Cathy O'Neil is the author of the blog and several books, including Weapons of Math Destruction. She was the former Director of the Lede Program in Data Practices at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Tow Center and was employed as Data Science Consultant at Johnson Research Labs. O'Neil attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate and went on to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University in 1999, and afterwards held positions at MIT and Barnard College, doing research in arithmetic algebraic geometry. O'Neil left academia in 2007, and worked for four years in the finance industry, including two years at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw. She became disillusioned with the world of finance and subsequently became involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement, participating in its Alternative Banking Group.