Kira
The rigorous, first principles approach VanDamme taught me enables me to think clearly and confidently about what truly matters to my company and our customers.”

Troy Astorino

Entrepreneur

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

VDA Class of 2005

In 2013, I graduated from MIT with majors in Physics and Aerospace Engineering and a minor in Economics. Outside of academics, I played on the varsity tennis team. I interned at Lockheed Martin and SpaceX.

After college, I co-founded PicnicHealth. PicnicHealth creates training data for precision medicine. We take a unique approach to doing this — actually giving patients a useful service. PicnicHealth collects, organizes, and manages medical records for patients.

In 2014, PicnicHealth went through Y Combinator, the same startup program that gave birth to Dropbox, AirBnB, and Reddit. In 2015, PicnicHealth raised a $2M seed funding round, and in 2017, won the $1M grand prize at Google's Machine Learning Startup Competition. As of mid-2017, PicnicHealth has processed 500,000 medical records from 5,000 different health care facilities across the country. 

VanDamme Academy is where I learned to think. I learned how to identify and reason about principles that applied across all academic subjects. Building a startup, I constantly deal with uncertainty, incomplete information, and a shifting environment. The rigorous, first principles approach VanDamme taught me enables me to think clearly and confidently about what truly matters to my company and our customers.