Dinesh Shenoy - Data Scientist & Former Lawyer With Astro-Physics PhD


Dinesh Shenoy grew up in Edison NJ, where he became enamored of math at an early age and developed a love of physics and astronomy in high school.  At Rutgers College, Dinesh majored in Physics, eventually adding a second major in History. Uncertain what he wanted to do after college, he took a year off and did oil changes at Jiffy Lube while he applied to law school.

Dinesh earned his JD at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, where his favorite subjects were Constitutional & Criminal Law.  Moving to Minnesota where his wife’s family is settled, Dinesh practiced immigration law, with a focus in employment-based immigration. A few years after earning the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Mentor Award “for outstanding efforts and excellent counsel to immigration attorneys by providing mentoring assistance”, Dinesh decided it was time to change to a field which would afford me more technical learning challenges.

With the support of a very understanding spouse, Dinesh jumped off the deep end back into the world of physics and astronomy, joining the graduate program at the University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy.  There he used a variety of observatories and instruments to study mass loss from very massive stars in the near-Infrared, collecting data from mountaintops in Arizona and (once) getting to fly in NASA’s airborne IR telescope (SOFIA). It was during astronomical observing and data reduction that Dinesh got his first experience with Linux and Python.

After finishing his PhD, like many of my classmates who did not seek a traditional academic career path, Dinesh transitioned to a career in Data Science at the end of 2016.  Last fall he joined the data science team at CH Robinson Worldwide (NASDAQ: CHRW) in Eden Prairie, MN, one of the world’s largest third-party logistics providers.

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A note from Grant

From graduating college with a double major in history and physics to changing oil at Jiffy Lube while he figured out what’s next to 7 years as an attorney for Aronson and Associates, Dinesh Shenoy has taken, in his own words “an unusual career path” to becoming a data scientist in 2016.

Along that path, in addition to that double major in undergrad, Dinesh picked up a law degree from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Minnesota before deciding to see what data science is all about.  As a data scientist, he’s held down roles for Veritas and now CH Robinson.

-Grant Ingersoll


“By the time I finished my education I had my feet in both camps. I thoroughly enjoyed my physics education, I liked the value of it. But history opened up my mind to a broader perspective rather than thinking of just some technical path in life.”

“Outside of the team, people don’t need to see the math they want you to boil it down for them and help them make a solid business decision one way or another. And boil it down in a quick way.”

“I first started hearing the term ‘data scientist’ when I started thinking about ‘ if I’m not seeking an academic career path, what is there for someone like me in the job market?’”

—Dinesh Shenoy

Key Milestones

  1. Dinesh took a year off after graduating from college, worked at Jiffy Lube and then decided to go to law school because it was “respectable”. What was going through his mind at that time?
  2. Dinesh spent 7 years as an immigration attorney. What inspired that area of law?
  3. After leaving law, Dinesh went back to school to become an astro-physicist. Why choose something so difficult?
  4. Dinesh find himself in tech after studying to become an astro-physicist?
  5. Dinesh’s experience as a lawyer and a physics PhD are definitely unique. How have they played into building a successful data science career?
  6. Tech fuels Dinesh’s intellectual curiosity. How does the ever changing field

Additional Resources

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