WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
from January 2023
What’s your name?
How many years did you attend ISHR?
What year did you graduate?
What are you up to now?
After graduating from ISHR, I spent 6 years in New York City, completing my undergraduate studies and a master’s degree. I focused on operations research and applied mathematics, and spent some time exploring research in combinatorial optimization. During the last two years of my studies, the field of machine learning started heating up, as tech companies began throwing massive computing resources at recent discoveries in deep learning, which promised highly scalable language and computer vision models. While I had come across these models in my studies, it was difficult to see them in action at university, since the data and computing resources they require were mostly being harbored in the tech industry. I was curious about these techniques, so I started working as a machine learning engineer in early 2021 and moved to Los Angeles that summer. It’s been really exciting to build and see deep learning models in action, especially in a Trust and Safety context. Recent launches in interactive models such as ChatGPT or DALL·E 2 have also started sparking interest for these techniques in a more public forum, and I am excited to see what the future holds.
What was your favorite subject at ISHR?
Math with Ms. Phatarfod was iconic.
In what ways do you feel ISHR prepared you for what came next?
I feel very fortunate to have attended a school at which students were never limited by the school’s resources in their ability to become competitive at local or international universities. A great amount of effort and capital has gone into making this possible at ISHR, and the success of its students speaks to the far-reaching benefits of maintaining a well-functioning educational institution. It’s frustrating to see that this known seems to be neglected in government, when you look at how many students are limited by the capacity of their local public education system, in both Germany and the US.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in adapting to life after ISHR?
I found the engineering school setting to be quite competitive. Taking classes with your friends and joking around from time to time is very different from a 250 person lecture hall, in which everyone is competing to pass and get a solid grade. It taught me that technical fields can be a very social and collaborative when you make the effort, and while this can help reduce the competitive nature of things, you sometimes also need that competitive spirit to push you to the next level.
What advice would you give to current students or your former self?
I think, for a long time people in Germany looked at the generation born in the 90s and thereafter as having avoided the worst and being born into this futuristic bliss of technology and international peace and collaboration. Obviously, that didn’t pan out, and now we’re confronted with a heap of ‘unexpected’ conflicts and a well-expected climate crisis. The complexity of the situation at hand seems to require this same generation to suit up and figure this one out, and I think that’s great motivation to give it your best in school and launch yourself into this crazy world we live in.
What’s your favorite memory from your time at ISHR?
Graduation week was a very memorable time, celebrating with friends and family, and being done after so many years.