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Lori Chiu: A Journey in Data Science

Posted by on Thursday, June 1, 2023 in Uncategorized.

Lori Chiu graduated from Vanderbilt University with BA in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2016. But she found herself working as an analyst after college. With no real background in coding, Lori taught herself essential skills such as SQL and Python on the job, merging her technical prowess with her business acumen. This blend of skills provided her with a solid foundation in the analytics field, but Lori yearned for a deeper understanding and a more structured approach to data science.

Pursuing a Masters Degree

Recognizing the importance of both technical and soft skills, Lori sought a program that could offer a comprehensive curriculum. Vanderbilt’s Data Science Institute (DSI) caught her attention. As a new program, Lori and other students had a say in shaping the program and provided a platform for valuable feedback. Being part of a growing and evolving initiative excited Lori, and she was eager to contribute her insights.

During her time at the DSI, several teachers stood out for Lori. Dr. Jesse Blocher, in particular, made a lasting impression. She said his classes were captivating, featuring guest speakers from different companies who shed light on real-world data science challenges. This exposure to practical examples outside the realm of simulated problems broadened Lori’s understanding of the possibilities within the field.

Balancing work and school

Balancing her master’s program with a full-time job, Lori initially joined Tinder as an analyst. Although her role primarily focused on analytics rather than modeling or machine learning, Lori still found opportunities for growth within the company. As she completed her degree, Lori’s position at Tinder remained intact, offering her stability and a chance to further explore the analytics space. 

With her strong foundation in analytics, combined with the knowledge and experiences gained from the DSI program, Lori continues to thrive as a Member Experience Senior Analyst at Tinder. As she navigates the dynamic landscape of data science, Lori remains open to new possibilities and endeavors to make the most of her ever-expanding skill set.

Advice for Students

Reflecting on her time at the DSI, Lori emphasized the importance of personal effort and involvement. The more projects and initiatives one undertook within the DSI, the greater the benefits. Despite working a full-time job while at the DSI, Lori said she appreciated there were always interesting projects and the opportunities to take on at the DSI.

Lori also emphasized the need to fully invest oneself in the program. Trying everything and exerting maximum effort was crucial to make the most of the DSI experience. She encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities presented and to explore diverse projects and electives that aligned with their interests.

Find Lori Chiu on LinkedIn.