Past Data Science Education & Workforce Working Group Speakers

2021-2022 Past Speakers

 

June 2022 Speaker: Jonathon Schwabish | S.E.E.D.S Outcome: Data4Kids: Virtually Teaching Kids about Data Science

Dr. Jonathan Schwabish is a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center and Communications Department at the Urban Institute. His research focuses on nutrition policy and policies that affect people with disabilities. He is also considered a leading voice for clarity and accessibility in how researchers communicate their findings. He has written three books on data communication; his latest, Better Data Visualizations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks details essential strategies to create more effective data visualizations. He is on Twitter @jschwabish

June 2022 Speaker: Nicholas Horton | Fostering data science pathways from associate's to bachelor's degrees

Nicholas J. Horton (Amherst College) is Beitzel Professor of Technology and Society (Statistics and Data Science) at Amherst College. He serves as co-PI on the DSC-WAV project. Nick is the co-chair of the National Academies Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics and involved in several other data science education initiatives at the National Academies. 

 

May 2022 Speaker: Seema Iyer | S.E.E.D.S Outcome: Evaluation and Demonstration of Open Data Portal Technology for Smart Cities and Data Science for Social Good

 

Seema D. Iyer PhD is associate director and research professor for the Jacob France Institute in the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business. Dr. Iyer oversees the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) , which annually prepares the Vital Signs compendium of open data for Baltimore’s neighborhoods. The award-winning BNIA project is part of the Urban Institute's national partnership of sites that provide longitudinal data on demographics, housing, crime, education and sustainability. BNIA just released the Baltimore Community Change Project with a set of 6 reports that tracks how Baltimore's neighborhoods have changed over the last decade in terms of race, affordability, building vacancy, accessibility, connectivity and quality of life. Academically, she is also director of UBalt’s Real Estate and Economic Development program and teaches courses on real estate principles and local economic development. In 2019, she helped launch the M$T Bank Real Estate Fellows Venture competition at UBalt to create pathways for early-stage developers interested in working with stable, middle-market communities in Baltimore. Dr. Iyer was the 2021 recipient of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents faculty award for Public Service. Dr. Iyer holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her most recent publication is: Iyer, S. (Co-Editor) (2021). Monitoring Sustainable Development Goals in North American Cities: Best Practices in Community Planning and Performance Measurement. Springer Nature.

May 2022 Speaker: Sonya Dennis | S.E.E.D.S Outcome: Incorporating Data into an African American Diaspora Course

Dr. Sonya Dennis is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, GA.  Dr. Dennis holds a B.S. from Savannah State, an MS from Clark Atlanta, and a PhD from Walden University.  Her career has spanned industryc and academic experiences.  She was a recipient of a mini-grant award from the 2020 S.E.E.D.S Program Large Award Recipient, the HBCU-DSC.  Her mini-grant award explored Data in an African American Diaspora Course.

 

April 2022 Speaker: Mallory Sheff | Improving College Success Through Predictive Modeling

Hailing from both France and the U.S., Mallory has been working in health and social impact for over a decade across countries -- South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and Tanzania -- and time zones. She has leveraged her international expertise and cross-cultural knowledge to collaborate with experts in academia, policy, and nonprofit organizations, bridging the gap between resources and the populations who need them. Mallory applies systems thinking and data driven decision-making to all the work that she does, celebrating complexity as a key component of projects rooted in the real world. Mallory holds an MPH in Epidemiology from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a BA in International Development Studies from The George Washington University. 

