Chenyuan Li

The quality of the DATS program is the key attraction for me. I think the curriculum is well-designed and allows flexibility as well.”

Advising Hours: Tuesdays from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm EST

Degree(s) M.S.E. in Data Science, University of Pennsylvania

Hometown: Shanghai, China

What was your background before joining the Data Science (DATS) Program?
I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University in 2019. I was a double-major student in Mathematics and Computational & Applied Mathematics with two minors in Statistics and Financial Computation & Modeling.

What drew you to study Data Science at Penn?
The quality of the DATS program is the key attraction for me. I think the curriculum is well-designed and allows flexibility as well. The cohort size is also just right for me. I have been able to meet and connect with many talented people from this program.

What are some classes that you have particularly enjoyed and why?
My favorite classes are CIS 522: Applied Deep Learning for Data Science with Professor Kording and CIS 550: Database and Information Systems with Professor Davidson.

CIS 522 provides a thorough overview of the hottest areas in deep learning at the moment, including computer vision, natural language processing, and reinforcement learning. Focused more on the application part of these deep learning topics, the course supplements theory with challenging yet rewarding homework assignments that would help you implement some of the advanced deep learning models. The final project also allows you to choose a topic you are interested in and use materials learned from the course to explore further.

CIS 550 is a course that I would recommend to all DATS students. It helped me understand the concepts of database design. There are also many hands-on components that allow students to write queries and design databases. I also enjoyed the final project, which is a full-stack project that includes frontend, backend development, and databases.

What internships have you had? If you know your post graduation plans, please include here.
I interned at two tech startups in the Bay Area before joining the DATS program. For the summer of 2020, I worked as a data science intern on the Marketing Analytics team at Spotify. I have also been working part-time as a research associate at the Wharton Research Data Services since September 2019.

What advice do you have for new students?
Don’t be afraid to seek advice from your fellow DATS students and professors. Be open about taking courses in different areas. Start preparing for interviews early because there are a lot of different materials that may be covered in data science interviews.