Jennifer Hobbs – Data Scientist

Jen Hobbs worked in the Schellman group as an undergraduate and beginning grad student at Northwestern.  She and Howard Budd (Rochester) built the testing system for all 32,000 scintillating fibers for the MINERvA experiment using LabView.  I knew she was good when she got frustrated with the slow device drivers and rewrote them during her first summer at Fermilab. When MINERvA was complete she switched to neuroscience so she could continue doing hands-on stuff in the lab.

Her dissertation was on the relation between physical motion and neural signals from rat whiskers and won the Journal of Experimental Biology Outstanding Paper Award in 2015.

She then became a data scientist applying her expertise in quantitative studies of motion to – SPORTS!

She’s featured in the most recent issue of Symmetry Magazine

Differential QE-like cross section dσ(E_QEν)/dQ^2_QE, in bins of E_QEν. Inner error bars show statistical uncertainties; outer error bars show total (statistical and systematic) uncertainty. The red histogram shows the MINERvA-tuned GENIE model used to estimate smearing and acceptance.

The much anticipated paper version of Cheryl Patrick’s thesis has been accepted by Physical Review D.   Check it out at:

The data release is available at

Update:  It is published in Phys. Rev. D which is now open access:

Cheryl Patrick successfully defended her thesis:

Measurement of the Antineutrino Double-Differential Charged-Current Quasi-Elastic Scattering Cross Section at MINERvA in March and is now a postdoc on SuperNEMO at University College London.

Heidi Schellman, Cheryl Patrick PhD and Laura Fields
Heidi Schellman, Cheryl Patrick PhD and Laura Fields. Cheryl is wearing the official PhD hat.

She came back to the US to give a fantastic Fermilab Wine and Cheese talk in June 2016 which has been written up in Fermi NewsWatch the video!

Leah Welty-Rieger got her PhD from the University of Indiana on the D0 experiment. After a year as a web designer she joined the Schellman group as a postdoc.  While at Northwestern she independently applied for and received a URA Fellowship to join the g-2 magnetic moment experiment.  She now works part-time as a GEANT consultant for the g-2 experiment at Fermilab.

Who says postdocs can't have kid (and Cub's tickets).
Who says postdocs can’t have kids (and Cubs tickets).

Chris Pratt analyzed Z boson decays on the D0 experiment while getting degrees in Integrated Science and Mathematics (with a certificate in Finance from Kellogg) at Northwestern.  He uses the data analysis skills he learned in the Schellman group as an Associate Analyst at NERA Economic Consulting in Chicago.

Chris and Miranda at the Great Wall.  A long way from the Quad Cities!
Chris and Miranda at the Great Wall. A long way from the Quad Cities!

Tracy Taylor Thomas received her doctorate in the Schellman group on the D0 experiment at Fermilab. Her 1997 doctoral thesis was on “Strongly interacting color singlet exchange in proton – anti-proton collisions at 1800-GeV”. Instead of staying in Illinois as a postdoc, she moved to Portland Oregon and used her computing skills as a software engineer at U.S. Software, she is now the Director for Professional Services Operations at Jive Software and a popular Portland beer critic.

Jive Software looks like a fun place to work.
Jive Software looks like a fun place to work.

Vasiliy Kuznetsov worked with the Schellman group on the MINERvA experiment starting in his freshman year at Northwestern.  He used Python and Postgres to make a client-server high voltage control system and a tracking database for calibration constants.  He ended up graduating Magna cum Laude with majors in Mathematics and Economics with a minor in Business Institutions.  He now uses the data skills he learned on MINERvA as a Software Engineer at facebook

Vasiliy enjoys the Bay Area

Sahal Yacoob came to Northwestern University with a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Cape Town.  He was a Luminosity expert on the DO experiment and Fermilab and measured the W boson mass with and uncertainty of 0.025%.  After graduation he joined the new South African effort on the ATLAS experiment at CERN, first at the University of Wittwatersrand, then at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.    He has moved back to Cape Town as a Lecturer in Physics on ATLAS as of summer 2015.  See news from Sahal on the ATLAS Blog.


Sahal at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Valencia Spain.
Sahal at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Valencia Spain, July 2014.
Sahal scrutinizing the ATLAS experiment at CERN.
Sahal scrutinizing the ATLAS experiment at CERN.