Hi! I am Sean Kent a second-year Ph.D. student Statistics at the University of Wisconsin - Madison with detailed coursework in Machine Learning, Statistical Theory, Optimization, and Economics. I excel at learning new modeling techniques and applying them to relevant data through statistical software.
Previously, I've spent 3 summers at Paynet, Inc., where I worked in SQL, R, and Python to turn their database of over 25 million small and private business contracts into models and insight. Outside of statistics, I've built managerial and entrepreneurial skills through co-owning and running a small pizza shop with as many as 7 employees.
Not too long ago, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, I was convinced that Craps is by far the most exciting game in the casino. Maybe it’s the dice constantly flying through the air. Maybe it’s the loud shouts from players and dealers: “Dice out!”, “Six, winner!”, “Odds on my ten!”. Or maybe it’s the camaraderie formed by winning and losing with (almost) everyone at the table. Whatever the case, I had to learn how to play. [Read More...]
Recap Westworld S2E10 by checking out this word cloud, which emphasizes words frequently occurring in the episode, relative to how often they occur in the show. [Read More...]
Recap Westworld S2E09 by checking out this word cloud, which emphasizes words frequently occurring in the episode, relative to how often they occur in the show. [Read More...]
For those who haven’t seen HBO’s sci-fi/western/dystopian hit series Westworld, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a friend or coworker who are crazy about it. I, for one, would certainly be put in that category by my friends. The show has a way of drawing people in—be it from a plot that weaves complex themes regarding good and evil, human and machine, or ethics in the face of new technology with allusions to classic biblical and mythological stories to the beautiful cinematography and the sheer “acting Olympics” it takes to do the script justice. But, underlying these attributes is one more way that Westworld attracts its loyal audience: constant repetition. [Read More...]
I'm currently studying as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Statistics, with the hopes of also completing a graduate minor in Computer Science. Stay tuned for more updates on my research interests, interesting courses, and other information!
I completed my Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, with a minor in actuarial science from Notre Dame in 2017, but that hardly tells the whole story. I took courses ranging from honors general education courses, including Philosophy, History, and English, to challenging elective courses like Machine Learning, graduate-level Econometrics, Investment Theory, and Topological Data Analysis. In my spare time, I was an active participant in my residence hall community—serving as its representative in the Student Government Senate and running the hall's pizza restaurant, Keough Kitch.
[Madison, WI] Facilitated and lead discussions in 3 sections of Applied Regression Analysis, including a total of 70 students. Overall rating of 4.75/5.00.
[Madison, WI] Responsible for teaching 139 students in Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences through giving lectures, writing exams, and creating homework and discussion materials.
[Madison, WI] Facilitated and lead discussions in 2 sections of Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences, including a total of 91 students. Overall rating of 4.40/5.00.
[Madison, WI] Facilitated and lead discussions in 3 sections of Introductory Statistics for Engineers, including a total of 143 students. Overall rating of 4.80/5.00.
[Skokie, IL] Continuing on my previous experience at Paynet, I independently constructed a model for business owner's compensation based on location, industry, and Bureau of Labor Statistics data. For the first time, I saw this model through the entire process, including exploratory data analysis, design, building in R and SQL, and testing. I further worked under Paynet's Director of Statistical Model Development & Chief Economist for additional ad hoc projects and review of his work.
[Skokie, IL] Working under Paynet's Lead Statistical Modeler and Senior Economist, my major contributions were twofold. First, I researched and explored the opportunity of machine learning models in the heavily regulated commercial lending space. This project involved understanding the theoretical framework, best practices, and practical implementations of several models—neural networks, random forests, gradient boosting, and elastic net—as well as testing these models in python as a comparison to one of Paynet's current products. This brought the entire modeling team up to speed on the most popular machine learning techniques and proved we could ensemble a few different models to quickly benchmark the performance of the interpretable models currently in use. The later portion of the summer was spent creating tools for analyzing past performance of our AbsolutePD model, both to serve as guidance for AbsolutePD v2 and set up a framework for evaluating future model performance. Near automation was achieved by integrating SQL code in an R script, allowing for an evaluation of 4 key metrics across hundreds of categories and cross-categories. The SQL/R integration that I figured out saved countless hours of manually running similar SQL scripts, and could speed up many other processes in the Analytics department.
[Notre Dame, IN] Tucked away in the first floor of Keough Hall lies a small yet bustling pizza restaurant fondly called Keough Kitch. My good friend and I took over ownership in 2015. Combining a data-driven approach to management and a revamped menu and marketing strategy, we pushed sales above all past records available, and created a strong presence in the residence hall community. This was all possible because of the excellent team we hired and managed, excel workbooks containing dashboards where we could see key performance indicators at a glance, and superb restaurant knowledge for our age. I primarily handled the design and upkeep of the excel documents, planning and execution of marketing promotions, and all financial aspects; however, as with any business ownership, many other responsibilities could be added to this list.
[Skokie, IL] In my first stint at Paynet, I came in with no professional experience, and a moderate understanding of excel. By the time I finished, I had made significant contributions to a project that predicts the probability of default for any industry and location combination, became comfortable coding in R and SQL, and developed an advanced understanding of Excel. This evolution was all possible due to a passion for learning and an excellent boss. He started me off reading an academic paper that underpinned the model he was building, and soon I was documenting and assuring the quality of his R code. Because of my familiarity with his code—and because my boss was swamped with work—I finished writing his code and did the majority of the analysis of results for our probability of default model, which was based on a hierarchical credibility framework. With the remaining time, I helped build automated excel spreadsheets for various deliverables and helped design and run SQL queries on Paynet's database of over 23 million small business loans.
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