Laurie Skelly is a Data Scientist at Chicago-based data consulting firm Datascope, and a curriculum developer and instructor for the Data Science bootcamp at Metis. Laurie joined the Datascope team after completing her PhD in the Integrative Neuroscience Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. There, she studied social neuroscience under Professor Jean Decety, and in her dissertation used what she eventually learned to call machine learning algorithms on functional MRI data to model the neural processes behind empathy and social information processing deficits in incarcerated psychopaths.
As a peripheral benefit of a graduate training that bridged the physical and social sciences, she learned the ropes of zooming in and out between the macroscopic and the microscopic — how do millions of data points come together to tell us something meaningful about human nature? And how can words and pictures communicate sophisticated ideas in a digestible and memorable way? Connecting a real-world problem to its ideal technical solution is an art and a science. At Datascope, Laurie has led and contributed to projects for clients ranging from international Fortune 50 giants to regional nonprofits, representing a broad collection of business sectors and verticals.
Success in data science requires broad and flexible technical ability, critical design thinking, and skillful visual and verbal communication. In her work designing the curriculum and teaching for Metis's Data Science Bootcamp, she learned to appreciate the formal interrelationships between these skills as she and Datascope partner Irmak Sirer guide bootcamp students to nurture and integrate their natural talents in these areas. During this time she has developed a deepened passion for mentorship, and is currently exploring ways to help open the doors wider for others to the profession that she has found so fulfilling.