After my last job, I decided to work somewhere already working to make the world more equitable and just. I am fortunate to be a data scientist and engineer; it gives me the opportunity to work in many places.
I was lucky enough to find, apply for, and get a job as a data engineer at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I’ve lost friends and family to the cancer, the same as everyone else.
My new day job is to build a data ‘commonwealth’, where researchers can upload data, process it, and share it. It is an evolutionary step in data intensive science, after open source scientific computing and open access research. Helping scientists with reproducible research and “building upon the work of others” can dramatically accelerate the pace of scientific discovery. That’s my dream for this job.
My evening plans involve learning about cancer biology, genomics, and bioinformatics. My next career goal is to be both a data scientist and cancer researcher.
I’m hoping to find the time to write, about data engineering, bioinformatics, cancer biology, and more. Stay tuned :)Permalink
It has been six months since I left my job as a data scientist at the University of Washington. I joined the UW in 2012 with the personal goal of helping students graduate with less debt. I (naively) thought this would be possible by making a university more efficient. If students can graduate faster, if the right courses have more space, if UW funds are spent more intelligently, then everyone would benefit.
I spent 5.5 years doing this, over 3 of them as the UW data scientist studying student behavior. During that I built dozens of tools to help the UW run more efficiently, such as:
Tools to Help Students
Tools to Help Faculty/Staff
None of these ever saw the light of day. To my chagrin and horror, I realized there were no incentives for most staff/faculty to help students graduate with less debt, to help their department run efficiently, or to make bold/risky decisions.
Looking back, my work was doomed to fail, and I was blinded by hope, and didn’t see the clues:
Eventually I realized that my efforts were not helping students, and they never would. If I wanted to change the UW to help its students, its faculty, and its research, I would need to make organizational & political changes, not technical ones. That’s a job for a different person.
So, I left for a different job, with the same motivation as in 2012: to make the world more equitable and just.Permalink