Astrophysicist turned tech innovator advancing equity with inclusive STEM communities.
Maria Patterson is passionate about building diverse and inclusive open data and science communities. Since earning a PhD in astronomy, she has pioneered the development of large-scale data platforms for professional researchers and citizen scientists alike.
At the University of Chicago, Dr. Patterson managed one of the world’s first petabyte-scale science clouds, enabling thousands of researchers to share and analyze large datasets. She worked with NASA to build a machine learning pipeline for analyzing satellite imagery and detecting water in flood-prone regions of Africa. She also led the Open Commons Consortium’s efforts on the NOAA Big Data Project, prototyping technology to enable equitable open data access.
Dr. Patterson led the design of a ‘newsfeed from the Universe’ for the Zwicky Transient Facility and Vera C. Rubin Observatory astronomy projects that alerts scientists in real-time on new detections of supernovae, asteroids, and other changing objects in the sky.
Most recently, Dr. Patterson developed data concepts for High Alpha Innovation, partnering with large organizations to create opportunity through startup and venture studio creation.
She aims to advance equity for all, particularly in STEM fields, and serves on the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy for the American Astronomical Society.