Katie Krajovic, Research Scientist II, grew up on 92 acres south of Pittsburgh. The nearest grocery store was 30 minutes away, but that wasn’t a problem for Katie and her family since they maintained a large garden and grew most of their own vegetables. Their neighbors were farmers and Katie remembers seeing cows every day when she came home from school. “I used to think that chocolate milk came from the brown cows,” said Katie. Didn’t we all when we were kids?
“I was that kid that every week changed what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had a list of 10 things and it switched around a ton. But the most consistent on the list was a teacher. I remember when I was very young I taught my younger brother how to ride a bike and I really enjoyed explaining it to him.”
Teacher, architect, chef, and roller coaster designer were some of the many occupations on Katie’s vocational aspiration list growing up. On the surface these occupations may appear very different from Katie’s current role as a Research Scientist, however the similarities are certainly there.
“I started cooking a lot for my family in high school. It seemed like a fun way to be creative and I really liked science and creating things, so cooking was a good blend of the two,” says Katie.
Katie was incredibly active growing up. Her family went skiing, she played soccer and basketball, ran track and cross country. “I was a big tomboy, I was into all the sports,” Katie chuckles. When Katie was 8, she moved to the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh with her mom and younger brother. Katie had attended a small Catholic grade school, but moving to a new area meant new schools. For young Katie, who was quite shy, making friends was often difficult.
“When I was 10, I remember watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’ with my mom and thinking that it looked really cool. That was what first introduced me to ballroom dancing.” Katie asked her mom for years to try ballroom dancing but her mom always said no because of her other sports. By the time Katie was in high school, her mom gave in and Katie got to try her first ballroom dance class. “I tried it once and knew, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” And the rest, as they say, is history. Ballroom dancing is a huge part of Katie’s life to this day.
Despite a penchant for math and science, Katie’s favorite subject was language. She started learning Spanish when she was five years old. When she got to high school, Katie took Spanish, French and German, requiring special permission for her to skip lunch so she could take German lessons. Once Katie began looking into colleges, it was her German teacher in fact who first introduced her to the field of Linguistics.
Katie attended Northeastern and studied linguistics with a minor in computer science. She absolutely fell in love with Boston, which continues to hold a special place in her heart. “My college experience was 99% dancing. I joined the ballroom dancing team at Northeastern right away and helped build up the program during my time there. Boston is this incredible hub of collegiate ballroom dancing because there are so many schools in a concentrated area so you have a lot of people to dance with and compete against regardless of experience level,” Katie said. Within this community, Katie found a home. “It’s really common for people to start ballroom dancing when they get to college and I began coaching a lot of the newer people,” says Katie, “I found a partner and we danced the collegiate circuit on the east coast, in the midwest and eventually on the national level together.” Linguistics was fun, but dancing was first.
Competing on the national level was Katie’s introduction to traveling around America. Since she continues to compete to this day, travel has remained a huge part of Katie’s life. She has a map hanging in her office of all the states she’s visited colored according to a color-coded puzzle map she had as a kid. The summer after finishing graduate school at Brandeis, Katie and her partner took a road trip across America, visiting friends and family and visited national parks across the southwest and Pacific northwest.
Professionally, Katie had discovered the world of NLP in her time working on Alexa at Amazon during her gap year between undergrad and postgrad. Working at Amazon, she realized NLP was really cool and then went on to get her masters in computational linguistics at Brandeis. During an industry reception focused on NLP at Brandeis, Katie met Posh for the first time. Michelle Fullwood and Dhairya Dalal represented Posh and Katie remembers being nervous to speak with them. “Since this was pandemic times, the reception was virtual and Michelle and I got to chat for a bit. She seemed like such a great person and was focused on how what Posh is building is helping people,” said Katie.
After graduation and her road trip through America, Katie saw an open opportunity at Posh that she couldn't pass up. “My favorite part of working at Posh is getting to learn from such amazing people. The people on my team are so smart, kind and generous and they’re always willing to help me learn something new,” said Katie. You can still find Katie competitively dancing and coaching the team at San Jose State University. Creative, caring, logical, one of a kind.
Katie’s top seven favorite animals
3. American desert hare (black tailed jackrabbit)
5. Manul (Pallas’s cat)
6. Saltwater crocodile