In college, I initially chose to major in physics, but then I discovered how much physics research relies on computer science, and how powerful a tool computers can be in unlocking new knowledge – both within physics and also in a vast array of different fields. That’s when I picked up a second major in computer science, pursuing my passion to use computer science to answer questions that would be otherwise unanswerable.
At FinePrint, I get to do just this by analyzing the transaction reports of Congress members and other politicians. While this is the kind of data that could be analyzed by hand, it’s a whole lot faster using computer science, which means we can produce insights into current events and recent trades in the moment, not years later. It allows us to answer some really interesting questions in the moment about topical issues, such as those surrounding COVID-19. Who sold shares in cruise lines in January? Who bought Zoom right before the pandemic unfolded? It also allows us to answer questions about historical trends covering years of data and thousands of transactions that would otherwise be impossible to calculate by hand. At FinePrint, we are using computer science and data science to shine a light on things that might otherwise be left in the dark, to answer key questions about the financial holdings of our representatives, and facilitate an age of accountability.
I am proud to be a part of a team that is so motivated, ready to listen to each other, and driven to take the next step together. I’m also just selfishly happy to be able to do what I enjoy – and excited to see what we discover next.
Katie recently graduated from Swarthmore College in May 2020, where she earned a BA in Physics and Computer Science. She’s now living in Denver, Colorado and is excited to be working on a project with such amazing people, and working on an ethical and exciting application of data science.