Shir Nehama


IEOR alumnus Shir Nehama (BS ’15, MA ’16) fell in love with industrial engineering after attending a lecture at her first Cal Day in 2011. Since then, Shir has applied her knowledge of IEOR subjects to her career in data science at a range of companies including Deloitte, StubHub, Zillow, and currently, Airbnb.

Shir also committed to staying busy during the summers, interning for Deloitte, StubHub, and before finding a full time position at Zillow. These early professional experiences were vastly important for Shir, who used each summer as an opportunity to hone in on the type of work that best fit her interests.

According to Shir, “my first internship at Deloitte left me wanting something more technical. Next summer at StubHub, I did operations excellence, figuring out better ways to optimize internal projects, but wanted even more technicality! Next summer, I did business intelligence at, where I learned about product analytics, which ended up being just right.” Shir also made a point of being proactive in her search for these experiences, attending many career fairs and employer events at Cal, noting that “at Berkeley, there’s an abundance of opportunity to connect with employers and their employees, which was incredibly valuable for me.”

Outside of her academic and professional pursuits, Shir found a creative outlet among Cal’s vibrant dance community. A lifelong dancer from the age of five, Shir found a second home with the Danceworx team, and appreciated how practicing and performing with the group allowed her to “use more than just one part of [her] brain.” Shir also fondly remembers the relationships she formed as an undergraduate and the house she shared with nine friends of diverse academic interests.

Even today, Shir’s time in the Berkeley IEOR department continues to inform her work at Airbnb. As a Data Scientist in Fraud and Safety, Shir applies many of the statistical tools she learned at Berkeley to her everyday work, adding that “Airbnb is very experimentation-driven, so product launches are verified and examined via statistics — calculating p-values, validating hypotheses, etc., so it’s very important to have a strong statistical background.”

While her academic and professional careers have been met with great success so far, Shir still has big plans for the future. She hopes to “be a sponge” to learn and contribute alongside her talented Airbnb colleagues before transitioning into a data-oriented team leader role. Shir states that “I really enjoy taking product from vision through implementation and measuring impact, and I hope to really define the vision of a product. The kind of product I work on is super important, and I really need to identify cohesive vision and values.”

Shir Nehama is a Data Scientist at Airbnb and a Berkeley IEOR alumnus (BS ’15, MA ’16).