For Catherine Ordun where there is a will there is a way.
As a Booz Allen data scientist, Catherine uses data to question existing processes and find solutions to complex problems. Catherine’s innate curiosity, paired with degrees in biology and public health, led her to explore how diverse and unstructured data can have broad impacts on national health outcomes and policies. Catherine builds machine learning and natural language processing models and leads teams for defense and health clients, including the U.S. Army, Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Experience Office, the Food & Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) —where she aided in the development of the National Health Security Preparedness Index that measures the nation's state of health security and preparedness.
Surprisingly, it was music that first inspired Catherine to pursue a technical field. “I’ve played classical violin since I was eight. When I was 13, I auditioned for the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra with a very ambitious piece,” says Catherine. “I was intimidated by the concerto. But, my teacher taught me to go slow, methodically, measure by measure, moving up the metronome very slowly over a long period of time. I auditioned and got the highest chair out of all violinists that year. I learned that, with determination and patience, something seemingly impossible and complex can be broken down into manageable parts.”
Based out of the DC metro area, Catherine recently put her skills to the test at Booz Allen’s Annual Data Science Bowl, a social good competition presented in partnership with Kaggle. The challenge: Create an algorithm to automate nucleus detection. By identifying nuclei quickly and accurately, the algorithms developed in this competition can improve biologists’ efficiency so that they can dedicate time to other things, like finding cures to diseases. Serving as the team lead, Catherine showed her champion’s heart and ushered her colleagues to a first-place position among seven fellow Booz Allen teams.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with amazingly smart, highly capable, driven people who inspire and challenge me. Together, our collective ingenuity knows no bounds. I am also empowered by my leaders and mentors who genuinely invest in my success.”