Alumni Profile

Greg Gaylord

What inspired you to pursue an MS in data science at Georgetown?

I wanted to pursue an MS in data science for a wide variety of reasons. I graduated from my undergraduate program in May of 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Since there weren’t many jobs available, I decided that it was the perfect time to go back to school and knock out a graduate degree. I chose data science because I excelled the most in my STEM-heavy classes during undergrad and I had friends who highly recommended the field. I chose Georgetown because, well, it’s Georgetown! 

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

Learn as wide a variety of skills as possible. Don’t just focus on a single subject. Data Scientists are by nature Swiss Army knives who are capable of doing many things and wearing many hats. The more tools under your belt, the more useful you become. 

Do you have any advice for current/prospective DSAN students?

My advice would be to learn as much Python and other technical skills as possible, even if it’s not what you want to do for the rest of your career. It is much, much easier for a technical person to become a manager than it is for a manager to become a technical person.

How did you initially become interested in Machine Learning? What drives your passion for its real-world applications?

I think the more you learn about Machine Learning the less mysterious it becomes. To the rest of the world, Machine Learning is a catch-all term that’s synonymous with “magic” but to us, it’s simple concepts and a little bit of fancy math. The insider understanding of these algorithms that are starting to change the world is fascinating to me and it’s this interest that drives me to implement it in whatever situation I can.

What advice would you give to someone considering the DSAN program?

Do it! Even if you don’t have any coding experience it is well worth it. DSAN students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and there are systems in place to help all people get as much as they can from the program. 

What were some of your best experiences at Georgetown, both inside and/or outside of the classroom?

Meeting my cohort in person after getting to know each other virtually for about a year was one of my best experiences at Georgetown. I’ve also enjoyed getting to know the professors and staff members and continuing to be a part of the DSAN community even after having graduated years ago. 

What was your favorite project that you worked on?

There was one project where we got free access to the Twitter API and we got to fish for Tweets with all sorts of different criteria. Monitoring what the world was saying online, in real time, was a treat. We then used the Tweets to build NLP models and run unsupervised clustering methods to see what we could learn. The free API no longer exists, so it’s also interesting to think about how I was one of the last people on Earth to get access to it. 

If you could have any superpower what would it be, and why?

Teleportation. I love to travel and if I could cut plane tickets out of the cost equation I’d be able to see everything I ever wanted!