Mia Fuhrman

I studied philosophy and neuroscience as an undergrad at Carleton Collage.

Despite discovering a knack for formal logic, studying computer science didn’t cross my mind until after graduation. Of course, a bachelor’s degree in philosophy didn’t make me eminently qualified for any practical work, but I had some experience doing data entry and was able to get hired as a receptionist. Thinking computer skills might improve my prospects in administrative work, I took a free online “Introduction to Computer Science” class.

It was love at first “byte”. I started taking classes at the University of Minnesota, then got my master’s degree in compute science with a certificate in cognitive science from the University of Colorado. I found artificial intelligence and machine learning at the intersection of the fields I loved most: computer science, philosophy, neuroscience, and linguistics. My first full-time industry job was with a group that had recently been acquired by Oracle doing natural language processing of social media data. I worked with some amazing people who taught me a tremendous amount about machine learning “in the wild”.

My husband and I decided to move to San Francisco in 2019, and I started working for Varo Bank later that year. I was pretty adamant about never working in finance, having witnessed the devastation to working and middle class people caused by insufficient regulations on financial institutions during the great recession; however, I was impressed with Varo’s stated mission to increase financial inclusion and give people an alternative to existing predatory services.