Data Scientist, Ariosa Diagnostics
Albuquerque, New Mexico
B.A., Colorado College
M.S., Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph.D., Mathematics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
What brought you to the Coon group for your post-doc?
I had already been collaborating with the group for a number of years before starting my post-doc. To complete a collaboration involving databases, I had to be a student. I had already been contemplating going back to school, so the timing aligned well for taking advantage of the opportunity.
“I think the most important thing that any Ph.D. program can do for you is to train you to be a scientist.”
What are you currently doing with your impressive set of degrees, and how did your graduate training prepare you for this position?
I’m responsible for maintaining a product we develop at Ariosa that determines whether unborn fetuses have trisomies, extra chromosome in one form or another. As a data scientist I track statistics to see if and when something is going on and, ideally, identify how to fix it.
I had been a person with a tremendous amount of intellectual creativity but unable to use it because I didn’t have three letters after my name. I think the most important thing that any Ph.D. program can do for you is to train you to be a scientist. That’s just as true in math as it is in chemistry. What that means is being able to self-correct and find answers independently. That’s certainly something that I’ve been able to use in my career, whether I was doing proteomics or not. I’ve taken a long path to my current position, but I thoroughly enjoy what I do because it’s challenging and interesting work. I feel like I’ve had an impact on a wider community of scientists, and that’s a rewarding feeling.
Earn your Ph.D. with us
The Coon Group is always on the lookout for new members. Professor Coon accepts students from several UW-Madison doctoral programs including Chemistry, the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), and Cellular & Molecular Pathology.