Dr. Raji, Senior Director of Data Science, is one of the pioneers bringing AI/ML to Pi-Payroll innovation products at ADP. She shares her career journey and the different automated processes her team creates.
Dr. Raji came from a lower-middle-class family in which both of her parents did not receive high school diplomas. "I saw their struggles, and as a girl growing up, I also faced different social pressures. Then I soon realized my love for math at school." As she says: "That was when I made the connection in my mind, and I believed a STEM career could make a difference."
From bioinformatics to automotive industry
Before joining ADP, Dr. Raji has worked in various industries, including three years in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she worked on H1N1 Vaccine strain selection models. Her team took serology, sequence, protein structure, and phylogenetic data; they compared whether the current vaccine strain covered the virus's dominant circulating strain. Dr. Raji took a break from Bioinformatics and later joined a Cox Automotive company called Manheim to help roll out OVE, a product providing car recommendations for online users. She also worked at a healthcare fraud prevention company called Cotiviti that focused on claim overpayment, fraud predictions, and prevention.
"When I first came to ADP, I was surprised to see the amount of data. We can produce so many innovative products from these. Every data scientist would love to work for ADP," she says. "The second thing that surprised me was the freedom I got. The amount of support I got from the leadership teams was terrific. I got to be myself at work, knowing they welcomed innovative ideas."
Dr. Raji, Senior Director of Data Science at ADP
Coming to ADP
When Dr. Raji joined ADP a few years ago, the company didn't have many data scientists. She built a team of full-stack Automation Intelligence Machine Learning (AI/ML) technologists from scratch. "We call ourselves PiBrain, and we solve use cases across different business units through an advanced state of innovative AI/ML products and solutions," she says. "I built three notable products through Digital Transformation, using AI/ML algorithms and APIs."
"The first product involved automating digital implementation for some of our products, which eliminated manual processes and increased our net promoter scores, gave a better user experience, and increased client satisfaction," she says. This process gave her team a more accurate data conversion process and saved costs for the clients. Dr. Raji introduced another automated compliance checkup product for pay statements, which eliminated the laborious process of scanning pay statements one by one and automating the process. The last project involved form digitization with a feedback loop that continuously learns from overrides.
Dr. Raji and her family
Dr. Raji's team focuses on several key areas in their current work. The first product is Deep Learning, an authentication stack that identifies, extracts, and connects the documents. Another one is a Natural Language Processing stack that demonstrates transformation translation.
Her team helped build API services that take company handbooks as inputs. They used Natural Language Understanding models and elucidated answers for questions such as "What holidays are offered?" and "What is the holiday pay for full-time/temporary employees?" The responses were automatically sent back to implementation systems as callbacks to fill out the guided interview process.
Dr. Raji and her team at the Southern Data Science Conference
Giving back to community
Dr. Raji and her team attended last year's GPT Connect and gave three presentations. The first presentation was open-source tools for AI/ML. Another one was Computer Vision and Deep Learning for naïve to advanced data extraction. "We also showed our Associates how to interpret Vendor Language and map those in ADP constructs," she says.
"My team and I looked for outside opportunities to create an impact. We attended the Southern Data Science Conference in 2019, where we used data to predict human trafficking." Her team successfully visualized and built models to predict trafficking. They identified "hubs," where children were trafficked to and who trafficked them. An FBI director attended the presentation ceremony and found Intel helpful in targeting criminals. "The project gave me satisfaction because we worked for a cause. We wanted to make sure our knowledge continues to help others and give back to the communities," Dr. Raji says.
One STEM Education at Innovation Academy
"People say it could be engineering, science, or math. But to me, STEM is a combination of all! It is an application of each field coming together to solve a business problem," Dr. Raji says. She believes STEM is an applied field where interdisciplinary work is valued.
This is especially important in Dr. Raji's involvement with Innovation Academy, a STEM school ADP sponsored in Alpharetta. "The goal is One Stem Education. I was one of the ambassadors who helped set up the syllabi and influenced the type of education students received," she says. Dr. Raji's love for children and STEM made this a perfect opportunity for her to have conversations about STEM opportunities. She is looking forward to planning and creating lab spaces for more talents who are interested.
Dr. Raji is also a painter. This is her work, Serene morning sunrise at St. Simon Island.
"We talked a lot about my background and where I came from. My life is a lesson itself. If you have a dream, don't give up," she says. Dr. Raji believes the secret of life is to fall seven times and get up on the eighth. For those pursuing data science, she recommends thinking outside the box and approaching problems from different perspectives. "Keep in mind being a data scientist means spending substantial time in data prep, data cleaning, deployment, and data quality checking. Patience is critical as each of the tasks is essential in building a complete model," she says. "There will be challenges and disappointments, but don't lose faith. Keep learning and chase your dreams."
Dr. Raji is looking forward to inspiring more people and attracting more talents to ADP. To her, #ADPTech is innovative, supportive, and welcoming. Her team wants to mentor more women technologists and have more of them in leadership positions!
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