TecherTalk: Diverse "Life After Caltech" Stories from PMA Alumni
The PMA Division and Caltech Alumni Association are pleased to host the first PMA Techer Talk: Diverse "Life After Caltech" Stories from PMA Alumni. The panelist earned their PhDs in Physics, Mathematics, or Astrophysics and have since pursued diverse professional tracks. They will share their "Life After Caltech" stories and answer questions from the audience.
Meet the panelists
Alison Farmer is a theoretical astrophysicist who now specializes in saving this planet by bringing energy efficiency to lab buildings. Alison has bachelors and masters degrees in physics from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Astrophysics from Caltech. She is currently a project manager at kW Engineering, an energy efficiency consulting firm in Oakland, CA, where her work includes energy auditing, HVAC control system design and commissioning, and energy use benchmarking. Her clients include Harvard, Stanford, and MIT.
Yonathan has been working with data since he was a toddler. He is a staff software engineer in google where he is a technical lead for cross media ad effectiveness measurement. He leads a team that find novel ways to compare the effectiveness of brand ad advertisement across digital and TV. Before that he held a couple of stints in finance as a Quantitative Analyst. He holds a PhD in complex systems physics from Caltech working as a graduate fellow at the Santa Fe Institute for Complex Systems. Additionally he was a PIMCO fellow doing research into fixed income. He holds an MSc in physics from the Weizmann Institute and a BSc in Physics and Computer science from the Tel Aviv University.
Gaurav is an applied scientist with the Bing Ads lab located in Sunnyvale CA. He spends his day extracting useful mathematical information from ads data, designing models to exploit patterns and eventually deploying the models, thereby impacting user/advertiser experience and Bing's revenue growth. In his one and a half years with Microsoft, he has worked on problems in machine learning, auction theory, marketplace optimization and many other related areas. Along with that, he also works on open-ended research problems in machine learning and theoretical computer science. Prior to joining Microsoft, Gaurav was a PhD student in the math department at Caltech working with Prof. Eric Rains in Algebraic combinatorics.
Cathy Slesnick attended the Astronomy graduate program at Caltech from 2001-2007. After completing her thesis, she was awarded a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington D.C., which she completed one year of before accepting a position in industry at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA. While at Draper Laboratory, she had the opportunity to work in a large variety of fields and disciplines, all with the common thread of data modeling and analysis. In 2015 she joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a data scientist, and in 2016 she moved to Agero, Inc. as a Senior Data Science Engineer. In her current role at Agero, she develops models to predict driver risk based on telematics data for Agero's MileUp smartphone application.
Ian Swanson is a member of the First Quadrant investment team, where he focuses on global macro research and portfolio management and the development of novel strategies to take advantage of myriad opportunities across markets and risk factors. Previously, Ian participated in the research and development of alpha strategies across products, and before that, was part of a small group dedicated to quantifying the effectiveness of the firm's investment implementation. He has held postdoctoral research fellowships in string theory at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a PhD in theoretical physics/string theory from the California Institute of Technology, an MFE from the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, and a BS in physics from The College of William and Mary.