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Data Scientist by Day, Artist by Night: Meet Evelyn Cai

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

By: Abbey Pan, PRISE, Harvard College '22

Our next amazing Fellows of HSURV feature is Evelyn Cai (BLISS Fellow), a rising junior in Lowell House concentrating in Government. This summer, Evelyn has been working with David Kane, Preceptor in Statistical Methods and Mathematics in the Government Department, on “developing resources for his data science course [Gov 1005] and exploring real datasets as potential examples.” In helping to create a textbook for use in Preceptor Kane’s course, Evelyn has been able to use, expand, and share her own knowledge of data science to make these tools and new technologies accessible to those just beginning their journey in learning data science. The pedagogical resources for Gov 1005 are currently being developed with the hopes of eventually being used in other courses at both Harvard and beyond. When asked how she would explain her research to a five-year-old, Evelyn responded:

We’re basically creating a set of tools for people with no previous background or experience in data analytics, kind of like a five-year old, to help them learn how to use these technologies!

One of her favorite aspects of this research project has been how it is “unlike your traditional social science research” and being able to apply data science tools to real-life scenarios–political science scenarios in particular–which is particularly important in regards to her personal interest “in making a difference on public policy issues by analyzing and displaying data in a meaningful way.”

You’ll find Evelyn working with datasets by day, but dancing for TikToks and drawing masterpieces by night. When asked what keeps her up at night, Evelyn described all the creative outlets she loves to express herself through with dance and drawing being her highlights. An active member in Expressions Dance Company and Asian American Dance Troupe on campus, Evelyn has turned to TikTok as a means of continuing to dance and create during this quarantine. When quarantine ends, Evelyn shared that “the first thing [she] is looking forward to doing is eating safely at a restaurant with friends,” and as an additional fun fact, Evelyn would love to be a contestant on Survivor if given the chance to be on any reality show!

From writing data science textbooks to TikTok to (hopefully) one day Survivor, Evelyn is not only talented, but is also one to share her variety of skills and passions with others. Be sure to say hi to this wonderful BLISS Fellow once quarantine is over!

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