Mauer pivoted from his work as a carpenter and electrician off-Broadway to a career as a machine learning engineer.
Headshot of Matthew Mauer
Matthew Mauer

A recent graduate of the MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) program, Matthew Mauer now works for IvySys Technologies as a machine learning engineer, where he uses machine learning to model and detect disinformation campaigns on social media.

He credits the MSCAPP program with giving him the tools he needed to pivot in his career. “Everything I do at work, I wouldn’t have been able to do without my studies at Harris,” said Mauer.

Prior to Harris, Mauer had spent nearly six years as a carpenter and electrician working in off-Broadway theatre in New York City. In his free time, he volunteered for the English-Speaking Union, where he taught English to immigrants. He was also heavily involved in arts programming, building scenery and decor for the All Stars Project in Harlem, Manhattan, and the Bronx.

Mauer's volunteer experiences spurred an interest in better understanding the systems that create inequities. These experiences led Mauer to pursue a BA in economics from Brooklyn College. "I soon realized that I needed to understand both statistics and public policy to do work that impacts lives on a broader scale, which is what I wanted to do. Once I knew my next step would be public policy, I chose to apply to Harris. The balance of data analysis and political science was critical. I have to not only understand how policy is made, but also how it affects people in practice.”

Mauer admitted that when he started at Harris he was uncertain of his specific career goals. "I  knew I wanted to focus on development and conflict resolution, so I initially took classes mainly focused on that interest." However, within his first year of the MSCAPP program he discovered an interest in machine learning. "The flexibility to explore different fields of study was absolutely invaluable, and there're a lot of interesting classes to take. I certainly didn’t come into Harris thinking I would be focused on machine learning, and now I’m doing something I totally wasn’t expecting to do when I walked in the door.”

Mauer also said an invaluable part of his time at Harris, especially given his career pivot, was support from the Career Development Office (CDO). “When I first came into Harris, I had a hard time navigating the job market and trying to get my first internship,” said Mauer. “I had never worked an office job. I had only ever worked in a manual labor capacity, and I came in with this very strange resume that essentially said, ‘let me be a research assistant; let me do data analysis for you.’ With the support of the CDO, I learned not only how to market and present myself, but even to negotiate a job offer.”

Mauer encourages students to utilize all the resources Harris provides and explore the breadth of course options.  “Don’t be afraid to try new things,” said Mauer. “They could very well open a door to your next career."