Education & Workforce Working Group

The Data Science Education and Workforce Working Group is an open monthly professional working group for data science educators and program leaders to talk and hear from other programs around the country, as well as learn about resources for connecting with data, tools, industry partners, and research. 

The focus of the group is to: 
1. Highlight funded Data Science education projects, programs, and resources 
2. Share best-practices for project-based courses & teaching approaches
3. Provide experiences with assessment or evaluation approaches for Data Science teaching or Data Science programs.

The Education & Workforce Working Group meets virtually the first Friday of every month at 11AM EST, if you are interested in the group, join the mailing list.

Friday, October 2, 2020 at 11AM EST.


Dr. Debra F. Laefer 

Talk Title: Remote Sensing and Data Science: Opportunities and Challenges

Bio: With degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (MS, PhD), NYU (MEng), and Columbia University (BS, BA), Prof. Debra Laefer has a wide-ranging background spanning from geotechnical and structural engineering to art history and historic preservation. Not surprisingly, Prof. Laefer’s work often stands at the cross-roads of technology creation and community values such as devising technical solutions for protecting architecturally significant buildings from sub-surface construction. As the density of her aerial remote sensing datasets continues to grow exponentially with time, Prof. Laefer and her Urban Modeling Group pioneer computationally efficient storage, querying, and visualization strategies that both harness distributed computing-based solutions and bridge the gap between data availability and its usability for the engineering community. Prof. Laefer has authored over 180 peer-reviewed publications, been awarded 4 patents, and has supervised 15 doctoral and 20 Masters theses. Among many honors from IEEE, ISPRS, her portrait was commissioned by the Royal Irish Academy as one of eight researchers selected for the Women on Walls project to celebrate Irish women in science and engineering.  

Dr. Le Xie 

Talk Title: A Cross-Domain Approach to Analyzing the Short-Run Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Electricity Sector 

Dr. Le Xie is a Professor and Chancellor EDGES Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, and the Assistant Director-Energy Digitization at Texas A&M Energy Institute. He received B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2004, S.M. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard in 2005, and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 2009. His industry experience includes ISO-New England and Edison Mission Energy Marketing and Trading. His research interest includes modeling and control in data-rich large-scale systems, grid integration of clean energy resources, and electricity markets. Dr. Xie received the U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and DOE Oak Ridge Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. He was awarded the 2017 IEEE PES Outstanding Young Engineer Award. He was recipient of Texas A&M Dean of Engineering Excellence Award, ECE Outstanding Professor Award, and TEES Select Young Fellow. He serves or have served on the Editorial Board of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, IET Transaction on Smart Grid, and Foundations and Trends in Electric Energy Systems. He is the founding chair of IEEE PES Subcommittee on Big Data & Analytics for Grid Operations. His team received the Best Paper awards at North American Power Symposium 2012, IEEE SmartGridComm 2013, HICSS 2019, IEEE Sustainable Power & Energy Conference 2019, and IEEE PES General Meeting 2020. 


Dr. Renata Rawlings-Goss is the Executive Director of the South Big Data Innovation Hub, an NSF funded 16 state center connecting industry, academia, and government around data science innovation, as well as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Georgia Institute of Technology- Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS).

Dr. Rawlings-Goss is also the founder of Good with Data LLC, which runs The Data Career Academy – a 5 week program for professionals and faculty looking to accelerate their careers with data. Author of “Data Careers, Training, and Hiring”, her work has been recognized in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and as one of President Obama’s top 100 Impacts in Science and Technology. She is a biophysicist by training currently living in the Atlanta area.

Working group chairs are Renata Rawlings-Goss-Georgia Institute of Technology (chair), Andrew Zieffler- University of Minnesota (co-chair), Chris Tunnell- Rice University (co-chair), and Leah Wasser – University of Colorado Boulder (co-chair).

For questions please contact Kendra Lewis-Strickland ( 

Past Speakers