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Kevin Zhai

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Born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Kevin graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S.E in Materials Science Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. He dedicated himself to a multidisciplinary education at Penn, rounding out his coursework with classes ranging from literature and history to economics and entrepreneurship. Through his experience at Penn, he discovered his passion for improving society through interdisciplinary, data-focused solutions.

Kevin’s first experience with managing large data sets was through his summer research in the Materials Science department at Penn. He used MATLAB and Linux environments to run Molecular Dynamic simulations on over 10,000 points of data representing graphene and polystyrene nanocomposites. The next summer, he applied his skills at GT Advanced Technologies, a solar module company located in San Jose. Here, he worked with the incoming flow of daily manufacturing data to create a visual dashboard containing important statistical parameters and metrics about the manufacturing line. This experience working with real-time data solidified his desire to pursue big data analytics.

Excited to be learning data science at Northwestern, Kevin is ready to master predictive analytic techniques in order to advance whichever industry he finds himself in. Kevin is particularly interested in the Internet of Things space, where he believes the intersection of materials science and data analytics can come together to develop smarter cities. When he has free time, he enjoys playing tennis, swing dancing, and pretending he can freestyle rap.