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Student Spotlight: Ilayda Koca ’25

Posted by on Friday, November 17, 2023 in Student Spotlight.

Today we are highlighting Junior Ilayda Koca, and her experience with Undergraduate Data Science Minor at Vanderbilt. Hear more about what she has to say about her experience.

“Last spring, I took a project course as a part of my Data Science minor requirements to contribute to the Legal Project lead by Professor Bell at the Data Science Institute. My journey was a deep dive into the technical complexities of legal text analysis. I had the opportunity to develop a question-answering pipeline specifically tailored for legal documents using Python’s Haystack framework.

The project challenged me to navigate through a vast collection of legal case documents. Implementing both dense and sparse vector retrieval methods, including TF-IDF and Dense Passage Retrieval, I honed my skills in efficiently narrowing down search spaces in large datasets.

The core of my learning was working with transformer-based models like BERT, RoBERTa, and ALBERT. These powerful tools allowed me to build a reader component capable of extracting accurate and context-aware answers, a crucial skill in the field of Natural Language Processing.

This experience at Vanderbilt’s Data Science Institute has equipped me with not just technical expertise but also a keen understanding of practical applications in real-world scenarios. For anyone passionate about data science and its applications in novel areas, Vanderbilt offers an unparalleled platform to explore, innovate, and grow.”