Cagla Tasdemir (PhD EE 2018)
Many careers today did not exist only a few years ago. One example is that of Data Scientist. Cagla Tasdemir, a 2018 PhD graduate of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), is now a data scientist at a major New York financial institution, JPMorgan Chase. But how she got there is an interesting story.
Cagla originally graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering from Istanbul Technical University. At Stony Brook University she did her graduate work with Chair of ECE Petar Djuric. Her research was focused on methods that process signals with the objective of discovering relationships in complex systems. Cagla was inspired by her sister, who received a PhD in Computer Science, to go for her own PhD. Cagla also completed a Data Science bootcamp for PhD’s where she did a project and presented it to companies that were hiring. While her studies at Stony Brook helped her to quickly build the project, the bootcamp helped her understand the expectations and differences in completing a project in industry versus academia. The bootcamp also made it possible for Cagla to develop a large network of data scientists.
Data scientists create mathematical models that use data to solve business and scientific problems, and allow businesses to make informed decisions by using advanced mathematical techniques and programming. As a PhD student, Cagla had the chance to learn and apply advanced statistical methods on problems from various areas such as sensor networks and gene networks. While looking for novel solutions to different problems, Cagla was able to build the background and gain the “must have” skills she needed.
During her studies at Stony Brook, Cagla worked as both a teaching and research assistant. Planning out priorities weekly or bi-weekly helped her balance her research and classes.
At Stony Brook Cagla was part of the COSINE lab (Communications, Signal Processing and Networking). While the students there had a lot in common in their research, she said it was one of the most diverse groups she had ever worked with, as the students learned about different cultures, backgrounds and perspectives.
Cagla always thought Stony Brook was fortunate to have the Staller Center for the Arts on campus. She loved the great live performance and movies in the academic year and summer. Her personal interests include movies, traveling and yoga.
Cagla feels networking is important in building a career path (both in academia and industry) and anything the university can do to help students and alumni connect is a good thing.
Technologies may change but Cagla’s career so far shows basics like networking and a solid education are timeless.