Cathy Slesnick & Francis O’Donovan

We are both astronomers turned data scientists. In our previous astronomy lives, Cathy studied how stars form, and Francis looked for planets around stars outside of our solar system. We both spent a lot of time staying up all night at telescopes to take pictures of space.

We left academy after our post-docs and each of us now leads a team of data scientists at our respective companies. Francis’ team uses data to develop models that help hospitals run more efficiently. Cathy’s team uses data to build models that help drivers who break down get the help they need from a tow truck as quickly as possible. It may seem like what we do now is very different from astronomy but in terms of day-to-day work, it is not. In both parts of our career we have focused on using data, combined with math, statistics and computer programming, to better understand the world (or universe) around us.