I am Pat Stefanou and I am a senior at MIT studying Computer Science and Engineering. I am passionate about technology, innovation, and creativity with a focus in software engineering, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. I am a hard-working, driven developer with a diverse skillset that I have developed through multiple projects and internships. Last summer, I worked at the NASDAQ Global Innovation lab, where I worked with a team of four interns to prototype a full-stack application to monitor fraudulent activity in sports betting markets. I have also explored software for machine learning at LiveData Utilies and CSAIL, and fintech at SendFriend, a DAPP startup for remittance payments. These experiences have equipped me with the work ethic and skillset to excel in any work environment.
This past summer, I worked at the NASDAQ Innovation Lab. Working alongside five other interns, we developed a prototype full-stack application to monitor fraudulent economic activity in sports betting markets. Through the experience, I learned a lot about working with people and what it is like to "start a company" from scratch. Our project culminated with the team giving a product pitch and demo to the company's CTO. In my free time, I worked with the Innovation Lab's Chief Data Scientist to design a web crawler that uses reinforcement learning to interpret web pages. Although, I didn't have enough time to fully implement the tool, I mention it because I still built a full-stack application, was exposed to new machine learning methods, and designed a data acquisition tool that leverages machine learning.
Over the spring semester, I worked in CSAIL at MIT. In CSAIL, I worked on a project to improve DNN training efficiency through methods of data and model parallelism. Through the project I was exposed to the TensorFlow and Horovod libraries. I also gained invaluable experience in how to efficiently work on a server and disect research papers. Most importantly, I learned that my passion for machine learning lies in creating models, and not optimizing the software architecture that surrounds them.
Last IAP, I worked at LiveData Utilities in Cambridge, Boston. There, I built software architecture for a Random Forest Regression model that predicts a community's electrical consumption based off of weather and date time. My software retrived weather forecasts, automated model training and deployment, pipelined input data, and integrated Influx DB to hold model results and information. The experience gave me more practice in writing production level software under great mentorship.
Last summer, I worked at SendFriend in Cambridge, MA. SendFriend is a remittance application that leverages blockchain to make transactions cheap, fast, and accessible. At SendFriend, I did a lot of high impact work. For example, I built a demo user interface to pitch the application to potential investors. Besides that, I was tasked to proof-read the company's business plan, create a landing page, and set up the company's email platform. Working with a very small team, I learned how to work autonomously and to find solutions to new problems I faced on a daily basis.
For the summers after my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, I served as the Head Water Polo Coach at the Riverside Yacht Club. My responsibilities included organizing daily practices, coaching during games, and giving swim lessons. I coached players spanning over the ages eight to seventeen. The work experience is not technical, but my work at RYC taught valuable life lessons in how to manage athletes and how to be a role and/or mentor. I loved being a coach so much that I hope to be able to coach water polo players in some capacity for the rest of my life. Whether that is serving as an assisstant coach on MIT's water polo team or coaching at a local age group club later down the road.
Machine learning and/or data science is a field in computer science that significantly peaks my interests. More specifically, my interests dwell more on the applied than the research side. Through my coursework at MIT and internships, I have been exposed to a lot of machine learning concepts and models. I think that with my experience, I am more than capable of tackling ml problems and excelling in this cs field.
Quantitative Finance is another area of computer science and mathematics that excites me. Working at NASDAQ this summer gave me exposure to finanical markets from more of a fintech perspective. The internship sparked my interests to more formally apply my technical skills to markets. Quantitive finance appeals to me as it incorporates a lot of my interests, not limited to, but including, software, data analytics, and finance.
Through internships and my own projects, I have done a lot of web development. In particular, I have done a lot of frontend work; working with frameworks, including React, Redux, jQuery, etc. I have also dabbled with database design and backend work as well. I like web development because it is extremely open-ended and democratic, as anyone with internet access can see your creations.
Over the past two summers, I worked at two different fintech companies. Last summer, I worked at SendFriend, a blockchain-based remittance startup. And, this past summer, I worked at NASDAQ, one of the world's largest fintech corporations. Both job experiences exposed me to fintech and building finance-oriented tech products. Fintech interests me, as it combines the best of both worlds; financially inspired applications that maintain tech's innovation and aesthetic.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are an up-and-coming technology that have the ability to change the way that modern financial markets and transactions are conducted. After working with Solidity this summer, I was exposed to the limitless possibilities that the Ethereum Blockchain provides. With modern day "data-bandits" on the loose, I believe that decentralized exchanges are a great way to "protect" the people, and make sure that more of their data (especially their transaction history) is kept private. Nevertheless, the technology is not yet there to facilitate large transaction volume, and the "crypto-buzz" has overshadowed that blockchain platforms such as Ethereum are more than just currencies.
