2022 Alumni Notes 2011-2012
Jenna Colavincenzo Carlson
This past year, my husband and I welcomed our second daughter, Leah, born November 2021. It feels very strange to think that both our girls have only known the world in its pandemic state. While I’ve loved getting to spend more time at home with both of them, I’m hoping this year brings some more time with friends (and a pediatric vaccine!). In professional news, I am still an assistant professor with Pitt Public Health and just became the director of our master's program.
A few months ago I switched from the contractor side of things to the pharma side as a stats programmer, and like the old job, there straight deadlines for some regulatory submissions.
Working remotely from Oceanside had been nice, but in April 2021, I went to Maui for a week, met someone on my first day, skipped my flight home, stayed with her for a month to travel around, went home to pack, and moved to Maui. For that, Pandemic, I thank you. Though things will always change, Cal Poly Stats started an interesting ride.
After tiring of the consulting life and wanting to do something good for the world, last year I decided I wanted to seek out a job in the climate space. My combined passion for gardening and interest in carbon sequestration led me to find a job for an agri-tech startup in Boulder called Cloud Agronomics. I am the lead data scientist helping build models using satellite imagery to predict the amount of carbon stored in agricultural soils. It has been so rewarding to be working in this industry. Everything they say about working for startups is so true, though, including having to work a lot and really commit your life to it. I have to commute to Boulder once a week from Ft. Collins, but it’s not so bad. When I’m not working, I’m probably reading, at the rock climbing gym or doing something around town with my partner. I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Santa Fe in the spring and New Orleans in the fall. The attached picture is from the summit of Longs Peak which I climbed last summer along with some friends for a total of 14 hours!
The year 2021 was a wild one for me. I had finished my master's in 2020 and was waiting to enter Japan to start my Ph.D. program when a certain pandemic started. After nearly a year of waiting, I finally got permission to enter Japan at the end of June. I have now been here in Japan for nine months and already feel pretty settled. Academia works a bit differently here, so I had these nine months to prepare for my entrance exam. The results came out February 16, so I can officially say I'm a Ph.D. student! I am studying at the University of Tsukuba in the Informatics Department. My research focuses on human-data interaction, which is the combination of human-computer interaction, data literacy and data visualization. I am specifically interested in human perception and motivation of personal data, with respect to personal data analysis. Now the real hard work begins. I do want to give a thank you to Dr. Doi. He gave me some fantastic insight and advice throughout this move and process.
I made a baby! My daughter Kennedy is 16 months now and has seen more mountains and nature (and peanut butter) than most of you have seen in your lifetime. I moved from the Bay Area back to San Diego during 2021 and plan to raise my babies here. I've been working at Amazon for five years. I am one of three scientists alongside a team of 10 engineers within Alexa Video Search. We build voice-based search engines for video content and video recommendation engines, plus software like video upsell models and mature content filtering models. I like the speed and intensity of this team. One nice part about working for Amazon is the ease at switching teams as I have the opportunity to change projects if I ever get bored. I currently work with neural embedding models and run approximate nearest neighbor dot products at runtime. I also build gradient boosting re-ranking models for final video presentations on FireTV. But at the core of it all is A/B testing and experimental design and metrics and statistical testing straight from the Cal Poly Stat Lab. Miss you all, and I hope my daughter shows up at the Cal Poly Stats Department in 17 years.
Since graduating from Cal Poly, I've gone from being an analyst of YouTube videos; to a data scientist predicting what actions TiVo users will do next; to a product manager for six years at VenueNext, a company that specializes in mobile ordering at live events like at Levi's and Yankee Stadium, the Kentucky Derby, Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Now, I'm leading data products at EasyPost, which focuses on offering API solutions for buying postage across hundreds of different carriers.
Personally, I've been living with my wife, Kristen (got married in 2019), and our dog, Freddy, in South San Francisco. We frequently make trips into the city for food and drinks, go camping in the Sierras and have been traveling like crazy. Life is good!
It’s been more than a year since the last update, which means my baby boy Graham is now a one-year-old. COVID has been quite the disaster, but it has allowed me to stay home during the first year of Graham’s life. There is nothing better than seeing my baby boy’s smile and my wife throughout the workday. COVID also gave me time to grow out my hair, see photo. I’m still at Daimler Truck North America managing a data science team in the extended warranty group. DTNA is making big moves in the truck manufacturing industry and is a major player in autonomous and electric tractor trailers. My wife and I hope to make a trip to SLO in the near future — Graham needs to see where his dad’s great education began.
I am still living in SLO (who would want to leave this beautiful paradise?!) and have been with Sunrun for the past eight years. I have been part of the sales team for quite some time but am looking to expand my skill set. I am currently enrolled in a master's program at University of Denver for supply chain management and am fortunate enough to work for such a great company that is also paying my way to get there. Everything is being conducted online, which is a little different style than I am used to, but so far it's been a great learning experience. I have a little over a year left to go in the program. Some fun new additions to my life include my new labradoodle pup, Nelly. She is a handful but is settling in well to her new non-quarantine life.