Who We Are: Mikaela Hoffman-Stapleton, Arable Data Scientist

Meet Mikaela Hoffman-Stapleton, a member of Arable’s data science team. Mikaela models and operationalizes the machine learning that makes the insights our customers receive so valuable. Here’s her story.

Like many in the field, Mikaela loves math, but she brings more than that to the table. She’s also a synesthete, someone who experiences more than one sense at a time and sees numbers and letters in color. This means her mental equations are bigger and brighter — and the number four is always orange.

Mikaela channeled her colorful passion into degrees in both math and physics. Then, she spent a year cycling across the country by herself. While she loved the solitude and open horizons, traveling got her thinking about her career. “It was an amazing adventure,” she says, “but after a while I wanted to get back to using my mind in a problem-solving way.”

Mikaela crossing the iconic Bixby Bridge along Highway 1 in Big Sur, California.

She rode home to Berkeley, CA, where she’s spent most of her life, and pursued a graduate degree in data science.

“What I like about data is that it’s open,” Mikaela says, noting that she worked in transportation and customer satisfaction before joining Arable two years ago. “It’s not limited in how it can be applied. For example, when I interviewed, I knew I was really into food, but I didn’t fully understand what ag is all about.”

She did know, however, that the number of women she spoke with during the hiring process was impressive. ‘There’s actually a pretty balanced ratio on our team,” she says, an anomaly in tech. “I’ve made some good friends here.”

Mikaela takes a roadside rehydration break on her cross-country bike journey.

When she’s not developing apps or modeling the millions of data points provided by our Cal/Val Network (read the whitepaper she wrote about it), Mikaela plays ice hockey or skateboards goofy foot around the East Bay. She also records old-school mix tapes and brews fruity homemade mead. Though the pandemic has her home with her two cats, she dreams of another long cycling trip with camping, hot springs, and road signs marking the miles in super color.

Stacy Basko is a writer for Arable. For more like this visit our blog, The Plot.

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