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As we ring in the new year, NASA is thrilled to announce our next class of Datanauts for the Spring 2018 class.  We continue to be thankful for the diverse pool of skilled, knowledgeable, creative, and driven applicants.

These new Datanauts will have the opportunity to learn together, build together, and explore the dataverse with NASA subject matter experts and one another. Whether focusing on R or Python, discovering tools to enable their deep data dives, hearing about projects created within the community, or reaching out to give others a taste of their work, Spring 2018 Datanauts have quite the voyage ahead of them and we’re looking forward to seeing where their collaboration takes them.

Today, it is our distinct honor and privilege to announce… NASA Datanauts 2018 Spring Class!

  • Agnes Salanki is a passionate data analyst. Applying her master's degree in computer engineering and a special interest in mathematics, she loves making sense of vast amount of user behavior data, previously in the domain of fashion and more recently in the travel industry. She has co-founded R-Ladies Budapest.
  • Alice Allen retired from the government finance sector to concentrate on volunteer work in astro: she edits the Astrophysics Source Code Library and volunteers for the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). She started her career as a programmer and is excited to code again and expand her volunteer work in astro.
  • Allison Gray is a third-year graduate student in Human Development and Family Studies focusing on longitudinal methods of analyses. She believes in data-driven research and well made plots. If she's not buried in R code or exploring #rstats on Twitter, you can find her cooking, hiking, or watching Jeopardy.
  • Alyssa Columbus studies applied mathematics and loves learning about data science applications to citizen science. An active contributor to open-source R projects, she excels at developing data visualizations and putting together predictive models using machine learning. She also leads programming workshops for local Girl Scouts.
  • Amanda Dobbyn is a data scientist at a Chicago-based startup and co-organizer of RLadies Chicago. She is an ultimate frisbee geek and serial side project-er who loves puzzling through tricky problems with other people, especially those with the potential for positive social impact.
  • Angela Li is interested in using spatial data to address policy problems. Her experience as an economics researcher has made her a big supporter of open data. Through her work with R-Ladies Chicago, she hopes to inspire others to use data science to answer questions they're interested in.
  • Ankur Garg in a data analyst and product manager who looks for creative ways to make data accessible and interesting. He holds a master's degree in analytics and likes implementing data science algorithms, reading, and cooking.
  • Along with a decade of software engineering experience, Ben Noble has leveraged his enthusiasm for technology as the organizer for NASA's Space Apps Challenge in London since 2015. Space Apps London has a formidable reputation within the community, with multiple global winners coming from London since the first event.
  • Bernadette Boscoe is a Ph.D. student in Information Studies. She works with an astronomy group studying the black hole at the center of our galaxy. Bernadette has a masters in mathematics and degrees in fine arts and computer science. She enjoys learning new programming languages and inventing spicy dishes with peppers she grows. 
  • Catherine Nelson is a data scientist with a passion for data that changes in space and time! She has a geophysics Ph.D. and now works in tech, where she most enjoys working on geospatial or visual data related to the physical world. She also loves exploring the natural world through rock climbing, backpacking, and photography.
  • Daloha Rodriguez-Molina is a young Venezuelan medical doctor and epidemiologist currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Germany. Her main interests are data analysis, machine learning, causality, study design, science communication, scientific writing, and e-learning. She is also co-founder of R-Ladies Munich.
  • Danielle Chen has master's degrees in chemistry and biostatistics. She enjoys solving the data puzzle, finding patterns in handling geospatial and image data. She also enjoys creating informative data visualization to help people make decisions and learn from data.
  • David Black is a high school teacher in Utah who leads student data-driven projects. His classes use Mars MOLA and lunar LOLA data to create 3D models, dust opacity data from the Mars Global Surveyor probe to track dust storms, and WISE infrared data to study K-giant stars.
  • Donia Robinson was a full stack developer before it was cool. She owned a web development agency for seven years, and is currently a UI engineer at a major insurance company. She is a proud proponent of leveling the tech playing field and considers the question "Should we?" to be as important as "Can we?".
  • Edwin Rogers founded his own company. He won multiple awards at the NASA International SpaceApps challenge, including "Most Inspirational Idea" for creating a VR tour of Mars in 36 hours in 2013, "Best Use of Data for a VR Alexa app in 2015, and an Innovation Award in 2017 from the National Association of Broadcasters.
  • Emily Carlson is a graduate student in electrical engineering researching solar cells. She loves space and previously worked at a natural history museum researching exoplanets and teaching computer science. She's excited to gain more coding skills while meeting other space enthusiasts.
