Alumni Profile

Brian Li

Brian Li is standing facing the camera smiling and wearing his black graduation gown with a yellow hood and blue stole.

MS ’23

Data Engineer & Senior Data Scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton

How has acquiring your master’s degree impacted your career journey?

Getting my master’s degree has cultivated a sense of confidence derived from hours of hard work and dedication. The academic rigor and breadth of the program have prepared me well as I embark on my career journey in the dynamic, fast-paced data science industry. Equally important is the network I’ve built in the process of attending various conferences, workshops, and hackathons. The collaborative environment at Georgetown, fostered by diligent peers and nurturing professors has not only boosted my academic and professional growth but has also contributed greatly to my personal growth. In the last two years, I’ve evolved into a stronger data scientist, and more importantly, a more well-rounded individual.

What inspired you to pursue a career in data science and analytics?

My fascination with statistics began in high school during AP Statistics, where I was intrigued by its broad applications and its role in decision-making. At that point, my higher education path still remained uncertain. However, my passion for data science truly blossomed during my college years. At Hamilton, I became one of the first to craft an interdisciplinary data science major, blending computer science, math, and statistics to align with my specific interests. Recognizing that undergraduate studies were just the tip of the iceberg, I decided to pursue a master’s in data science, and I haven’t looked back since!

Why did you choose the DSAN program?

After going to college in a very small-town environment, I knew I wanted to be in an urban environment for grad school. I had visited DC in the past, and Georgetown left a mark on me because of its beauty and charm. I remember looking at the old DSAN website, and seeing how happy the students looked. Academically, I liked that there were 5 core classes and 5 electives that we could choose from. Having the option of picking electives specific to my interests was a big deciding factor for me. 

What was the best career advice you received while in the DSAN program?

The best advice I got was pretty simple but stuck with me. It’s all about looking at the bigger picture. This is especially true in data science, but I’ve found it to be solid life advice too.

What were some of your best experiences in the program, both inside and outside the classroom?

A large group of students smile facing the camera, standing in a large group. Brian Li is in the top left of the image holding the camera for a selfie.

The time spent with my classmates and professors holds a special place in my heart. The past two years have been some of the happiest, largely thanks to the friendships I forged along the way. Post-graduation, what I miss most is the daily interaction with friends and peers. A special memory is the DSAN game night—a classic, carefree gathering where everyone in the program came together to enjoy each other’s company.

Beyond the program, becoming a part of the vibrant DC music scene has been both enjoyable and enriching. Playing music with my friends has been a vital escape from the daily grind of crunching numbers. Working as a barista at Compass Coffee in Georgetown also added a fun element and really connected me to the community I hold dear.

What was your favorite DSAN course at Georgetown? Why?

Selecting a favorite class is a challenge, as each one has played a role in my development as a data scientist. However, if I were to pinpoint the most memorable, it would be Digital Storytelling with Professor Irina Vayndiner. This course fundamentally shifted my perspective on the role of data scientists. It helped me understand that the meticulous work and time invested in cleaning and summarizing data serves a larger purpose—to craft compelling narratives that resonate with the audience. 

Favorite gig your band has played?

I would have to say our first gig at Union Stage on the Wharf is my favorite! It was our first show in DC and the most memorable part was all of my friends showing love and supporting us. It was such a wholesome moment and I’ll never ever forget it! Stay tuned for new music from Melophoria dropping soon 🙂

What are you reading/watching/playing/listening to or learning right now?

I’m really enjoying Mitski’s new album The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, and I think it’s a soothing, warm listen to complement Fall. My favorites are tracks 3, 7, and 8. Also, lots of Peach Pit, MUNA, and Men I Trust since I got to see them live recently. I’m currently reading The Three-Body Problem, which was recommended to me by a fellow DSAN graduate. Also eagerly waiting for the new Murakami book to be translated soon!