STATISTICS & SPORTS
I am a Machine Learning Engineer at Zelus Analytics. Our group provides cutting-edge sports analytics research and statistical consulting to professional sports teams in Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), European soccer leagues (Serie A, Ligue 1, Eredivisie), and premier cricket leagues (IPL, CPL). Over the last three years, I have helped the startup grow into a 60-people company and build the world’s leading sports intelligence platform.
I previously interned with the Sacramento Kings in California, working closely with the front office, coaches, scouts, and sports scientists to empower data-driven decision-making. I also interned with ShotTracker in Kansas, where I developed data analytics software for NCAA basketball teams to evaluate players and for broadcasters such as Fox Sports and CBS Sports to display real-time visualizations on national television.
My academic interests lie in the field of statistical machine learning, spanning Bayesian statistics and probabilistic programming with applications in sports analytics. In my master’s studies at Columbia, I had the opportunity to conduct mentored research under Dr. Andrew Gelman’s supervision to contribute to Stan. In addition, I collaborated with Dr. Bob Carpenter as a visitor at Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Mathematics (CCM) in New York. Later, I worked as a summer research assistant for Dr. Aki Vehtari in the Probabilistic Machine Learning (PML) group at the Department of Computer Science of Aalto University in Finland.
At college, I served as co-president of the Brown Sports Analytics Club and helped the club initiate an undergraduate research group and launch a for-credit sports analytics course. For my senior capstone project, I studied probabilistic chess rating systems, including Elo and Glicko, and applied them to soccer data to rank teams and predict future performance. This project earned the Undergraduate Statistics Capstone Award of Excellence at Brown. Additionally, I studied Mandarin and spent a summer in East Asia, taking Chinese language, religion, and politics classes.
In my spare time, you can find me playing chess on lichess.org or kicking a soccer ball around. I hold a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) C coaching license. I also frequently volunteer my time and energy to advance statistics in my home country, Turkey. I have mentored underrepresented students and provided statistical consulting to tech startups and professional sports teams, including Galatasaray SK and the Turkey women’s national basketball team. I am happy to share my experience with students considering a career in statistics, machine learning, or sports analytics.
M.A. in Statistics, 2021-22
Columbia University, New York, NY, US
B.Sc. in Statistics, 2015-19
Brown University, Providence, RI, US
Science Track, 2010-15
Galatasaray High School, Istanbul, Turkey