Our Team

A dynamic group of Data Scientists, engineers, educators, and community builders. We're on a mission to better professional education for data science and data engineering.



Co-founder & CEO


Ryan is fascinated by data in all its forms, binary and biological. Trained in Genetics and Genomics at UC Berkeley, he plumbed the depths of plant immunity at the Plant Gene Expression Center, building big data applications targeting next-generation sequencing technologies.

As a Senior Systems Engineer at Nutanix, he worked on building scale-out distributed computing solutions for virtualized environments. When not trying to pull beauty out of data, you can find Ryan hacking on 3D printers, DIY Bio, and open-source hardware.

GIOVANNA THRON Data Scientist in Residence

Giovanna Thron

Instructor, Data Science

Giovanna is a data scientist and engineer who loves math, algorithms and the power of data. Giovanna was previously a Software Engineer at Facebook, running experiments to analyze terabytes of data and building applications to help the company grow. She taught computer science at the University of Toronto, taught English in Hungary, and is a mentor at Hackbright Academy.

As a grad student at the University of Toronto, Giovanna published papers on theoretical computer science and graph theory. While not coding, Giovanna can be found doing AcroYoga in Dolores Park or trying out a new cake recipe.


Tammy Lee

Data Scientist in Residence

Tammy is an experienced data scientist and researcher. As part of the Quantitative Research and Analytics team at Allstate, she solved a broad range of problems including pricing, fraud, cross-selling, driving algorithms, and agency performance.  Before that, she taught and did research with the Statistics department at UC Berkeley.  

Tammy studied statistics and business at UC Berkeley, went on to receive her MA in Statistics from Harvard University, and also holds a Data Mining and Applications Graduate Certificate from Stanford.  After building models and creating data visuals, Tammy enjoys tango, blues, and swing dancing.  




Co-founder & CTO


Jonathan discovered his love of data while studying Computer Science and Physics at UC Berkeley. Previously, he worked for Alpine Data Labs developing distributed machine learning algorithms for predictive analytics on Hadoop.

Jonathan has a passion for sharing the things he has learned in the most creative ways he can. He has been a mentor at Dev Bootcamp, taught classes at General Assembly, and was an instructor at Hack Reactor. At Zipfian Academy, he gets to combine his two favorite things: humans and code.


Adam Gibson

Instructor, Machine Learning & Data Engineering 

Adam lectures on deep learning, natural language processing, distributed systems, and data engineering. He is the creator of Deeplearning4j, the first commercial-grade deep learning library written in Java. Adam is also Co-founder of blix.io and Skymind. Before, Adam did data mining at Mashape, ran his own web development consultancy, and was a Dev Ops engineer.

Adam is a sought-after speaker on his question answering and information retrieval applications and the DL4J library. He dropped out of a Computer Science and Data Science MIS at Michigan Tech.

Molly Larkin

Community Manager

Molly is Zipfian Academy's community builder and admissions manager. She is lead organizer of the SF Data Science Meetup, which has grown to over 2,000 members.

Most recently, Molly was the Community Outreach Manager at Techbridge. There, she taught engineering and science to middle and high school girls, managed relationships with corporate partners, and facilitated professional development workshops. Molly also was formerly a classroom teacher in New York City. She graduated from the Cognitive Science program at the University of Pennsylvania and has a Masters' degree in teaching.



Head of Growth & Partnerships


Katie is a data evangelist and data product aficionado. She manages Zipfian Academy's hiring program and network of partner companies. Katie co-organizes the SF Data Science Meetup and is a Mentor for Hawaii's Energy Excelerator.

At VC firm Greenstart, Katie worked on data and design-driven cleantech software products. Before, she created metrics for non-profits, edited a zoology encyclopedia, and founded an offline energy efficiency competition reaching 5,000 people. She graduated from the University of Michigan (go blue).


Zack Desario

Instructor, Data Science

Zack is a data scientist who loves rap music, RadioLab, and teaching. A former professional poker player, he was at one time ranked fifth in the world at high stakes 9-man poker tournaments. Zack also brings experience teaching data science at General Assembly.

Professionally trained in graphic design and data design, Zack specializes in teaching data visualizations and data transformations. When Zack is not teaching or transforming data, he enjoys hanging with his family and bodysurfing.  He holds a BS degree in Neuroscience and Psychology from the College of Charleston.

Mission Statement


Zipfian Academy is a re-imagination of professional data science education. 

As of 2012, it is estimated that 2.5 quintillion (2.5x10^18) bytes of information is created every day. Companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are developing new techniques and technologies to deal with this massive and unprecedented scale of data storage and processing. There is a huge unmet need for brilliant and capable people who can build on these technologies.

Our mission is to enable the next generation of data scientists to leverage statistics, advanced computing, data engineering, visualization, business acumen, and the scientific method to unlock the true promise of data.