Kristen Oguno to join Novartis Global Data Science Talent Program

Oguno Novartis feature

Kristen Oguno has accepted an offer for a year-long position with the Novartis Global Data Science Talent Program. She will begin the remote role in June, after graduating from the Master of Science Data Science degree program.

“I am thrilled to be accepted into this program,” says Oguno. “Novartis is an innovative leader in science, and I am so thankful for the faculty and staff at Meharry because without them, I would have never had any of these opportunities. I’m very excited and blessed.”

Oguno has been under the supervision of Aize Cao, Ph.D., associate professor, biomedical data science, as a student in her lab.

Aize Cao

“Kristen was in my predictive modeling class, I encouraged her to do work for study under my supervision and nominated her to be an intern in the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists’ Health Equity Fellowship Program, and supervised her capstone project,” says Dr. Cao. “It has been a joy watching her growth from a brand-new student in the field of data science and biomedical data science to receiving this great offer.”

According to Novartis, the Global Data Science Talent program is a 12-month journey where participants will experience improved decision-making through data analysis, gain efficiency by automating tasks, and enjoy the flexibility of remote work. They will also have opportunities to expand their professional network, access cutting-edge resources, and thrive in our collaborative, dynamic, and forward-thinking environment.

Oguno navigated a three-step interview process. The first interview was more introductory while the second involved a series of technical questions. In her final step, she was challenged to complete a data analysis assessment, using data containing biomarker and genetic measurements to predict the occurrence of an event, in two days.

“You have to showcase your work and your knowledge prior to even being hired,” says Oguno. “Then they also wanted to go over the work I turned in. So it’s almost kind of like a capstone. You’re going over the data, how you chose to run the models, how you decided to manipulate the data to produce answers to specific questions. Overall, it went beyond just coding, I had to showcase my analytic competency.”

“So to take the things that I’ve learned in class, what I’m doing for my capstone, and see how that can culminate into a job was really cool,” she adds.

After an onboarding process, Oguno will begin working on data projects under the guidance of Novartis Senior Data Analysts Douglas Applegate Ph.D and Ye Zhang, Ph.D; spearheaded by Kahkeshan Hijazi, Ph.D. Concurrently, she will be further pursuing her data science education with the Meharry SACS Data Science Ph.D. degree program.

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