Alicia Powers, Senior Vice President, NYEDC

Alicia Powers

Senior Vice President, NYEDC

What's for Breakfast?

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day but is it true? Using open data, we explore the breakfast-eating habits of over 9,000 Americans. The nutritional density of the average American breakfast is put to the test as we use Neo4j to recommend breakfasts that support better health outcomes.

I discuss how Neo4J supports a food recommendation engine that uses nutritional information, personal health data, and food preferences to curate specific items to make a meal that supports a person's health. The talk starts with an overview of how Americans eat breakfast. It may surprise you how many people eat cookies for breakfast. Then, I use data science to recommend breakfast for someone given their likes/dislikes, their propensity to eat breakfast, their health, and their nutritional needs.


Dr. Powers has over 15 years experience using data to discover an organization’s needs and drive effective decision-making. Her expertise includes survey design, experimental design, and complex data analysis. Her career trajectory includes roles like entrepreneur, lead data scientist at an education start-up, medical researcher, and consultant. Currently, she works as the Senior Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation where she uses data science tools to help local government promote economic growth.

Previously, Dr. Powers has worked with organizations including Pearson Education, the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Education, various state/local governments, and national non-profit organizations. Dr. Powers graduated from Rice University with a B.A. degree in Statistics and Cognitive Science. She earned her doctorate degree in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research has been shared at peer-reviewed conferences and she has taught at the University of Maryland-University College Business and Management School as an adjunct faculty member.