2017 Spring Graduates Stories

Anaelia (Elia) Ovalle

BS '17, Data Science Major

Immediately — as in the Monday after graduation — I begin my new job as a data scientist at Unity Technologies here in San Francisco, which I’m super excited about.

Many of the most compelling personal journeys involve fresh starts, and that’s certainly the case for Elia Ovalle '17. She began her college career at University of Denver as a dual major in business analytics and Russian, before deciding to take a “hardcore” data analytics course that made her realize that she loves visualizing the stories data can tell. Since University of Denver didn’t offer a data science major, she started looking for schools with programs that did, which led her to USF.

What’s your favorite USF memory?
Well, it isn’t directly school-related, but it wouldn’t have happened anywhere but USF! I was waiting for Professor Needham’s office hours to begin and panicking about my calculus midterm the next day, when a girl who was also waiting to talk to him noticed my distress, calmed me down, and told me everything would be ok. She’s now been my girlfriend of almost two years. Best memory by far.

What are your plans after graduation?
Immediately — as in the Monday after graduation — I begin my new job as a data scientist at Unity Technologies here in San Francisco, which I’m super excited about. They are constantly pushing the envelope as far as technology in helping new and smaller companies to create, monetize, and improve online gaming.

My longer-term plan is to take the GRE and earn a PhD in computer science or statistics, and my dream goal is to be a lead researcher on the Google Brain Team, which is a group that performs deep-diving research into the potential of artificial intelligence.

How do you want to change the world from here?
I recently was reading about a company in Rwanda called Zipline, which uses drones to deliver medical essentials to people in areas that lack the infrastructure or proper terrain for normal land or air delivery. I want to help develop often-overlooked niches of cutting-edge tech like that.

What’s your best advice to incoming USF students?
Be aware of your inherent biases and consciously stretch yourself to find opportunities. Take advantage of this crazy-diverse environment that is unique to USF — you’ll grow socially and spiritually, as well as academically.