I launched my career as a data scientist not when I started working with big data or took up machine learning but in my first post-Ph.D. job as a data specialist in a school district. Some of the time I spent doing the kind of analyses I had been trained to do as a doctoral student. And some of the time I spent doing completely new and different tasks, like setting up an on-line assessment system. But all of the time I spent there was valuable because all of it made me understand the end user that is now front-and-center…


I work primarily with quantitative data, so recently when I had a few projects that involved merging on strings, I had to enter a new, messy world. My first challenge? Encountering bizarre character strings from a .csv file that I read into R. As many in the quantitative analysis field have been trained to do (see the From Excel section in this tutorial and the Answer to this StackOverflow question), I started by saving my .xlsx file as a .csv. This step resulted in bits of string that looked completely normal when viewing in Excel, as shown below:

And then…


I’m Tara Chiatovich, Panorama Education’s Research Scientist. My work generally fits into one of three buckets:

  • Thinking through opportunities to incorporate research in our product, from proposing new research-backed features to ensuring data visualizations are accurate and informative
  • Using research and data science to gain insights from our data that can inform what happens in schools
  • Supporting team members through research, including sharing articles and answering questions on research topics

Before joining Panorama, I had good experiences working with all kinds of people: researchers; non-researchers; tech-savvy teachers, principals, and instructional coaches; tech-phobic teachers, principals, and instructional coaches; and, of course…

Tara Chiatovich

Research and Data Scientist for Panorama Education

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