This fall semester, I am buckling down and tackling MIT's Performance Engineering of Software Systems class. It will be a "David vs. Goliath" type of story, but the challenges that I will face and knowledge that I will gain through the class excite me. I put a question mark to gauge my interest levels for performance engineering because I will not know how interested I am in low-level programming until the class is over.
My name is Pat Stefanou and I am a senior at MIT studying computer science.
Many fields in computer science interest me. Through my internships at NASDAQ and SendFriend,
I have become well-versed in web development. Further, by working at CSAIL and LiveData Utilities, I
was exposed to machine learning and the software architecture surrounding computational models.
This past summer, I helped a
co-worker of mine with a project for Ideo Colab's and Coinlist's Hackathon. We sought to build a
automated market maker for YouTube channels, by leveraging the concept of a bonding curve
and the Ethereum Blockchain Platform. For my contribution, I wrote "Smart Contracts" in Solidity and learned a lot about Ethereum and
the limitless possibilities that "dapps" provide.
Outside of the workplace and classroom, I serve as a captain on MIT's Premier Varsity Water Polo team. As one of, if not, the strongest team ever fielded by MIT, we enter an exciting time in our program's history. This year, we are on a mission to dethrone perennial Ivy League powerhouses to be the team that "makes it out of the east", and earn an automatic berth to the Division 1 NCAA Championships. You can follow our season here on our Twitter page.
Taking a step back, I hail from Greenwich, CT, where I went to a prep school called Brunswick. It probably comes as no surprise, but I have loved aquatics sports my entire life. When I was younger, I would spend my summers with my family in Greece, where I would compete on my club's (Nautikos Omilos Bouliagmeni) water polo team. Growing up in Connecticut, I competed for Greenwich Aquatics and my high school Brunswick.
While playing for 'Aquatics, my team's success was highlighted by an eighth place finish at USA Water Polo's Junior Olympics (water polo nationals), an unprecedented performance by an east coast team at the time.
At Brunswick, I watched the program grow from a group of boys who did not have a fall sport, to the best high school water polo team outside of California. In high school, I garnered two New England Water Polo Championships and two league MVP awards. This all culminated my senior year, when I was named a 2nd Team All-American for my efforts.
To say that I switched "study-lanes" after high school is an under statement. Throughout high school, I was obsessed with languages; reaching the highest course levels in French, Latin, and Ancient Greek studies. On graduation, I received The Bouffier Language Prize and was keyed "one of most talented linguists" the school ever had.
Classics may have no relation to computer science, but I enjoyed translating texts such as The Aeneid, The Iliad, and Caesar's Gallic Wars. Further, I believe that my language studies have made me a multi-faceted individual and, complemented with my technical background, provide me with a diverse set of interests and help me bring a unique perspective to the table.
Given my background, one can only imagine what I was in for when I arrived at MIT. Knowing little to nothing about coding before getting here, there was definitely a steep learning curve during the beginning of my undergrad years. It was not always easy at MIT, but I have learned tremendous amounts through relentless trial and error. I firmly believe that people learn more through failure, and the mistakes I have made in the classroom and on the job have sculpted me into a proficient software developer.
When I am not studying or playing water polo, you can usually find me in my fraternity on Beacon St. I am an active member of Theta Tau, MIT's only professional engineering fraternity. Through my time in TT, I have held two house positions. During my sophomore year, I served as Tech Chair, where I helped maintain the house's server and website. This fall, I will serve as Professional Development Chair, where I will help my brother's navigate their careers by giving them advice and guidance through the fall recruiting process.
Besides this, I am an avid fan of The Strokes, with my favorite song by them being You Only Live Once. I am also extremely excited for this upcoming summer's Olympics in Tokyo.
Moving forward, my main interests in CS lie in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and fintech. I plan to pursue these interests when completing my Master's degree at MIT and throughout my career.
If there is one thing, that I would like you to remember about me is that I am a hard-worker, a fierce competitor, and someone who cares immensely about his job. If you would like a reference about me, please let me know and I can connect you with one of my previous employers.