Rising Stars

Marlene Roush: Data science educator

In addition to being a cyber data scientist at Leidos (one half of the recently split SAIC), Marlene Roush also teaches math at the Community College of Baltimore County. She started working there during graduate school and said she enjoys showing students who aren't in the math field how they can use it in their careers.

Roush said she also finds herself playing teacher outside the lecture halls when she is developing and optimizing analytics for Leidos.

"Most of the projects that I've worked on, it'll be just one math or statistics person and so you end up teaching other people or reminding them" of a class they took a long time ago, she said. "But they don't necessarily remember all of the details and the nuances you have to be careful with when you're dealing with mixed datasets."

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Roush, however, does remember and understand those details. She studied applied mathematics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and now uses numbers to counter cyberattacks in the intelligence and financial communities.

"It's really using a lot of the knowledge that I have about how to manipulate data and really searching data to find the interesting nuggets," she said.

Those nuggets allow Roush to build a plan of action to combat cyber enemies.

"The methodology really takes the military planning process for operations planning and translates it into the cyber world," she said. "So in traditional operations planning, most of it is done around a map or around physical objects, and in cyberspace, you don't necessarily have all those physical objects or a terrain map as the background for the planning. So we developed a methodology for how you do that in cyberspace."

Note: This article was updated on Oct. 31 to clarify Roush's employer.  While Roush was nominated for her work at the SAIC before that firm's Sept. 27 split into two companies, she is part of the half that became Leidos.

About the Author

Reid Davenport is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

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