On January 6, Lauren Brown ’15 delivered an Applied Science presentation, "Data Versatility: Using Data in Diverse Ways." Brown described data as a gateway into discovery—either of next steps, major findings, or general knowledge. Because of its power, data can be leveraged in virtually any field.
Brown’s interest in statistics was sparked when she took a statistics class at Pennington with Mr. Leib. She went on to major in statistics at Williams College, where she also played on the varsity women’s soccer team. Brown currently works as a quantitative data analyst for Cogo Labs, a tech startup incubator in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
During her presentation, Brown outlined the varied ways she has used different types of data in her day-to-day life over the past six years. She shared experiences using quantitative data in cognitive psychology labs, in her current job growing startup tech companies, and in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. She also gave students examples of data’s role in market research, professional soccer player salaries, user experience, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Brown is passionate about using data to unveil implicit biases both within the technology industry and within data models. “An implicit bias is a bias that we may hold to a specific group of people or ideas that we don’t even know we have,” explained Brown. “That is why it can be insidious in nature, because we don’t know that we’re actually introducing these biases into the ways we’re training specific models.”
Brown also described her experience of being a woman in the tech industry, and gave students tips for finding college internships and exploring career paths. She encouraged data-minded students to find datasets that interest them and start exploring for fun. “Statistics and data can be used in any discipline that interests you,” she said.