Thinking Beyond the Ordinary: Unconventional Approaches to Success and Utilizing Data Science for Good

Data science has become relevant across all disciplines in areas of STEM from healthcare to environmental studies and cybersecurity, to the humanities and social sciences in areas like criminal justice, ethics, and economics. Now more than ever it is imperative that we work towards developing valuable insights from data science that can enable more informed decision making and improved outcomes which touch many dimensions of our lives. 

This is a belief that Florence Hudson, Executive Director of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub at Columbia University, shared as part of her Presentation “Data Science for Good – Creating Meaningful Societal and Scientific Impact Through Data Science” on Monday April 5, 2021 as part of the Data Science seminar series co-hosted by the University of Rhode Island’s Data Science Program, the University of Rhode Island’s AI Lab, and the Rhode Island AI Meetup Group. Through her diverse roles across industries Florence shared how Data Science can be a valuable tool that can be leveraged across many disciplines to enable positive societal and scientific impact. She also shared how the current goals and activities led by the community of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub is helping leverage data science for good and advancing this vision of creating meaningful societal and scientific impact through data science.

To kick off the event, Florence—a Mechanical and Aerospace engineer turned author and editor, businesswoman, and dedicated community volunteer—shared both her personal and professional journey offering valuable insights and advice for attendees pursuing new opportunities. As someone who has found success by pursuing opportunities that break free from traditional paths, she shared how unconventional approaches can help advance students in ways that feel meaningful and fulfilling. Through her diverse roles, Florence was able to share the different ways Data Science has guided her path through different industries and allowed her to impact change in new and exciting ways. 

Florence also shared how the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub community is currently leveraging data science to create meaningful societal and scientific impact by acting as a community convener, collaboration hub, and catalyst for data science innovation in the Northeast Region. Through activities such as the Northeast Student Data Corps, a community-developed initiative that provides resources and opportunities for students to learn data science, the COVID Information Commons, and different focus areas in Health, Responsible Data Science, Urban to Rural Communities, and Education + Data literacy, the Hub is cultivating and promoting meaningful experiences for the community to engage with and providing opportunities for students, citizens, industry and government leaders to gain insights which enable us to make our world a better place. A recording of the event has been made available here.

Florence Hudson is the Executive Director of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub at Columbia University, and Founder & CEO of FDHint, LLC, a global advanced technology and diversity & inclusion consulting firm. She leads the COVID Information Commons funded by NSF, providing an open resource to explore research and enable global collaboration to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Florence is available to present at institutions around the Northeast on how to leverage Data Science for good. If you are interested in hosting Florence please send us an email at