Class of 2021

Photo of Zizhuo Xavier Dong

Xavier earned his Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering and a Minor in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin. During his undergraduate studies, he enriched his interests in data science through research involvement in the RAPID research consortium working on data analytics projects focused on improvements in upstream energy operation. The experience demonstrated to him the potential of leveraging big data to create business value in the energy industry. It motivated him to explore internships and graduate studies in analytics to better prepare for a data science career.

In the summer after graduation, Xavier engaged in an IT internship with Equinor to complete a data science project that leveraged datasets from offshore drilling platforms located in the Norwegian Continental Shelf. During this, he facilitated automated data extraction and preprocessing from the company’s Azure databases. As well as the development of several machine-learning models (including random forests and LSTM neural network) in Python to forecast non-productive time and events during offshore drilling operations with a goal to improve efficiency and safety. Through this project, he gained hands-on experience working with time-series data and unstructured datasets, then data-mining them to extract useful patterns. This internship solidified his career passion in data science, and he is eager to apply his analytics skillsets to discover insights and support decision making for his future organization. He seeks to deliver data-driven business solutions to tackle industry challenges and become an effective storyteller with data.

Xavier is excited to bring his experiences in both energy and computational science to Northwestern. He looks forward to growing his proficiency in data science fundamentals such as statistics, coding, and modeling, as well as his business acumen and communication skills during his studies there. Through the industry practicums project, he will strive to strengthen his ability to solve real-world analytics problems through the application of data technologies and collaboration with his peers. Outside of work and school, Xavier is an individual who possesses interests in geopolitics, renewable energy, the credit card industry, computer hardware, automotive technology, and fitness. He also manages an online storefront on Amazon Marketplace to satisfy his passion for entrepreneurship.