Take a Hike

What does a data scientist-in-training do when she’s not a big fan of hiking, but her boyfriend is super into it?

If you’re Olivia Schow, you use real life as inspiration for your capstone project, the culmination of every student’s journey through the Galvanize Data Science Immersive course.  

Schow created Take A Hike, a Colorado trail recommender. Whether you’re casual or hard-core about your hiking habits, “If you like a certain kind of hike, the app will help you find another hike like it in a different area of Colorado,” Schow says.


Unlike her boyfriend and brother, an Eagle Scout who lives in Boulder, Schow didn’t move to Colorado for the outdoor recreation. The Southern California native transferred to the University of Colorado Denver from Bates College, where she was majoring neuroscience, to pursue her love of math.  

“My older sister had brain surgery when I was in high school,” Schow says. “I found out a lot about the brain during that process and wanted to learn more. But after going down that path for two years, I realized that even though neuroscience was interesting to study, it wasn’t leading to a career that I really wanted.”

Schow’s senior project as a math major at the University of Colorado Denver had her working with Noble Energy, using MATLAB to solve real-world problems. “That was my first glimpse into the power of data,” she says.

That experience sparked her desire to become a data scientist and use data to make a positive impact on the companies she works for. “I came to Galvanize to learn,” Schow explains. “At Galvanize, everyone works together to share knowledge and help each other, and it’s really a special thing to be a part of.

“I love that the campus is full of amazing people—people who are better at something than me. Because no matter who you talk to, you can always learn something,” she continues.

“I think by surrounding yourself with people who are already where you want to be, you’re inspired and encouraged toward your goals.”

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