 

April 2022 Speaker: Jason Black | 2020 South BD Hub S.E.E.D.S. Project: HBCU-Data Science Consortium

Dr. Jason T. Black is an Associate Professor in Information Systems and Operations Management in the School of Business and Industry at FAMU. Dr. Black’s research interests include business analytics/Big Data, mobile computing, and educational technology. Additionally, Dr. Black is developing a business analytics degree program (B.S.) in the School of Business and Industry, to be launched in Fall 2021. Dr. Black is also a member of the South Big Data Hub and a participant in the NSF DataUp Initiative, as well as an instructor for the Software Carpentry program, which teaches data science-related tools to researchers using interactive teaching strategies

 

March 2022 Speaker: Ashok Goel | Georgia Tech AI Institue

Ashok K. Goel is a Professor of Computer Science and  Cognitive Science in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, Director of the  School’s Ph.D. Program in Human-Centered Computing, and Coordinator of the faculty  consortium on Creativity, Learning & Cognition. This project brings together scientists to  translate big data into meaningful knowledge that supports research and education in  environmental sustainability. The project will focus on the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), the  world’s largest database of biological species, and other biodiversity data sources to make this  data more accessible and usable by integrating artificial intelligence tools, modeling, and  simulation.

 

March 2022 Speaker: Tim Chartier | Talk Title: Get in the Game: Math and Sports Analytics

Tim Chartier is a professor of mathematics and computer science at Davidson College who specializes in data analytics.  He consults with ESPN, the New York Times, the US Olympic Committee and teams in the NBA, NFL and NASCAR.  Tim has overseen a sports analytics group that can number nearly 100 student researchers each year; the group supplies analytics to Davidson College sports teams  Beyond authoring books such as X Games in Mathematics: Sports Training that Counts!, Tim has worked on Google and Pixar educational initiatives.  Tim's authorship, research, and scholarship have been recognized with national leadership positions in the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and multiple awards including an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, The MAA SE Distinguished Teaching Award and the MAA’s Euler Book Award.

February 2022 Speaker: Thereza Padilha | Talk Title: Use of Educational Data to Predict Students' Performance

Thereza Padilha is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the Federal University of Paraiba, Brazil, and has more than 15 years of teaching experience. She is a visiting scholar in the school of Psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology since 2020 and ends her research in May 2022 about the use of educational data to know the students' performance before they drop out or fail in classes. Her research interests include educational data mining, logic, and programming teaching.  Thereza is looking forward to collaborating on data science projects in USA universities.

February 2022 Speaker: Patti Ordonez | Talk Title: Data Science for Social Justice: Using hackathons and datathons to turn despair into empowerment

Dr. Patricia Ordóñez is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras and thereby fulfilling two lifelong and one unexpected midlife dreams – living in a Spanish speaking country, having the opportunity to make a greater difference in the world, and becoming a professor. Her research interests are in applying machine learning, data mining, and visualization to multivariate time series analysis, specifically to large repositories of clinical data (now known as Biomedical Data Science), creating a voice programming language (assistive technology), and advocating and working towards high-quality computer and data science education for all. She was the first Latina to graduate with a PhD from the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the first female Associate Professor to earn tenure in the Computer Science Department at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras (UPRRP). She is a former National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She is serving as General Chair at the 2022 Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference and is former co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). She is the recipient of the Great Minds in STEM 2021 HENAAC Award in Education. She is passionate about creating a more inclusive culture in computing and STEM and about bridging the digital and data divide in global healthcare and education.

 

January 2022 Speaker: Farhana Hasan | Talk Title: Non-Profit Partnership Discussion

 

Farhana Hasan is the Founder and CEO of HerWILL, a US based social enterprise for women’s empowerment that focuses on breaking social barriers to success through education, advocacy, discussion, and innovative technology. HerWILL is committed to helping to achieve gender equality, the UN SDG goal #5, by 2030. With HerWILL, Farhana has married her passion for women’s empowerment, innovative technology, and data insight. Her cross-cultural and multiple industry leadership experiences have made her well-suited for founding the social enterprise she is now leading.  Farhana was a senior leader in global aviation for almost 20 years, with experience in data science applications, business intelligence, aviation technology, and leadership development. She led the technology implementation for partnership development at Delta Air Lines, in collaboration with Delta’s strategic partners around the world. She has also served in SkyTeam IT Executive Board for five years. 

