2017-18 Alumni Notes Graduation Years 2009-10
The last year has been a whirlwind. Doctors told my wife and I that we couldn't have our own children. We had already felt called to adopt, so we began to navigate a domestic infant adoption. We were on the wait list and had already had our profile shown when we found out the doctors were in fact wrong and received a positive pregnancy test! My wife is due with our first, James, on March 23rd. Certainly a miracle!
There's also been a lot happening at work over the last year. The small digital marketing agency I work for, LocalBizNow (LBN), was acquired by a large independent agency called Ansira. We're slowly seeing changes, but I'm excited for the new projects and clients we'll get to work with moving forward. I was also fortunate and thankful to hire a second Cal Poly statistics alum this year! Christina Garcia (2017) joined Max Klingmann (2013) and me to make up the LBN Analytics Department. One of us had been at Cal Poly consecutively between fall 2006 and spring 2017. I can't believe it's been that long for me. Time flies!
Katrina (Jackson) Anderson
I am in the final few months of my doctoral work at Baylor University and hoping to defend my dissertation in May for an August graduation. My dissertation centers on misclassification with partially validated data and exploring the effects of model changes in this situation under both the frequentist and bayesian paradigms. I am in the process of applying for professorships to start with a university in the 2018-19 academic year. I am also an adjunct professor for Marymount University in Arlington, Va., and working on a grant proposal for the Brady Education Foundation to explore ways in which to enrich the Montessori education system in the U.S.
Personally, my husband and I bought our first home in September 2016, welcomed our first child in November 2016 and will add a second kiddo in February 2018. Maddelyn Olivia will be such a great big sister, and we can’t wait for the two of them to meet! We are enjoying all that the Northern Virginia area has to offer before we either move for a job for me or get stationed somewhere new.
I’m still working locally in SLO for Promotional Concepts, a local promotional products company. I’ve become very involved with local advocacy, specifically for issues relating to the young professional crowd, which revolves mostly around housing and affordability of living in SLO. I’m a founding member of the SLO Scoop, a community newsletter aimed at engaging young professionals on local issues and encouraging action, and I’ve recently been accepted as a member of Leadership SLO’s Class 27. I love that I’ve been able to stay in SLO, and I’ve made it my mission to make sure future grads have that same opportunity.
Since SLO life, I have married an Air Force gent and it's been quite the whirlwind adventure. We spent the last three years in Enid, Okla. Being in a small town had its advantages, such as not a lot of competition in the theater department, which landed me a role in the summer musical. It was my first time doing community theater, and I had a blast. The play was "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," and it caused quite a bit of controversy. Small town life also had the "perk" of not a lot of distractions, which allowed me to earn my master's degree in statistics online from Texas A&M. I highly recommend this master’s program, and the Cal Poly Stat Department does an incredible job of preparing you for an advanced degree.
Currently, my husband and I are in Little Rock, Ark., where I am training for my third half marathon and getting prepared for our next move to, drumroll please. . . Japan! We will be stationed there for the next three years, and I couldn't be more excited. So until next time, sayonara!
Since the last update, I have started my doctorate in statistics at UCLA. Since I started this fall, I will be taking classes for the next year or so before I start working on my dissertation. However, I have a pretty good idea that I’m interested in spatial and/or biostatistical applications of statistics. Before starting the doctoral program, I worked for five years as a biostatistician for the Department of Radiology at UCLA. My job included analyzing and managing clinical trial data that came through the department as well as providing statistical support to the UCLA Medical Center.
Michelle (Shaffer) Stratton
This was a year was of adventure! My husband, Greg, and I backpacked the Trans-Catalina trail with fellow statistics alumnus Andy Kaplan and some friends. We also did a two-week road trip to South Dakota, Yellowstone and Utah. I had been teaching math for the past five years in San Bernardino, but we were looking to move to Northern California to be closer to our families (and to leave L.A. traffic!). I spent the past year subbing and as a math instructor for SAT prep until we finally were able to move in August. Perfect timing as we welcomed our first child, James, in November! It's been wonderful having the support from both of our families. I am enjoying this season home with James figuring out the life of parenthood, and using my statistics background to understand, interpret and critique all the baby research we are doing. The photo is from the summit of Mt. Diablo on Thanksgiving morning.
To piggyback on my previous update, I was working at Comcast as a project manager last year when I decided to enroll in a data science course through a company called General Assembly. It was an in-person course focused on building predictive models and machine learning, predominantly using Python scripting language. Upon completing that course, I continued to work at Comcast but felt ready to pivot to a more statistics-based role.
Well, through networking and simply being in the right place at the right time, I was given an opportunity to interview for a startup company called Switch Automation, which is a software company focused on building management and energy efficiency data. They collect, store and analyze heaps of data with the goal of determining faults in buildings and reducing wasteful energy consumption, as well as maintaining comfort levels in these buildings for the tenants. My interviews went well, and long story short, I now hold the official title of data scientist for this company! It has been an amazing nine months, with a definite learning curve, but I am finally doing what I truly love, with the bonus that I get to use R every day.
