Belmont Senior Quinn Saleik’s Journey from Music Business to Data Science

Saleik and Dr. Christina Davis present their research at BURS
College of Sciences & Mathematics

Belmont Senior Quinn Saleik’s Journey from Music Business to Data Science

June 26, 2024 | by Nolan Galbreath

How Saleik Secured an Internship with HCA in Nashville 

When rising senior Quinn Saleik arrived at Belmont in 2021 to study music business, he never thought he would intern for a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest medical organizations in the country. However, two key interactions with a professor and a friend rerouted Saleik’s career trajectory to one focused in data science and afforded him a covetous internship with HCA Healthcare. 

The first of these interactions came in the form of a conversation he had with Belmont’s Dr. Daniel Biles, professor of mathematics. 

Saleik had always excelled and been interested in math since high school, an aptitude that his standardized test results reinforced. His scores caught the eye of Biles who took it upon himself to reach out to Saleik directly. 
Quinn Saleik

“He saw my ACT and SAT scores and said, ‘What are you doing? You should be studying math,’” laughed Saleik. “We talked about what it looked like to major in applied math or math education, but after a few meetings, I realized pure mathematics was not the career path I wanted to pursue.” 

About that time, one of Saleik’s good friends delivered a speech focused on Belmont’s data science program and what data science is. This implementation of math — one that combined technical mathematics with business intelligence, resonated so strongly with Saleik that one month later, he changed his major from music business to data science. 

Saleik then dove headfirst into Belmont’s data science program, meeting with advisors, professors, attending career fairs and forming every connection possible to put himself in a place to succeed. 

Saleik’s Data Science Internships 

During the summer of 2023, Saleik secured his first data science internship with Belmont’s Institutional Research and Strategic Analytics Team. He served as an Extract, Transform and Load developer, pulling data from a plethora of sources and repackaging the numbers in an easily digestible way, complete with visual representations. The reporting team then used his data translation to make strategic decisions regarding all aspects of the university. 

“I learned a lot of technical skills during that internship, and coming into it, the team knew that a student skillset was never going to be at the level they wanted,” he explained. “But the point of that internship was to mentor and guide me in a way that allowed me to develop those skills.” 

The following summer, Saleik connected with a member of HCA at Belmont’s Business & Technology Career Expo — a connection that led to an internship with the medical giant nestled within Nashville — the nation’s healthcare capital. 

As a technical business analyst intern through HCA’s Pathways program, Saleik essentially performs the reversal function of his Belmont internship. Rather than code and develop, he researches what stakeholders, businesses and users want to see in the applications HCA is creating, then relays that collected data to the engineering team to develop. From adding automation to patient charts to fixing bugs within application interfaces, Saleik is responsible for discovering ways to streamline HCA’s products through relationships he forms with clients. 

“It’s a very exploratory internship that allows me to dip and dive into all sides of things, from development to engineering to reporting to analytics,” Saleik said. “My manager is continuously asking me if I have heard about anything from our team of 50-plus people that sounds interesting, and that has helped me discover what role I want to have on our team.” 

Saliek’s Data Science Experience at Belmont 

As someone who naturally loves to help people, the healthcare industry is one that naturally seems to suit Saleik. Although not interested in medicine itself, the ability to merge his inclination as a caregiver with his interests in business-driven mathematics has moved this patient-centric data science role to the top of his dream job list. 

Saleik and Dr. Davis present their research at BURSThanks to the classes he took at Belmont and the relationships he formed with his professors, Saleik feels confident in taking on and succeeding in such a role. He also credits Dr. Christina Davis, director of data science, as a key difference maker both in the classroom and in a research capacity when it came to his career readiness. 

“She is the most amazing professor, and her statistical computing and statistical modeling classes will serve as the foundation of what I’ll be doing,” he said. “Our research project explored the different demographic and racial healthcare inequalities within metro areas, and she served as a mentor to guide me through that process.” 

Saleik is also thankful that his data science classes at Belmont taught applicable, practical and relevant skills that he will be able to use in his future endeavors. 

“The individualized attention we get makes a huge difference,” he concluded. “I’m learning how to code and research in the classroom. Next semester, I’ll be taking a class on machine learning and artificial intelligence which I bet will be one of the most interesting classes I’ll take. These courses, along with my data science classes and my involvement with the Honors Program, have allowed me to grow technically and form connections to jump into internships and meet people that can help me later.” 

While still playing music on the side and booking gigs across the country in his spare time, Saleik is content to classify music as a hobby rather than a career, instead focusing on helping people through the dissection and implementation of numbers in healthcare. 

Learn More

Learn more about data science at Belmont.