Computational linguist

Alyona Medelyan

CEO at Thematic

Alyona is the co-founder and CEO of Thematic, a text analytics and visualization solution which uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to provide companies with customer insights.

What’s your background?

Masters in Computational Linguistics, PhD in Computer Science

What is the big picture goal or purpose behind your business?

Build a fast-growing business that helps companies to improve customer experience and loyalty.

When did you get switched on to STEM, and how?

I first did a Linguistics only degree, but then learned that I can combine that with Computer Science. It meant that I could not only work on super exciting problems that require my strength in Linguistics but also future-proof my career.

What is the coolest, strangest, best, most meaningful, most ambitious or favourite project you’ve worked on so far?

It would be my company Thematic, which I started while being pregnant with my second child. It became quickly an opportunity to build an ambitious international business. I learn every day new skills in areas that are completely new to me and I get to work with people who are passionate about my company’s mission.

What’s been your biggest fail on this journey?

I was told that being a technical person, I should focus on that instead of running a business as a CEO. Following this advice wasn’t a good idea. I’ve learned that this isn’t true, and countless successful tech founders are a great testament to that.

What do you know about STEM now that you didn’t know at school?

That it’s an area where you can be extremely creative.

What are some of the most exciting career opportunities that you see emerging in STEM?

Any career opportunity that combines Computer Science with another discipline is exciting.

Why do we need more women working in STEM?

Technology and engineering professions are usually well paid and future proof, meaning that they lead to financial independence, freedom and empowerment. We need more women who can benefit from this in their lives.

What is your advice to young women who want to learn about and pursue a career in STEM?

Try it! Do as many courses and internships as you can to find an area that excites you.

Alyona’s career path:

>> PhD (Computer Science), University of Waikato, NZ

>> Software Engineer, Pingar NZ

>> Founder & CEO, Entopix (Natural language processing & machine learning consultancy)

>> Co-founder & CEO, Thematic

“Combining computer science with linguistics meant that I could not only work on super exciting problems but also future-proof my career.”

artificial intelligence
Larissa Fedunik-Hofman

Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman

Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.

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