What do you do?
As a data driven researcher with a background in engineering, I turn terabytes of data into insights that give a deeper understanding of Spotify listener behavior. By combining my expertise in statistics and data visualization, I uncover product feature ideas to make our listeners' experiences better.
Why did you choose this field?
My earliest memory of being interested in STEM came when I was very young: my parents used to let my brother and sister and I take apart old appliances, such as our VCR. We weren’t that great at putting them back together, but we all liked seeing the inside guts of how these machines we used every day worked. It was interesting to see how technology and science – these abstract things we were learning about in school – applied to our everyday lives.
On top of that, the mentors I looked up to in high school told me “no matter what your actual concentration is, you can do anything with an engineering degree.” That sounded great to me, as I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. And it turned out to be very true advice; after graduating in engineering from the University of Michigan, I went on to find my dream job combining music and data, as a data scientist at Spotify.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
It is possible to work in a career that has not been invented yet! I now work in a field – data science – that one could argue was not coined with a name until I was in middle school. I work for a company – Spotify – that wasn’t founded until I was in high school. I'm passionate about what I do, and passionate about explaining the possibilities of studying STEM. These are the careers that can change the world.
Why do you love working in STEM?
Working in technology means a project is never really over. We are always trying to make the product better, faster, or easier to use. I enjoy knowing that we are changing the world and continuing to improve. Every day is a new day to move an idea forward; every day I am learning something new and building upon it.
Best advice for next generation?
Stick with it, to get into a fulfilling and fun career. It can be tough when grades don't go your way. It can be tough when job interviews don't go your way. And it can be tough speaking up in a room where you don't see a lot of people like you. But stuck with it. Your unique perspective and skillsets are needed!
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
“Innovation comes out of great human ingenuity and very personal passions.”- Megan Smith, Former CTO of the United States