January 2022 Speaker: Dr. Arko Barman | Talk Title: DS+X: Developing Data Science Curriculum for Postdoctoral Scholars in Biology & Medicine

 

Dr. Arko Barman is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the Data to Knowledge Lab with a joint appointment in the ECE department at Rice University. Dr. Barman has been involved in curriculum design and teaching data science courses for several years. Prior to joining Rice University, Dr. Barman was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth), where he developed introductory data science and statistics courses for postdoctoral fellows in biology and medicine. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award and the inaugural Postdoctoral Service Award at UTHealth for his teaching and service activities respectively. Dr. Barman received his Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Houston, Masters in Signal Processing from the Indian Institute of Science, and his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Jadavpur University, India. His research interests include machine learning, deep learning, biomedical image analysis, computer vision, data mining, and heuristic optimization. Dr. Barman has also worked in the industry for several years at Broadcom Corporation and the Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC).

November 2021 Speaker: Dr. Karen Hoober | Talk Title:  Graduate Programs at University of Delaware's Center of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology


Dr. Karen Hoober is the Associate Director for Graduate Education and Outreach at the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) and the Director for Workforce Development for the Data Science Institute (DSI) at the University of Delaware. From Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she graduated with a PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry from University of Delaware where she teaches undergraduate courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. 

 

 

 

November 2021 Speaker: Dr. Legand Burge | Talk Title: NIH AIM-AHEAD Award Overview: Lead the Data Science Training Core

Dr. Burge is a Professor of Computer Science and currently serves as the Executive Director for the Howard West initiative at Howard University. His primary research interest is in distributed computing and its applications in the design and development of social-technical systems. He is currently investigating the design and development of smart spaces to support immersive learning within a classroom, and smart spaces that facilitate the innovation process in distributed teams. He is also working with the Howard University Medical School's RCMI Center to utilize historical medical data to develop precision medicine tools to manage, detect, and prevent chronic diseases which affect African Americans. Additionally, he is also interested in researching design patterns for consensus algorithms for distributed Blockchain solutions. His research has been funded by NSF, NIH, Dept of Education, DHS, AFSOR, and various industry companies such as Amazon, and Google. His most recently funded project involves the design and development of socio-technology to triage elderly adults who suffer from cognitive decline utilizing ML/AI for Modeling Vocal Prosody and Facial Expressions.

October 2021 Speaker:Dr. Da Yan | Talk Title:  Some Insights on Curriculum Design in Data Science and Big Data Related Courses

Dr. Da Yan is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Yan is the sole winner of Hong Kong Institute of Science 2015 Young Scientist Award in Physical/Mathematical Science, and senior members of ACM and IEEE. His current research interests include parallel/distributed Big Data systems, graph and geospatial data mining, and deep learning. He regularly publishes in top venues such as SIGMOD, VLDB, KDD, ICDE, WWW, ICML, VLDB Journal, TKDE, TPDS, etc., where he also regularly serves as reviewers. He also organizes the BIOKDD workshop held with KDD and served as guest editors of IEEE TCBB and BMC Bioinformatics. At UAB, he designed and is currently teaching many Data Science courses including Foundations of Data Science, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning, which have been taken by undergraduate, master and PhD students, and even high-school students choosing through UAB’s Vulcan Materials and Academic Success Center. The classes are very popular and taken by students not only within the CS department, but also from many other schools in UAB, with a class size often surpassing 100 students. In this talk, Dr. Yan will share his experience and vision in Data Science and Big Data education.

October 2021 Speaker: Dr. Alessandro Selvitella | Talk Title: A journey through data science research at undergraduate-teaching institutions: Thematic programs, conferences, courses, and partnerships towards expanding computational literacy in local communities

Alessandro is currently an Assistant Professor of Data Science and Applied Statistics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Purdue University Fort Wayne. He received a BSc and an MSc in Mathematics from Università degli Studi di Milano (Milan, Italy), a PhD in Mathematical Analysis from SISSA (Trieste, Italy), and an MSc and a PhD in Statistics from McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada). He has been a Postdoctoral Fellow in Applied Mathematics at McMaster University, a Part-time Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Ottawa, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Departments of Psychiatry and Computing Science at the University of Alberta.

