Cones will be the team’s primary point of contact to resolve issues as they may arise and provide technical and strategic guidance, as needed, to ensure the project remains on track.

“It has been a pleasure getting to know my teammates and building unity over the past several weeks,” said Kevin Lybrand, team lead. “I believe our team’s diverse backgrounds will help us see many different possibilities as we create workable analytics solutions for Asurion. We’re looking forward to getting started!”

Emmanuel Daramola completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration at Loyola University Maryland. His interest in data analytics mirrors his passion for learning about other cultures — in both cases, he relishes the acquisition and interpretation of information. Born in Nigeria and raised in the US, Daramola held leadership roles in various multicultural student organizations during his undergraduate career, and also worked as a student tour guide and member of his university’s Special Events Services team. He enjoys cooking Nigerian dishes and discovering new music.



After earning back-to-back bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bioengineering from Clemson University, Kevin Lybrand worked for nearly five years as a quality engineer, first at Baxter Healthcare and more recently at Teleflex. A summer research internship in Singapore during his undergraduate studies sparked Lybrand’s curiosity about other cultures, and he’s continued to broaden his horizons through international travel and exploration. When he’s not manipulating large datasets, Lybrand plays cello in the Raleigh Community Orchestra and loves cheering on the Clemson Tigers.



Problem solving has been the thread that’s woven together the diverse components of Urmila Patil’s career. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Shivaji University in India and worked as a civil and structural engineer in consulting firms. She later transitioned into information technology as a database developer. Outside of the Institute, Patil is a hiking enthusiast and also volunteers many hours in local schools. She served an Odyssey of the Mind head coach for her boys’ school, which advanced to state-level championships.



Committed to making a positive impact, Ryan Weisner dedicated 400+ hours in service to the community as an undergraduate student and Buckley Public Service Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill. A jazz pianist, he was a student leader of Musical Empowerment, a nonprofit that provides free music lessons to children whose families cannot otherwise afford them. Following the completion of his bachelor’s degrees in economics and public policy, Weisner spent eight months working as an English teacher in Clermont-Ferrand, a small city in the south of France.



A prolific social science researcher and educator, Lu Wu holds a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and literature from China’s Tianjin Foreign Studies University, a master’s in journalism from Ohio University, and a PhD in mass communication from UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to joining MSA ‘20, Wu served as associate program chair for the University of Colorado Denver’s Communication Department, where she managed a multinational faculty team on CU-Denver’s Beijing campus. In her free time, Wu takes Japanese lessons and fosters cats for a local animal rescue group.