Women Who Reign: Dr. Fon Powell, PhD

Reinvented Magazine
4 min readNov 17, 2017

“People of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi! My name is Fon Powell. I’m currently a management consultant at a large company in New York City. I recently earned a PhD in Computational Neuroscience from Cornell University where I was a Ford Foundation Fellow and US Amgen Scholar. I have a B.S. in Neuroscience from Duke University. During my years as a full-time Neuroscientist, I used graph theory, complex statistics and machine learning to build predictive mathematical models of how neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s, spread throughout the human brain. I’ve also presented and authored research on neural disorders like Depression, Autism, Schizophrenia, Huntington’s and Anorexia. During my PhD program, I invented and filed a patent for a medical device to measure daily salt intake at home using a plastic stick and mobile app. Subsequently, I founded and was the CEO of a startup company developing the technology for nearly 3 years. Me and my early-stage company (called S.A.L.T. — Sodium Analyte Level Test) were featured by the National Women’s Business Council, Project Entrepreneur, AT&T and also won a grant from the city of New York for a clinical trial.

I’m passionate about seeing more minorities in STEM. My passion led me to create a biomedical research summer internship program in 2016 for minority college students. Furthermore, I have also been a Mentor Coach for the past 2 years at America Needs You, a non-profit promoting educational mobility.
Fun fact: I’m fluent in Spanish!

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:
I love data analysis, statistics and machine learning! My favorite programming languages to get the job done are MATLAB, R and Python. I’ve been recently teaching myself deep learning (a newer area of machine learning) and tensorflow.org has been immensely helpful for that.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I absolutely love to read and have been reading Toni Morrison’s work since high school. The knowledge she has imparted to me…

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