His current research interests are in the applications of data science and mathematical methods in the biological and medical sciences. He is currently supported by the Lilly Endowment Grant “Indiana Digital Crossroads” (2021-2026) and the NSF-Simons Pilot Project Program Grant (2021-2022). He has received the PFW Sigma-Xi Researcher of the Year Award (2020),  Purdue Service-Learning Fellowship (2021), and Pippert Research Scholar Award (2021).

 

September 2021 Speaker: Dr. Brian Wright | Talk Title:  Building a School of Data Science and a Undergraduate Curriculum

Brian Wright graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a BS in Economics in 2002.  He went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Public Administration before being awarded a fellowship in 2005 with the Department of Defense.  Brian worked for various commands, including an appointment in the Pentagon with the Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff. Brian then returned to his alma mater as the Assistant Director for the National Defense Business Institute, NDBI, a research organization housed inside UTK’s School of Business, while there he received his PhD in Higher Education Administration.   

September 2021 Speaker: Dr. Lori Downen | Talk Title: SAS Global Academic Program: A Partner to Enable Data Science and Analytics Education

Dr. Lori Downen is a recent addition to SAS Global Academic Programs where she supports academic programs in advancing analytics education and aligning STEM education to meet the demands of the labor market. Before joining SAS, Dr. Downen obtained B.S. degrees in Physics and Nuclear Engineering from North Carolina State University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in experimental and computational nuclear astrophysics. She has extensive experience as a mentor, tutor, and instructor with groups such as the Society for Woman Engineers and Women in Science and Engineering. Contact: Lori.Downen@sas.com

August 2021 Speaker: Dr. Jian Tao | Talk Title:  DS+X: an Immersive and Interdisciplinary Approach for Data Science Education


Dr. Jian Tao is a Research Scientist / Computational Scientist / Adjunct Professor at Texas A&M Engineering. He is affiliated with the Texas A&M High Performance Research Computing, the Texas A&M Institute of Data Science, and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. in Physics (Computational Astrophysics) from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008. He is currently the Associate Director of the Scientific Machine Learning Laboratory at the Texas A&M Institute of Data Science. He is a contributor to the SPEC CPU 2017 benchmark suite. He is also a University Ambassador of the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute and an XSEDE Campus Champion at Texas A&M University. His research interests include high performance computing, numerical algorithms, image processing, data analytics, machine learning, and workflow management.

August 2021Speaker: Dr. Arko Barman | Talk Title: Case study: Applied Data Science & Machine Learning Capstone designed for externally-funded projects


Dr. Arko Barman is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the Data to Knowledge Lab with a joint appointment in the ECE department at Rice University. Dr. Barman has been involved in curriculum design and teaching data science courses for several years. Prior to joining Rice University, Dr. Barman was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth), where he developed introductory data science and statistics courses for postdoctoral fellows in biology and medicine. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award and the inaugural Postdoctoral Service Award at UTHealth for his teaching and service activities respectively. Dr. Barman received his Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Houston, Masters in Signal Processing from the Indian Institute of Science, and his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Jadavpur University, India. His research interests include machine learning, deep learning, biomedical image analysis, computer vision, data mining, and heuristic optimization. Dr. Barman has also worked in the industry for several years at Broadcom Corporation and the Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC).

2020-2021 Past Speakers

July 2021 Speaker: Dr. Julia Stoyanovich | Talk Title:  Teaching Responsible Data Science

Julia Stoyanovich is an Assistant Professor at New York University in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Tandon School of Engineering, and the Center for Data Science.  Julia's research focuses on responsible data management and analysis practices: on operationalizing fairness, diversity, transparency, and data protection in all stages of the data acquisition and processing lifecycle. 

