Cat Miller

Engineer/Data Scientist at Mortar Data

New York, NY

Cat brings her data science expertise, passion for health care, and thoughful approach to make a difference in the DataCorps. 

Tell us about your work with DataKind.

We worked with Medic Mobile to help them quantify the impact of interventions like vaccination in developing countries.

What inspires you to use your data skills for good in your spare time?

Ultimately the point of having technical skills is to use them to improve the world. Sometimes we can do that and get paid for it too, but having an outlet where we can be guaranteed to make a difference is very satisfying.

What is one of the most surprising things you've learned or seen in working with data?

How much people don't know what data they have. Often there is absolutely no one in an organization who can say for certain what they store.

What’s the most interesting or visually striking data project you’ve seen recently?

I'm really enjoying the return of fivethirtyeight.com and getting cogent analysis using actual math on a range of topics. Their mammogram story was one of the few I've read that correctly digests recent studies on the subject without being sensationalist about it. 

What other blogs do you read?

Because I'm interested in the health care space, my absolute favorite blog is The Incidental Econonomist. They have a series of YouTube videos about health care questions that's also excellent.

What does someone getting started with data science need to learn?

Enough math and coding to know when a result is suspicious and likely to be wrong. Most of all, the ability to generate good questions.

What is a fact no one would guess about you?

My only varsity letter in high school was in football. I was the team manager, and for some reason, we got letters. Though in fairness, carrying water was more work than they got on the field some weeks. And I learned that it's surprisingly hard to take notes on each of the plays when you don't have an announcer summing it up for you.