Marie Onakomaiya

Cues and Views

Chief Science Officer Marie Onakomaiya, in brief.

March 29, 2023
2 Minutes
Marie Onakomaiya
Marie Onakomaiya, PhD, MPH.

Home: New York, NY.  Profession: Digital Health.  Title: Chief Scientific Officer.  Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Alma mater: Dartmouth College; Columbia University (Mailman School of Public Health); Babcock University.  

Latest accomplishment: Appointed to the American Psychological Association’s Mental Health Technology Advisory Committee.  Hobbies: Formula 1, theater, community service.  Last book read: The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries.  Recently viewed and recommended: The Last of Us (HBO).

What word or phrase do you use far too often? That’s fair.  What natural talent have you neglected? Sprinting.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Astrophysics.  What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? Travel and home appliances.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? A flexible and relaxed itinerary where the only firm commitments are where I’m staying and how I’m getting there.

What was your favorite college course? Neurochemistry.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? The Sound of Music.  What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? Street art from Salvador, Bahia and New York City.  What’s the best advice you received in your career? Aim for at least 20%.  Meaning that at least one day a week on average, you have to be excited to go to work. When that goes away, it’s time for something new.  What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Smartphones.  They are the real personal computers.  What is your go-to source of news and information? For news: Morning Brew, New York Times; for information: Google, PubMed, ChatGPT.  

What change would you like to see in the world? Less fear around difference.  What mega-trend most excites you? Generative AI.  What mega-trend most concerns you? Jingoism.

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? 

Third Culture and a Half.

What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Issa Rae.  I’d also love it if she were to write the movie with Luvvie Ajayi.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A pediatric neurosurgeon.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? Sailing along the French Riviera (loved ones welcome).  

Favorite quote: “As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story… Be yourself… Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself” (Max Ehrmann, The Desiderata of Happiness).


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