Tax Policy Center

Claire Bowen

Lead Data Scientist, Privacy and Data Security

As a child, I wanted to know how the world worked. This curiosity motivated me to initially research physics, so I could solve real-world problems that helped people. With that goal, I then became a data scientist to explore and answer interesting and exciting questions in all fields (not just physics) that can make a profound and positive impact for society.


Claire McKay Bowen is the lead data scientist for privacy and data security at the Urban Institute. She develops and researches algorithms that create synthetic versions of confidential data, such as income tax return data, and assesses the quality and privacy guarantee of the generated synthetic data.

Bowen obtained her honors BS in mathematics and physics from Idaho State University before receiving her MS and PhD in statistics at the University of Notre Dame. Before her current position, Bowen worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she investigated cosmic ray effects on supercomputers and developed functional data analysis techniques for iterative design problems. Bowen is a past National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (NSF GRF) and maintains one of the top NSF GRF advice websites for potential applicants, reaching hundreds of students every year.

Outside of Urban, Bowen is the website manager for the LaPorte County Symphony in LaPorte, Indiana.