It’s been almost two and a half years since I became 24 Hour Fitness’ data scientist, and it still proves to be a great fit. Our headquarters is in San Ramon. I have transitioned from the strategy side of the company to finance. Retrieving, understanding and creating a story with data seems to be wanted and needed in every part of a business. I use so much of my Cal Poly education on a daily basis, especially R. Well, when I’m not sneaking in a workout.
I did swim at a Master’s meet this summer and won my age group — fifth overall — for the 50 free. When I can manage to stay out of the pool, my boyfriend and I can be found at a lake bass fishing. Don Pedro is one of the best!
Hello to my fellow alums! My wife and I enjoyed a wonderful three-week trip in Europe this past summer. We both continue to happily teach in the Statistics Department at Cal Poly. I've been thrilled to be involved with students in our summer research program and am looking forward to attending the International Conference on Teaching Statistics 2018 in Kyoto, Japan, next summer to speak about some new and exciting things I have introduced to our courses in SAS and R.
After graduation I attended CSU Long Beach for my master's degree in statistics. Since graduating in 2011 I've been working as a principal statistician for the Department of Medicine Statistics Core at UCLA. We are a consulting group of approximately 15 faculty and staff statisticians who assist the medical school with clinical trials, posters, grants, manuscripts and education.
Most of my time is spent collaborating with investigators from various departments and divisions including: Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Dentistry, Infectious diseases, Oncology, Pediatrics, Pulmonary/Critical care, Radiology and Urology. I definitely caught the statistical consulting bug from my Stat 465 professors — Smith and Walker — and am grateful that I did! I may be somewhat biased, but I feel it's one of the most rewarding and versatile specializations to follow.
I have adjusted well to living in West Los Angeles. There is so much to do down here, and the weather is always perfect. Feel free to contact me if you are a current student (or a graduate) and have questions about graduate school, the job search or general advice about the field: Tgrogan@ucla.edu.
I can't thank the department enough for giving me a solid foundation and interest in statistics, which has allowed me to pursue a rewarding and enjoyable career. I'd also like to thank my former classmates (You know who you are!). I wouldn't be here without your support, humor and encouragement.
Cheerio! Quick refresher since I haven't shared an update since 2015: 1) After graduating I worked at DMDC near Monterey with a few other CP Staties. 2) Then I went to work at LinkedIn, then Symantec and then a company called Gainsight. 3) I've now been at Gainsight for more than four and a half years and after 16 months of asking (begging?), they agreed to send me to London to help open our first European office. I'm the only marketing person out here, in a small office of six. I'm hoping to travel like CRAZY during my two to three years here. Shout out to my fellow '09 graduates — when is Stat Prom Reunion?
Daniela (Sakamoto) Saldana
Since the last update, I have started a new role as a senior data scientist, still at Amgen. I’m part of a new group, so we are still working out the vision and mission. On the personal side of things, I still live in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles. My husband and I have a new place, so we’ve been furnishing and decorating and even built a bar so we can host some parties. In my spare time, I have been taking my dog to advanced training and am hoping to start agility training with her soon so we can compete.
This past year has been an exciting year for me both professionally and personally. Along with teaching my statistics courses, I have been collaborating with a researcher in Moss Landing trying to extract “bubble sequences” from acoustic recordings obtained from tagged whale data. It has been a long and challenging process, but I am very excited to be a part of it.
Outside of my professional career, I found that I have caught the travel bug. My husband and I have had two amazing trips this year to Bali and Eastern Europe, and I find myself continuing to plan more adventures. Next summer we are hoping to brave the Inca trail to Machu Picchu and spend some time in Japan as well. However, what I most look forward to in my downtime is hanging out with my dog, Jake.
Emily (Tietjien) Shelburne
I am still living and working in Merced. I have the privilege of teaching AP Statistics and integrated math courses. This year, I have a student teacher. Next year, my site is hoping to offer some computer science courses that they will have me teach in addition to the statistics courses, so I'm working on planning for those. As always, I value lifelong learning and have had and am preparing for a ton of new experiences.
This has been a busy year for me. I celebrated my second year working as a senior statistician for UC Davis Medical Center at the Violence Prevention Research Program. In the last year we launched the University of California Firearm Violence Prevention Research Center, which will be a state-funded, multi-campus effort headed by our group. It is the first of its kind in the country, and we’re really excited about the research on firearm violence that will come out of it, especially in light of the recent tragedies. In personal news I purchased my first home in Sacramento this year, and I just returned home from a chocolate, waffle and beer-filled vacation to Belgium. I’m now looking forward to new adventures in the coming year.