Athira Krishnakumar Nair

MA 2019

Data Scientist at Pyper Vision

Athira Nair

Why did you choose to study Data Science at UC?

I completed my Master’s in Statistics from NMIMS in India, and got placed in the IT sector. After working with clients like Jonhson & Johnson, Nestle and Hindustan Unilever my interest in data modelling, AI and Machine learning grew exponentially. I was exploring courses that aligned with my interests, and the Master of Applied Data Science from University of Canterbury (UC) appealed to me. New Zealand has always been the epitome of great learning, and UC was the right choice to improve on my practical knowledge. I have to mention, that the course experience became better with the people I found here, their welcoming nature, calm, and easy going life approach. I am happy with my decision to move here and develop my career, I am grateful to my parents and well-wishers who have always been supportive of my decision to move here.

Can you tell us a bit about your current role?

I completed my Master’s in July 2019 and joined Pyper Vision immediately after that. Pyper Vision is a rapidly growing start-up based in Christchurch (the city of opportunity), focused on dispersing fog and improving visibility at foggy airports using a drone-based solution. Their vision is to empower airports, airlines, and ATC alike to maintain their revenue, operate on schedule and in safe conditions, with reliable & efficient transportation infrastructure. My role, as a Data Scientist is to find a potential market for the company, analysing weather data and deriving the impact of fog, it’s daily disruptions towards flight schedules, and financial impact on airport, airlines and local businesses.

My on-going work is to build an automated and reliable data pipeline integrating weather and flight schedule information to build a data model, dashboards and reports outlining the impact of fog at a global level, to help Pyper Vision acquire more clients.

What do you like best about your job?

The best thing about my job is that I get to play various roles, from data Scientist to leading interns, managing projects and immediate technical support. One of the best experiences for me was getting involved with the fog trials at Lismore airport in Australia. That was the first time I saw the usage of big giant drones to disperse fog, I had to transit myself from a software person to a pure hardware person.

The one thing I love the most is that every day I have new challenges to tackle, which has helped me grow professionally. Having played different roles, I feel grateful as I look back at my 1st year with the Pyper Vision Team, they have developed my critical thinking, and helped me gain a plethora of practical knowledge which I would have never achieved following a typical comfortable data analysis approach. I am immensely proud to be a part of such a talented, fun, & motivated team that is dedicated to making an impact in the industry.

What’s the most important thing you learned in your time at UC?

I look back fondly on my time at UC. I was an international student and being away from home was new and slightly unsettling for me. The diverse culture and vibrant community at the university allowed me to feel connected to UC and NZ from day one. The most important thing I learned during my time at UC was to collaborate with others, special mention to the Mathematics and Statistic Department, their support has made the experience memorable.

What is your favourite thing about living in Christchurch?

Christchurch is the city of opportunity and being a part of the start-up life is like the icing on cake. Christchurch always surprised me with its beauty and the people here are exceedingly kind, and helpful. Especially during my UC days, I used to go to tech meetups, and it was overwhelming to see professionals taking time to connect with students and graduates. Christchurch is a city of connection, people here never forget the faces they meet, and they will go above and beyond to help you out, that’s why I love living in Christchurch.