Derrick Higgins

Data Science Manager, AmFam Data Science & Analytics

Derrick Higgins is an R&D strategist, manager, data scientist and computational linguist; since 2016, he has led the DSAL data science team in Chicago. Prior to joining American Family, Dr. Higgins was lead data scientist at Civis Analytics, and used deep learning to uncover latent factors in political discussions on social media. Before that, he was the director of NLP and speech research at the Educational Testing Service, where he and his team developed tools for analyzing student responses that are now used in leading testing programs around the world, including the GRE« and TOEFL«. Dr. Higgins earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Chicago in 2002. He has contributed to research in many fields of natural language processing and educational measurement, including semantic representation, discourse structure analysis, item generation, off-topic essay identification, and the automated scoring of spoken responses. His research has been published in leading conferences and journals in the fields of computational linguistics, speech processing, and language testing, and has resulted in ten patents.