The Pittsburgh Penguins have named Katerina Wu as data scientist in the team's hockey operations department, it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.
Wu, 22, will design and implement new statistics to evaluate player and team performance. She will report to Sam Ventura, the Penguins' director of hockey operations and hockey research, while also working closely with Nick Citrone, who has been promoted to senior data scientist of hockey and business operations.
"We are thrilled to add Katerina to the Penguins organization," said Ventura. "She is uniquely qualified to work in hockey due to her expertise in sports analytics, her impressive technical skillset, her experience working with complex puck and player tracking data, and her knowledge of the game."
Wu received her bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2020, where she majored in economics and minored in statistics and computer science.
In 2019, Wu attended Carnegie Mellon University's Sports Analytics Camp, where she studied data science and researched real-world applications of sports analytics. There, she was paired with Ventura, Citrone and the Pittsburgh Penguins for her capstone project, which introduced a new method for comparing and projecting player performance across different leagues. Wu presented this project at the 2019 Carnegie Mellon Sports Analytics Conference, where she was the co-winner for Best Research Poster, as well as the February 2020 Columbus Blue Jackets Hockey Analytics Conference.
Wu and Ventura continued working together during the 2019-20 season, when Wu was accepted to the Hockey Graphs Mentorship Program. Ventura, who serves as a mentor for the program, lobbied to be paired with Wu so the two could continue working together.
"Having worked with Katerina over the last two years, we were well aware of her skillset and her potential," said Ventura. "We're excited for Katerina and Nick to continue to impact our organization moving forward."
In 2020, Wu interned with SportsMEDIA Technology (SMT), the company that provides the NHL with puck and player tracking data. At SMT, Wu focused on automizing certain functions for the tracking data.
Prior to attending UNC-Chapel Hill, Wu lived in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado after spending most of her early childhood traveling across Asia, Europe and the eastern coast of the United States due to her father's career as a research scientist.