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Demystifying Data Science (Or: There’s No One Way to Become a Data Scientist)

October 20, 2016 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Join us Thursday, October 20th at our official Grand Opening, when we will hear from an esteemed panel of data scientists who will discuss and present on their varied and interesting paths into the profession. They will, collectively, “Demystify Data Science,” providing insight into their personal journeys and current roles through a series of lightning talks followed by a moderated panel discussion. You’ll hear from Greg Reda, Data Science Lead at Sprout Social; Jeremy Watt, author of Machine Learning Refined; and Jessica Freaner, Data Scientist at Datascope Analytics. The discussion will be moderated by Lorena Mesa, Engineer at Sprout Social (and PyLadies Chicago organizer).

To kick off the event, we are excited and honored to have Tom Schenk Jr., Chicago’s Chief Data Officer, in attendance to give the opening remarks!

Event Schedule:
6:30 – 6:45: Mingle, Eat, & Drink
6:45 – 7:00 Grand Opening and Opening Remarks
7:00 – 8:30: Presentations and Panel Discussion


Tom Schenk Jr. 

Chief Data Officer, City of Chicago

Tom Schenk is a researcher, author, and an expert in a number of fields, including open government, data visualization, business and research and policy in education. He is currently the Chief Data Officer at the City of Chicago, which includes overseeing Chicago’s open data portal, advanced analytics team, and the City’s data and business intelligence team. He leads the strategic use of data to improve the efficiency of city operations and improve the quality of life for residents. Tom has lead the expansion of Chicago’s leading open data portal, deployed predictive analytics in the City to improve data services, and has streamlined the City’s data operations. 


Greg Reda 

Data Science Lead, Sprout Social

Greg Reda is a data scientist with eight years of data science, engineering, and analytics expertise. Experienced in building and leading data science teams within startups, Greg is currently the Data Science Lead at Sprout Social, a leading provider of social media engagement, advocacy and analytics solutions for business. Passionate about teaching others programming and data science skills, Greg regularly speaks at conferences, writes articles and tutorials, and contributes to open source software. In addition to Sprout Social, Greg has held data science roles at GrubHub, Datascope Analytics, and PwC.

Jeremy Watt 

Author of Machine Learning Refined 

Jeremy Watt holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University where he conducted research in machine learning and computer vision while actively consulting with partners in finance and insurance, as well as startups in the e-commerce and healthcare space. Jeremy is a seasoned and passionate instructor of data science. In addition to authoring his own textbook on machine learning, titled Machine Learning Refined and published by Cambridge University Press, he has designed and taught several large university courses on machine learning, as well as large tutorial short courses on deep learning at major conferences on artificial intelligence and computer vision. 

Jessica Freaner 

Data Scientist, Datascope Analytics

Jess is a Data Scientist at Datascope Analytics. Before joining Datascope, Jess was a data scientist consultant with IBM Advanced Analytics and Watson Experience where she was part of the ideation and execution of advanced analytics engagements for global Fortune 500 clients across industries. After receiving her BA in Psychology from New York University, she taught herself to code COBOL and worked more than four years in trade finance supporting an international client base. Outside of Datascope, Jess loves to tinker and create, whether that means whipping up something new in the kitchen, DIY-ing a costume or getting down and dirty with her latest home improvement project. 


Lorena Mesa 

Engineer, Sprout Social

Political analyst turned coder, Lorena Mesa is a Sprout Social data engineer, Director at the Python Software Foundation, PyLadies Chicago co-organizer, and Write/Speak/Code conference organizer. Lorena loves to make meaning out of data, asking big questions and using her code to build models to derive that meaning. Part-Star Wars-fanatic, but mostly a Trekkie, Lorena abides by the motto to “live long and prosper”.


Thanks to our event co-sponsors Data Science Chicago and PyLadies Chicago!

Connect with us before the event! @thisismetis


October 20, 2016
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Metis Chicago
1033 West Van Buren St, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL us


Data Science Chicago