From Ski Slopes to Data Slopes: Data Science Careers

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Kelli Esparham Data Science Manager, Quality Engineering

Kelli Esparham is a Data Science Manager with friends in high places, literally. The once-competitive freestyle skier used to hit the slopes with Olympic competitors, some of whom medaled.

These days, the Mission Assurance data science homeroom manager spends her time with different friends in high places: those with their heads in the data clouds.


Esparham, who has been with Northrop Grumman for over 13 years, credits her time with the company for instilling a “systems-thinking approach to all problems.” She made a career of synthetizing complex algorithms and patterns into digestible snapshots, helping the company make informed, strategic decisions.

The Power of Data Enhances Innovation

Esparham uses data from a variety of sources to analyze trends and recommend solutions to enhance innovation and affordability. She is also an integral part of the Programs function, serving as an internal consultant to provide consistent, disciplined methods of program execution to ensure quality.

Esparham’s team has “a vested interest in how data is collected, stored and utilized to enhance performance and affordability across the enterprise.” Some of her team’s recent successes include using a data-driven approach to Probability of Win (Pwin) calculations, forecasting and reducing program risk, increasing access to supplier information, and providing the ability to combine cost, schedule and quality data to pinpoint where improvements are needed.

“Our team works with Manufacturing, ES&T, Global Supply Chain, Programs, Strategy and Mission Assurance to provide additional capabilities to optimize data-driven decision-making,” she says.

A Career Shaped by Mathematics, Engineering and Curiosity

“I love to ask a question, assess available data sources and identify algorithms to find an answer,” she explains. She sees unlimited applications for data analytics in the intelligence community, business, social applications and beyond. “Data analytics is an avenue for simplifying our lives and making better decisions.”

We’re always seeking to expand our team to include the brightest minds. Click here to find opportunities in data science and computer science.

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