As a kid, I loved going to the zoo. I was fascinated by the coloration of many of the animals, especially the males. After college, I moved to Austin to study the processes that generate these colorful males at a top-ten ecology and evolution program.
While running experiments with freshwater neotropical fish, I realized how unsatisfied I was with how we collected data in the lab. I learned Python and shell scripting so that I could track the fish in my experiment and largely automate the data collection process, sharping precision and minimizing the influence of human error. (I also thought it was really cool to have my computer send me texts when my experiment was done.) I learned R to analyze and statistically model the results and answer cool biological questions. I recognized the power of harnessing millions of messy observations to extract something meaningful about the natural world. I realized this was what I wanted to do.
In summer 2017 I interned at Anaconda where I honed my Python chops and learned to work on a team. I was so interested in how businesses, especially startups, work that I joined Texas Venture Labs. I worked with law and business graduate students on consulting projects with Austin-area startups. In spring 2018, as Principal (team lead), I led a team of six graduate students on defining and executing four projects with two startups, dearduck and PintHub.
I graduated with a PhD in Integrative Biology in spring of 2018. I joined a small machine learning startup soon after. I learned a ton, but realized I wanted a role that would allow me more room to grow. In 2019, I joined Capital One as a principal associate in data science, where I’ve worked across product, tech, business, and data science groups to design and implement a contextual multi-armed bandit.
I am a constant learner. I realized that academia wasn’t for me when I realized I might be stuck doing the same sort of experiments over and over without the ability to learn new tools or approaches. Though learning something new is often daunting at the beginning, I enjoy the thrill of understanding how something (especially a new package or language) works.
Even as a graduate student, I felt the ability to communicate with others was foundational. I spent many days holed up in the library reading books about how to write better, give more effective presentations, and talk to people to better communicate my ideas.
My personal motto is ‘always be better’: I’m constantly looking for ways to improve. I go to bed reading books to hone my thinking better and guard against cognitive biases. I’m always on the search for new tools or approaches that allow me to do things better, faster, or smarter.