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Riley Murray, double-major in physics and linguistics and a minor in mathematics, knew she wanted to pursue a master’s degree after graduation. What she didn’t expect was landing a research job in her “gap year” that aligned seamlessly with her interests in data science and natural language processing.
Riley credits customized guidance from the College of Science Career Coaches, particularly Laura Cleave, for equipping her to identify and excel in her current role.
Through one-on-one coaching, Riley worked with Laura to polish her resume and sharpen her interview skills. “This guidance made me feel prepared and self assured during my job search,” Riley shared, deploying her decidedly unique blend of science, humanities and math Additionally, Riley gained insider tips for conveying her diverse skills and ambitions to potential employers. She also received tailored advice on negotiating job offers — a daunting task for many newly graduated students. As Riley explained, “Laura pushed me to advocate for myself while pursuing positions that matched my interests.”
Riley is now doing exactly the type of meaningful research that allowed her to explore her interests, as a Post-Baccalaureate Research Associate at Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL). Her role focuses on increasing transparency in artificial intelligence (AI) systems to identify potential biases.
“We’re investigating methods to interpret the inner workings of AI models, since we often don’t understand what information they use to make decisions,” Riley explained. “Our goal is improving fairness and accountability of these tools.” Combining her passions for data science, communication and impact, this work aligns perfectly with Riley’s ambitions. She credits Laura and the College of Science Career Coaches team for equipping her with both the specific opportunities and self-advocacy skills to excel in her new position and beyond.
Riley encourages all U science students to leverage career coaches’ personalized support and professional development opportunities. As her own post-graduation success proves, career coaches truly empower students to transform academic passions, regardless of their seemingly disparate academic interests, into purposeful work. Now on her own “data path” at PNNL, Riley is thrilled to see where those passions will take her next.
BY BIANCA LYON