Sahana Venkatesh

Data Scientist

Apeel Sciences

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We have to spread our wings and fly high. We may not land where we want to and when we want to but we will always land. Believe in your journey.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I work as a data scientist at Apeel science. The part about my work I enjoy the most is to develop new insights from the data(RGB images, Hyperspectral Data) to provide efficient solutions to questions(biological, strategic practices, etc). The next step is mostly either developing a tool that can be deployed and work on the data being collected at our database or present my results to different stakeholders and help them make a decision in their next step.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

My family helped me to realize at a very young age that we must contribute to the world and we can choose our tools. I am always attracted to fields which has a certain uncertainty or mystery attached to them. Pursuing Mathematics a minor while focusing on signal processing prepared me to think critically while improving my coding skills gave me the footing I needed to learn machine learning.

The reason I decided to stay for a while because it humbles me deeply to see so many people eager to learn and eager to share. That makes me look forward to tomorrow, the next week, and the next year.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

One of the biggest obstacles I ever faced was planning but not executing. It took time to realize hard work is not easy and thank god it is not because that is what makes its result sweeter. 'Not feeling enough', 'I don't belong here' are definitely top thoughts I had or still have sometimes but I am lucky to find myself back by listening to the community with kind souls like you who remind me everyone is in this together and we have our backs.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

Everyone is needed. Climate change, Suffering, and many other problems cannot be solved by one person. Everyone has a voice and everyone is important. Even when you think you are not enough, remember this!. If you push hard and continue to fight, a girl or a boy like you years from now will be inspired to stay because she has someone she can relate to and push the limits forward.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

It is so inspiring to see so many people accepting that there is tons more stuff left to learn, being humble and asking for help, and sharing what they have learned. Problems are challenging and some might not end in my time. That still works as the community after me will start from where we left it. It is truly amazing to be part of this live wire like field.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

You are in the right place, I am glad you are doing this as you are definitely going to inspire someone to try harder. Be humble, take help and take suggestions whenever you can. We have to spread our wings and fly high. We may not land where we want to and when we want to but we will always land. Believe in your journey.

INSPIRATION

Anima Anandkumar mentioned in her talk at ICML 2020 that she was scared and overwhelmed by machine learning at first and didn't give up as she realized if she cannot stay nobody like her can. That very sentence pushes me when there is a nut I cannot crack.

NOMINATE A WOMAN IN STEM

For multiple nominations, email hi@1mwis.com

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