July 2021 Speaker: Dr. Raghu Machiraju | Talk Title: Creating novel academic programming: Combining data analytics with design thinking

Raghu Machiraju serves as a Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Computer Science and Engineering, Pathology at The Ohio State University.  Currently, he serves as the Associate Chair for Growth in the Department of  Computer Science and Engineering and as the Principal Data Scientist at the Translational Data Analytics Institute (TDAI). 

 

June 2021 Speaker: Dr. Joyce Malyn-Smith | Talk Title:  Tools for Developing New Data Pathways in Community Colleges

Joyce Malyn-Smith is a national expert on STEM career development and workforce education. She leads a body of work that explores how people develop skills and knowledge in and out of school then translate those into productive and rewarding careers. Her projects develop industry/ education connections in computational thinking, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and other advanced technologies.  Malyn-Smith’s research focuses on the future of work and its implications for lifelong learning. 

June 2021 Speaker: Dr. Jianwu Wang | Talk Title:  Team-Based Online Multidisciplinary Education on Big Data + High-Performance Computing + Atmospheric Sciences

Dr. Jianwu Wang is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He is also an affiliated faculty at the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), UMBC. His research interests include Big Data Analytics, Scientific Workflow, Distributed Computing, Service Oriented Computing.

May Speaker: Dr. RN Uma | Talk Title:  Data Science for Social Justice: An Approach to Broaden Participation

Dr. R. N. Uma is a Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Mathematics and Physics at NC Central University, Durham, NC, USA. Her research interests include data science, scheduling and resource allocation with applications to cloud computing, robotics, wireless sensor networks, multimedia networking, and large logistics problems. Her research has spanned from purely theoretical to experimental and simulations. 

 

April 2021 Speaker: Dr. David Beck | Talk Title:  Domain Specific Graduate Training in Data Science in the Context of a University Wide Approach

David Beck is a Research Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington (UW), a Senior Data Science Fellow and Director of Research and Education for the eScience Institute. Dr. Beck’s research explores the intersection of molecules and data science, or molecular data science, and its applications to energy, environment and health.  

April 2021Speaker: Dr. David Gutman | Talk Title: The Human Tumor Atlas Network Data Coordinating Center


Dr. David Gutman received his PhD in Neuroscience and MD from Emory University School of Medicine and is now an associate professor of Neurology.  Dr. Gutman is also a staff Physician at the Atlanta VA Medical Center on the Psychiatric Inpatient Unit.  Dr. Gutman's research focuses on developing informatics technologies to process and analyze large imaging data sets, and is leading the imaging informatics efforts to integrate data for the Human Tumor Atlas Network.
 

March 2021 Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Schwabish | Talk Title:  Teaching Data Visualization to Kids
 

Dr. Jonathan Schwabish is an economist, writer, teacher, and creator of policy-relevant data visualizations. He is considered a leading voice for clarity and accessibility in how researchers communicate their findings. His book Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks helps people improve the way they prepare, design, and deliver data-rich content and his edited book, Elevated the Debate: A Multilayered Approach to Communicating Your Researchhelps people develop a strategic plan to communicating their work across multiple platforms and channels. His latest book, Better Data Visualizations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks details essential strategies to create more effective data visualizations. He is on Twitter @jschwabish

March 2021 Speaker:  Dr. Ben Marwick | Talk Title: Data Skills and Data Studies: A New Interdisciplinary Minor in Data Science for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


Ben is an Associate Professor of Archaeology, with other local affiliations including the eScience Institute, the Burke Museum, the Center for Statistics and Social Sciences, the Quaternary Research Center, and the Southeast Asia Center. His research interests include hominin dispersals into mainland Southeast Asia, forager technologies and ecology in Australia, mainland Southeast Asia and elsewhere.  Ben is interested in techniques and methods for reproducible research and open science, and is the program chair for the UW eScience Institute's Reproducible Research Special Interest Group. He is the inaugural director of the UW Interdisciplinary Data Science Minor.

