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Meet Emilie Phillips – Our Newest Data Scientist

An introduction to Emilie Phillips – our newest data scientist at Sense – and her forays into the worlds of robotics, aviation and home energy.

Between robots, airplanes and energy efficiency, Emilie Phillips’ passions eventually led her to our doorstep at Sense.

Emilie is the latest addition to Sense’s data science team; she creates algorithms and writes code for detecting devices. “Right now I’m trying to detect TVs,” said Emilie, “it’s a little complicated because the TVs out there are incredibly variable in their electrical signatures, so I’m trying to create a detector from just a few examples of the different types.”

Emilie’s home boasts passive and active solar heat, PV solar panels and super insulation. “I set up temperature probes and logging for the whole house,” Emilie said, “I’d love to have electricity monitoring too. So when I saw Sense was doing just that, I was really excited.”

Working on Sense’s data science team allows Emilie to branch out from robotics into broader software engineering fields. Emilie discovered her love for robotics while pursuing her undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Physics at Carnegie Mellon where she shared the halls with roaming robots. She continued onto grad school at Cornell to work on CLEO, their particle detector, and then to iRobot, working on everything from military robots, to graphical controllers, to robotics research, the Roomba and other apparently secret projects.

“With her extensive software engineering background, Emilie brings a new perspective to the data science team that will be invaluable as we start to scale our technology,” said Ryan Houlette, VP of Engineering and Co-Founder, “in the few weeks since she joined Sense, she has already demonstrated her ability to get up to speed on an entirely new domain and begin making useful contributions, and has integrated seamlessly into the team.”

Originally from Virginia, Emilie began her stint at Sense commuting into Cambridge from New Hampshire. “I slowly migrated north through college, grad school, and then finding work. I live in NH,” Emilie said, “mostly because I met a guy from New Hampshire and he wouldn’t move south. We compromised and I moved north.”

In her spare time, Emilie flies planes for fun. Her husband grew up as a private pilot, sparking Emilie to get her license. We found a planned airport community and built our house next to the runway. We keep two airplanes there. Mine is an RV-4, a little two seat sporty plane,” Emilie said, “my husband has the family “minivan” – 4 seats and lots of space for cargo.”

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Emilie’s outdoorsy streak extends to sea kayaking, backcountry skiing and wilderness camping. She has taught cross country skiing for the New Hampshire Appalachian Mountain Club, and is a PSIA certified Nordic downhill ski instructor, cross country and Telemark skier. Emilie is also a BCU 3 star kayaker and has competed in the Blackburn Challenge – a 20+ mile open water circumnavigation of Cape Ann.

Emilie said she will always strive to be a best-in-class software engineer, “I’m passionate about solving hard problems in elegant ways and making maintainable software. I hope I’ll always keep learning. I don’t want to master one area and then stick to it. I want to keep broadening my horizons.” Sense has proven to be a welcome change of scene for Emilie as she is adapting to having such a hands-on impact in an early-stage startup, and catching up on the advances in the data science world since she last studied it 13 years ago.