Meet our founding community. You can learn more about some of the people behind the Northeast Big Data Hub below, as well as on our Activities pages.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee advances the mission of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub and acts as an oversight board.

René Bastón
Executive Director

René Bastón has over 20 years of experience in innovation, alliance building, public/private collaborations, entrepreneurship, technology transfer and commercialization. He spent years as a management consultant for systems integrator, Ernst & Young; has created a number of public/private partnerships; and has founded startups based on the transfer of university, NIH, and NIST technologies.

Florence Hudson
Interim Executive Director

Florence Hudson is Founder and CEO of FDHint, LLC, consulting in advanced technology and diversity & inclusion, and Special Advisor for the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence at Indiana University. She is widely published and speaks globally on artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, Internet of Things, connected healthcare, smart cities, and cybersecurity. She is a former IBM VP and Chief Technology Officer, Internet2 Senior VP and Chief Innovation Officer, and aerospace engineer at Grumman and NASA. Full bio available here.

Jeannette Wing
Principal Investigator

Jeannette M. Wing is Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. She came to Columbia in July 2017 from Microsoft, where she served as Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research, overseeing a global network of research labs. She is widely recognized for her intellectual leadership in computer science, particularly in trustworthy computing. Full bio available here.

Vasant Honavar
Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Vasant Honavar received his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science in 1990 from the University of Wisconsin Madison, specializing in Artificial Intelligence. In September 2013, Honavar joined the faculty of Penn State University, where he currently serves as a Professor and Edward Frymoyer Chair  of Information Science and Technology. He is also the founding Director of the Center for Big Data Analytics and Discovery Informatics and Associate Director of the Institute for Cyberscience. Full bio available here.

Andrew McCallum
Co-Principal Investigator

Andrew McCallum is Professor and Director of the Information Extraction and Synthesis Laboratory in the School of Computer Science at University of Massachusetts Amherst.  He has published over 250 papers in many areas of AI, including natural language processing, machine learning, data mining and reinforcement learning, and his work has received over 30,000 citations. Full bio available here.

James Hendler
Co-Principal Investigator

James Hendler is the Tetherless World Senior Constellation Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science, and Head of the Computer Science Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has authored over 200 technical papers in the areas of Semantic Web, artificial intelligence, agent-based computing and high performance processing. Full bio available here.

Jamie Callan
Co-Principal Investigator

Jamie Callan is a Professor at the Language Technologies Institute, a graduate department in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. He has a joint appointment in the School of Information Systems and Management within CMU’s Heinz College.His research and teaching focus on text-based information retrieval and analysis. His recent work develops advanced search engine architectures, architectures for large-scale distributed search, federated search of vertical search engines, adaptive information filtering, and a variety of text analysis/mining/analytics methods. Full bio available here.

External Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board includes regional leaders from academia, industry, non-profit organizations and government, whose insights help further the Hub’s mission and who demonstrate sustained interest in engaging with the Hub in a voluntary role. Leaders of the following Thematic and Cross-Cutting Areas are indicated below.

Thematic Areas

Cross-Cutting Areas


Katie Naum
Manager of Operations

Katie Naum is passionate about responsible data science, sustainability, and  #scicomm that engages and inspires. A native of western New York and current Brooklynite, she holds a B.A. in Sustainable Development from Columbia University. Her interests include writing, hiking, and traveling.

Emeritus Leadership

Kathy McKeown
Founding Principal Investigator

Kathleen R. McKeown is the Henry and Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University, and was the founding Director of the Data Science Institute. Full bio available here.