 

February 2021 Speaker: Dr. Karl Schmidt | Talk Title:  Keeping Academic Data Science On-Track: What to Assess and How

 


Karl is engaged in a variety of Data Science Educational, most recently by serving as a member of the ACM Data Science Task Force to develop their curricular recommendations for Data Science. He was the founding director of Valparaiso University's undergraduate Data Science degree and ran Valpo's Masters in Analytics and Modeling program for 5 years. Karl is now the Program Coordinator for Data Analytics at Trinity Christian College and is part of implementing the new program there, alongside a new Data Center.  Karl specializes in data science as applied to networks and graphs.

February 2021 Speaker: Dr. Hunter Schafer | Talk Title: Designing CSE 163, an Intermediate Data Programming course


Hunter Schafer is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. His work prioritizes integrating evidence-based teaching practices to achieve equitable learning outcomes for all students, regardless of their primary field of study. Hunter teaches classes on introductory programming, data structures and algorithms, data science, and machine learning. In his first year on the Allen School faculty, he designed ‘CSE 163 - Intermediate Data Programming’, a core programming course taken by students pursuing data science options in majors across the university. His goal is to enable students from a variety of fields to appreciate the accessibility and relevance of these courses to their studies.

January 2021 Speakers: Dr. Mandy Hering | Talk Title:  Navigating Undergraduate Research Projects Fully Online


Amanda Hering obtained her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Statistics in 2009. She joined the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado in 2009 as an Assistant Professor and then the Department of Statistical Science at Baylor University in 2016 as an Associate Professor.  She has over 55 peer-reviewed papers in both statistics and subject matter journals.  Her research focus is on methods and applications to problems in natural and engineered water environments. In 2019, she was selected for The International Environmetrics Society (TIES) Abdel El-Shaawari Early Investigator Award. She is the PI of an NSF Data Science Corps project titled “Modernizing Water and Wastewater Treatment through Data Science Education and Research.”

January 2021 Speakers: Dr. Adam LaMee | Talk Title: Getting into K12 Classrooms: a large-scale partnership between UCF Physics and local schools integrating data science into core middle grades curriculum with free, open source materials


As the PhysTEC Teacher-in-Residence at the University of Central Florida department of Physics, Adam LaMee coordinates undergraduate laboratories, the Learning Assistant program, and partnerships with K12 schools. For the past five years that has included integrating Python and Jupyter into undergraduate physics curriculum and large-scale data science initiatives in middle and high schools. Mr. LaMee is also a Teaching & Learning Fellow for the NSF-funded Quarknet Program whose activities include mentoring K12 teachers and students in particle physics research and creating K12 curriculum that exposes students to current research in a range of physics disciplines. He has 15 years of experience teaching at the high school and university levels, has led workshops around the country for hundreds of K12 teachers, and was a developer of Florida's secondary science course standards.

November 2020: Dr. Cheryl A. Swanier | Talk Title: How Secure Is Your Data


Dr. Cheryl A. Swanier is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Claflin University where she was named the Henry N. and Alice Carson Tisdale Endowed Professor and the former Department Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science.  Dr. Swanier is the founder and CEO of Swanier Consulting, LLC. Dr. Swanier conducts research in Human Computer Interaction with an emphasis in visual programming of educational simulations with end user programming and educational gaming technologies.  Dr. Swanier works with outreach initiatives to improve computer science education at all levels. 

November 2020 Speaker: Dr. Eliu Huerta | Talk Title: Training the Next Generation of AI Practitioners


Dr. Eliu Huerta is the director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence Innovation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He completed a Master of Advanced Study and a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. His research interests are at the interface of artificial intelligence, theoretical astrophysics, extreme scale computing and mathematics. He is the head of the Gravity Group at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, where he leads a vibrant, interdisciplinary, and multi-institutional research program funded by NSF and DOE.

October 2020: Dr. Debra F. Laefer | Talk Title: Remote Sensing and Data Science: Opportunities and Challenges


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. 

October 2020 Speaker: 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 a 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. 

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