MS Class of 2019
Hometown: Westchester, NY
Degree: Urban Informatics, M.S.
What was your journey to your master’s degree like?
I earned my undergraduate degree in math at the University of Virginia and embarked on a career as a data analyst, helping companies and nonprofit organization figure out how visitors to their websites were interacting with the content and helping them bridge the gap between online presence and offline impact. I wanted to make more of an impact though, and in the course of researching my next steps I discovered the Center for Urban Science and Progress, which is becoming integrated into Tandon. So much of what goes on here is focused on doing social good, so I knew this was the right place to earn my master’s degree.
What do you consider to be among the most valuable experiences you had here, and how did it help shape you?
I initially focused on using data to help prepare cities for climate change, but the offerings at CUSP are very dynamic, and I found my interests expanding and evolving. In the course of my studies I became fascinated by the issues of data privacy and the ethical use of data. Misusing data – as when a social media company shares your information without your authorization or an organization uses biased algorithms that support social inequalities – betrays public trust, so it’s vital to address those concerns.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work in a team of Tandon students and collaborate with the New Jersey Office of Innovation to build a chatbot that makes the business formation process easier to understand and more accessible to the state’s entrepreneurs. It’s been fun to work with a public institution to design a solution to a complex public problem.
I am deciding between pursuing further studies and entering industry right away. Whatever I ultimately decide, I foresee living in Europe because I’m interested in Europe’s approach to data privacy and I want to experience other cultures.