Bourne Centennial Baby Grows Up To Be PhD

The birth of a child holds great promise, but for Bourne’s Centennial Baby, born 30 years ago, it has been a promise fulfilled.

Bourne became Cape Cod’s newest town when it split from the oldest town, Sandwich, on April 2, 1884. One hundred years later the town celebrated its anniversary with a year-long slate of activities and events, including welcoming the first baby of the town’s new century.

Shaina Louise Race was born on April 5, 1984, to Tamara S. Race and D. Michael Race of Monument Beach. She would be the youngest of three, joining older brothers, Nathan S. Race and Jordan T Race.

Her birth was heralded in letters of congratulation from President Ronald Reagan and then Vice President George H.W. Bush. “Take pride in whatever you do, keep faith with the blessings of your heritage, and remember the sacrifices so many have made before you to win the light of this day,” President Reagan wrote. “Do these things, and you will return to this world a thousandfold the gift of your wonderful birth.”

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This month North Carolina State University in Raleigh will award Ms. Race a doctorate in operations research, mathematics, and a prestigious master of science degree in analytics, which Computerworld magazine recently described as one of the most sought-after degrees by employers.

Thirty years ago, her future academic success was, in part, predicted. “You have arrived during times of great change,” wrote Bourne’s Board of Selectmen Barry H. Johnson, Robert W. Parady, and Robert J. Kilduff. “It is a period of great expectations for humanity. You are destined to partake and benefit from scientific and artistic change to a degree that none before you have.”

According to Ms. Race’s mother, the honor of being Bourne’s Centennial Baby came as a surprise. The family had been unaware that Bourne was even looking for a centennial baby. “After all I had two under 3 at home and was kind of busy,” Mrs. Race said.

Shaina Race grew up in Monument Beach and was graduated from Bourne schools. She chose not to follow in the footsteps of her parents—her father was a framing contractor and her mother a newspaper reporter—and instead pursued mathematics.

She earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematical science from Clemson University in 2006, then moved to the Raleigh area where she has pursued advanced degrees. Her interests are “in the development and analysis of algorithms for all types of high-dimensional data analysis,” according to her profile at NC State. “Much of my work is focused on data clustering, particularly spectral and ensemble methods. I have also focused extensively on many dimension reduction techniques from random projections to feature selection and extraction. I am increasingly interested in the evolving field of randomized algorithms for linear algebraic computations.”

In addition to earning her advanced degrees, Ms. Race will soon add another life achievement. She announced her engagement to Jesse T. Bennett, originally of Culpeper, Virginia. The couple plan to marry this summer.

Mr. Albright is a writer from Bourne. His forthcoming book, “The Man Who Owned a Wonder of the World,” a biography of Falmouth resident Edward Herbert Thompson (1857-1935), will be published this spring.
 

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