About Me

I am currently a PhD student in Cognition and Neuroscience at the University of Texas at Dallas. My research is on multivariate statistics and their applications to data in cognition, neuroscience, other big data fields. I enjoy data manipulation, modeling, and visualization. My language of choice for my research is R, though I’m also proficient in Python for data science and have experience with C++. More about my professional experience and skills can be found on my on my LinkedIn.

How I got here

I grew up primarily in McKinney, TX. I was a theater kid and Eagle Scout, and I excelled at my classes all through K-121. My favorite topics were science (biology, chemistry, and psychology) and math, and in my senior year of high school I took AP Computer Science and loved it.

Baylor

I went to Baylor University where I studied neuroscience, with minors in computer science and mathematics. I was a research assistant in the Sekeres Memory Lab, where I worked on data collection and analysis for behavioral experiments with mice. In my computer science courses, I learned to solve problems using C++. Along my way to graduating summa cum laude, I also had a lot of cool experiences:

  • I learned Italian and studied abroad for 6 weeks in Florence.
  • I mentored incoming first-year and prospective students as a “Student Ambassador” for the Psychology and Neuroscience department.
  • I worked at the Baylor Marina, where I got paid to kayak, paddleboard, and teach sailboat classes on a sandy beach.
  • I ran the Bearathon — “the Toughest Half-Marathon in Texas”.

But alas, at some point it was time to go.

Found an amazing girl along the way too!

UT Dallas

In 2019, I arrived in Richardson, Texas to start my PhD in Cognition and Neuroscience with Dr. Hervé Abdi. I knew from my college experience that I wanted to apply my math and computer science knowledge to data in the biosciences. Dr. Abdi’s lab was the perfect fit, and in my first two years in the program I learned my love for R and statistics. For my first year project, I created a new multivariate method called PLSMFA and wrote an R package to implement it. After that, I finished my second year project, a literature review about permutation tests for multivariate methods, and this review will lead into my dissertation. Throughout the program, I’ve also been working on collaborative projects where I analyze and visualize data with R to answer questions about autism, occupational skills, and decision making, to name a few topics. While doing all this and taking a few classes myself, I am a teaching assistant for Dr. Abdi’s advanced multivariate statistics and programming in R classes. I’m very excited to keep learning more about statistics and data science, and how we can apply both to research in cognition, neuroscience, and a wide array of other fields.

Personal interests

I love to learn, so I have a habit of becoming obsessed with a new topic and diving deep into it to soak up as much as I can. They don’t all become passions or hobbies, but some stick around long-term. Things that I am always down to chat about include the great outdoors, vegan cooking, astronomy, homebrewing, and the quirky Wikipedia article that you just read.

  1. Narrator: “Luke was a nerd in high school, but at least he was very happy.”