Born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona, Maddie Friend earned a BS in environmental sciences, with a minor in Spanish, and graduated summa cum laude from Northern Arizona University. As an undergrad, she held a Presidential Pathways Internship in the IT department for the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, where she was first introduced to computer science. At USGS, she worked on a team that provided support for active space missions such as Mars Odyssey THEMIS, Saturn Cassini, and Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity!
After college, Maddie lived and worked (and further improved her Spanish) in Mexico and then Colombia for a several-year stint. She was named a Fulbright Scholar in Bogotá, Colombia, while researching foraminifera and ocean conservation at Universidad de los Andes, while also teaching English (to aspiring English teachers!) at another local university. After returning to the States, Maddie—a self-proclaimed lifelong learner—began working on a master’s degree in Watershed Sciences – Earth Surface Processes from Utah State University, which she is excited to be finishing this spring.
Throughout her post-grad studies, she has continued to develop a zeal and affinity for organizing and manipulating big data using Python and R, and has found herself very much drawn to the powerful, structured nature of programming. As such, she is incredibly excited to join and contribute to the team at DDS—as our lone woman data engineer!—and especially to employ back-end processes and programming skills to provide exceptional customer service.
Outside work, Maddie is an avid whitewater rafter and kayaker (she spent 10+ summers as a backpacking and river guide in Arizona (Grand Canyon), Oregon, and Idaho), and loves reading (magical realism is a favorite genre), writing (poetry and narrative nonfiction), and eating the gourmet food her boyfriend, a professional chef, makes.