Tara Safavi data mining researcher



I grew up creative before I became “technical”. As a kid I mostly played the cello and wrote poetry and stories. It was not until my first term of undergrad at Michigan that I began coding.

My first taste of computer science was not the standard introduction to code via Hello World. Rather, I enrolled in an upper-level honors course called Cyberscience in my first term at Michigan and was in for a rude awakening when I discovered that the course’s final project involved data science and Python. While I didn’t emerge from the course a data scientist, my professor’s enthusiasm encouraged me to continue in computing. Two years later I joined the Graph Exploration and Mining at Scale lab led by Danai Koutra. Several projects, papers, and one pending patent later, I am now a University of Michigan computer science PhD student still working in the same lab!

I’m active in the Michigan computing community. As an undergraduate I TA’ed three Michigan computer science courses and volunteered for two youth coding organizations: UM WISE Girls Who Code and Seven Mile Coding in Detroit. Now I stay involved with the CSE graduate department through the Ensemble of CSE Ladies (ECSEL) and other events. Beyond computer science stuff, I still play the cello and write. I also travel and learn about different cultures when I can.

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