Daniel Vera

Title: 
Data Scientist
Company: 
Tala
Education: 

Ph.D. in Mathematics, June 2006, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

B.S. in Mathematics, Magna Cum Laude, June 2002, University of California, Irvine

Career Path: 

After working for several years as a quantitative analyst in investment management, I switched careers and became a data scientist at Tala. We are a financial technology company in Santa Monica, California, focused on expanding financial access for 3 billion under-served global customers in the emerging middle class. I received my Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT under Lars Hesselholt. My thesis was in algebraic topology. My current areas of interest include machine learning, data science, programming, probability theory, and statistics. I thrive on leveraging advanced mathematics and machine learning to uncover meaningful insights that deliver improved quality of life at scale. I am also passionate about education and mentoring students in STEM fields.

Career Experience: 
I initially started my career in hedge funds, working as a quantitative analyst before moving into my current field of data science.
Being part of a full stack data science team, I have experience with all aspects of the data science pipeline, including ETL (extract, transfer, load),
EDA (exploratory data analysis), modeling with machine learning algorithms, and productionizing code for our app.
I was also a instructor for various undergraduate math courses and a TA in graduate school. I thoroughly enjoy being a data scientist and working at a company where I believe in the mission.
It was challenging to change careers but it also provided me with insight into the process of switching paths and I would be happy to share what I have learned with students.
Personal Interests: 
I am an avid martial artist and train at the world renowned Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts in Marina Del Rey. My teacher, Dan Inosanto, was Bruce Lee's best friend and training partner.
Mr. Inosanto has also studied numerous martial arts. I primarily study eskrima (also known as kali, arnis, or simply Filipino Martial Arts) which is a weapon-based system that uses sticks, knives, swords, staffs, and flexible weapons (such as scarfs).
I also study Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), Silat (an Indonesian grappling and knife art), and Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee's martial art expression.
Number of Students I can Mentor: 
2
Joined Date: 
5 years 6 months ago
Ideal Mentoring Relationship: 
The primary form of contact would be via email but I would also like to meet my students in person for a coffee from time to time.