Northeast Student Data Corps: August 2021 Data Science Career Panel
Do you like to solve problems, but wish you knew how data could help you? Are you thinking about pursuing data science but don’t know where to start? Learn more about why you should leverage data science for good. Newly launched by our Northeast Student Data Corps, the Data Science Career Panel webinar series features experts from academia, government, industry, and nonprofits who share their experiences learning and using data science. These virtual events aim to highlight the wide range of educational opportunities and career paths available in data science and data analytics.
Join us at our upcoming Data Science Career Panel virtual event on Friday, August 20, 2021, 3-4 pm Eastern Time to hear the following speakers discuss their career experiences in data science.
Register now at
Columbia University Undergraduate and Northeast Student Data Corps Project Coordinator Haleigh Stewart and Temple University Undergraduate and President of the Northeast Student Data Corps Philidelphia Chapter Scott Blender.
Dr. Benjamin Harvey, Maxar Technologies and Johns Hopkins University
Benjamin Harvey is currently a Sr. Research Associate at Johns Hopkins University supporting Nilanjan as a data scientist. He previously served as a Lead Data Scientist and Solutions Architect with Databricks where he supported data science solutions engineering for federal customers and developed genomics pipelines for their Public Sector and Health and Life Sciences (HLS) services organization. He was also a Research Professor at George Washington University (GWU) within the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering and the Department of Computer Science’s joint Data Analytics graduate program where he taught Data Science and Big Data Analytics courses. Benjamin joined the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2009 and worked there for nearly a decade where his final position was the Chief of Operations Data Science. He was hired into the Cryptologic Computer Science Develop Program (CDP), graduated from the CDP in 2012, and was the first African American to be accepted and to finish the program. He was a research fellow at Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) in the Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG) program in 2008, and a Post-Graduate Research-Fellow with i2b2, National Center for Biomedical Computing, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Children’s Hospital Boston Informatics Program (CHIP) in conjunction with Harvard Medical School. Benjamin graduated from Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) in 2008 with a B.S. in Pre-Medicine & Computer Science, received a Master of Science in Computer Science from Bowie State University in 2011, and is a Doctor of Science in Computer Science from Bowie State University (BSU) in 2015.
Juan Lavista Ferres, Microsoft
Juan M. Lavista Ferres is currently the Chief Scientist and Lab Director of the Microsoft AI For Good Research Lab, where he works with a team of data scientists and researchers in AI, Machine Learning, and statistical modeling, working across Microsoft AI For Good efforts. These efforts include projects in AI For Earth, AI for Humanitarian Action, AI For Accessibility, and AI For Health. Juan joined Microsoft in 2009 to work for the Microsoft Experimentation Platform (EXP) where he designed and ran randomized control experiments across different Microsoft groups. Juan also worked as part of the Bing Data Mining team, where he led a group applying data mining, machine learning, statistical modeling, and online experimentation at a large scale as well as providing data services for Bing. Juan started the Microsoft efforts related to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and his work has been published in top academic journals including Pediatrics. His work has been covered in New York Times, CNN, Chicago Tribune, USNews, USAToday, and over 100 news outlets around the world. Before joining Microsoft, Juan was the CTO and co-founder of alerts.com. Previously, he spent 6 years in Washington working at the InterAmerican Development Bank applying data science to understand the impact of programs for reducing poverty and inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean. Juan has two computer science degrees from the Catholic University in Uruguay, and a graduate degree in Data Mining and Machine Learning from Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Kuldip Singh Atwal, University of Central Florida
Kuldip Singh Atwal is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Central Florida (UCF). His research focuses on understanding information spread and evolution over the Internet by leveraging data science and artificial intelligence tools that incorporate diverse pathways for addressing the unprecedented challenges of our times. As a member of an interdisciplinary team at UCF, Kuldip works on the DARPA-funded SocialSim project that studies online social media platforms for identifying influential campaigns, vulnerable populations, polarization, coordinating groups, and propagation patterns to develop innovative technologies for high-fidelity computational simulation of online social behavior for early detection of manipulative content that is created, popularized, and consumed over social media platforms. Prior to joining the SocialSlim project, Kuldip was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant at UCF. Prior to his academic position at UCF, he explored data dissemination and geographic routing techniques for VANETs and worked for detailed simulation of VANETs using NS-3 at Panjab University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at Lyallpur Khalsa College, his Master of Computer Applications (MCA) at Panjab University, and his Ph.D. in Computer Networks at UCF.
Dr. Marie desJardins, Simmons University
Dr. Marie desJardins is the Dean of the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences at Simmons University. Before coming to Simmons, she was a Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Senior Computer Scientist at SRI International. She earned her A.B. in Engineering from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research is in artificial intelligence, focusing on the areas of machine learning, multi-agent systems, and decision making. She is also known for her commitment and contributions to diversity in computing and computer science education. Dr. desJardins is an AAAI Fellow and recipient of numerous awards, including the EAAI/AAAI Outstanding Educator Award, UC Berkeley Distinguished Alumni Award in Computer Science, A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award, NCWIT and CRA Undergraduate Research Mentoring Awards, and UMBC Distinguished Teaching Professor. She has mentored 13 Ph.D. students, 27 M.S. students, and over 100 undergraduate researchers. She has also been highly active in the CS education community, founded the Maryland Center for Computing Education, and frequently serves as a mentor and invited speaker at CS education and outreach events.