  • Erin McCabe is a librarian at a digital archive where she works with data to inform questions in academic publishing. She learned Python in grad school and is fascinated with using it for research. Her pet project is building a relational database of historic circus routes and finding brain candy ways to tell that story.
  • Systems engineer Fig O'Reilly is an advocate of Empowerment Through Coding, an initiative that aims to increase interest in subjects like coding amongst young girls. This coding mentor and open source community advocate is passionate about leveling the playing fields through diversity in STEM.
  • Florencia Mangini is a computer science engineer with a background in marketing and product design. Always studying, she is currently teaching herself three new languages: R, Python, and Chinese. Her goal is to improve her machine learning and data science skills to implement predictive models and data-driven decision-making.
  • Hima Tk is passionate about open data, Python, and data visualization. She is a strong advocate for women in STEM and leads Girl Geek Dinners Melbourne with 2000+ members. She is currently exploring how to use machine learning, AI, and gamification concepts to drive learning outcomes in students.
  • Isabel Bernal Gándara is a sociologist, a Ph.D. holder in statistics, a data analyst for more than 15 years, a data mining and Bayesian networks practitioner, an opera singer with interests in historical fencing practice and historical reenactments, a role master, a heavy metal and hard rock enthusiast, a science fiction geek, and a bibliofila.
  • Jacquelyn Neal is a Ph.D. candidate in Biostatistics who is committed to exploring all types of science, increasing diversity in STEM, and using statistics and data science to improve the world. Previously an agricultural engineer, she developed sustainable organic fertilizers made from tomatoes and disease systems models.
  • Jasmine Mithani is a designer, developer and researcher using data for social good. As a visualization specialist, she regularly wrangles complex data into meaningful stories. She cares deeply about open source, civic tech, algorithmic fairness, and supporting underprivileged populations in computer science.
  • Jasmine Williams is a statistician and one of seven co-organizers of the R-Ladies NYC chapter. She is interested in health disparities research and is a strong advocate for diversity in STEM.
  • Jenee Dana is the award-winning author of "Have Fun & Get It Done" and is a web developer for the website of a Hawaiian national monument. In 2018 she founded =IT, a blog aimed at bringing equality into I.T. by encouraging more women to code. When she is not managing data for research expeditions in some of the most remote places in the word, she is snorkeling with sea turtles and stand-up paddle-boarding.
  • Jessica Minnier is a biostatistician who uses R to help scientists get the most out of their data. She tackles big data from electronic health records to small data from mice, and works with NASA-funded investigators on modeling cardiovascular disease risk. She believes strongly that statistics and data can improve health!
  • An aerospace engineer by training, Jimmy Lin is a CEO and consummate product strategist, having spent 20+ years building, executing, and growing technology solutions for startups and big corporations alike. Jimmy enjoys solving strategic problems and believes data is the foundation for impact-planning.
  • Kathy Joshi is a data mining graduate student, currently working as a data science intern using network analysis to explore how job titles are related. She is the founder of R-Ladies Orlando and is passionate about helping moms get back into careers in tech. Kathy loves to code in R but is also learning python.
  • A high school math and science teacher, Laura Wommack has been a NASA Endeavor fellow, a National Geographic Grosvenor fellow, a Siemens STEM Academy fellow, and a Honeywell Educators Space Academy participant. She has taught in India, Sweden, and Idaho, and is passionate about STEM literacy, rural education, and travel.
  • Technologist, sound designer, and inventor LJ Rich presents on BBC tech show "Click" and gives talks and performances about creativity and future tech. Her synesthesia lets her see sound in color and taste music with every meal. LJ enjoys building musical human/tech interfaces, recreational lockpicking, and sci-fi of any flavor.
  • Luisa Rebull is a professional astronomer at Caltech. One of her jobs is to support NASA's vast public astrophysics infrared and submillimeter data archives at IRSA. These data are accessible to astronomers (both professional and amateur) and the public can also take advantage of these data and tools.
  • Maia Conrado is studying computer science and has a love for both space and data. With experience spanning low-level programming, spatial data science, and technology for social good, Maia aims to make scientific data more accessible to the general public.
  • A sysadmin for the U.S. Government while in the National Guard and now a full-time graduate student, Margaret Schweihs is a trained mathematician, soldier, yogi, and IT nerd who loves using Linux and Python to explore information. Her current projects involve scraping Magic the Gathering deck data from fan sites and data mining her own DNA.
  • María Medina is a computer engineer and mathematician passionate about using data to find patterns and solve problems. Her favorite tools for doing that are R and Python. She's especially interested in sustainable transport and air quality, but loves exploring data of any kind.
  • Mary Jonah wants to use NASA's data to tell stories about her country and all of Africa. She is eager to learn from experienced people in the industry and has volunteered with Tech Needs Girls teaching ladies how to code.
  • Mary van Valkenburg is a Data Science Program Manager and instructor for the inaugural Data Science Bootcamp cohort at a non-profit that seeks to grow the technology workforce in Nashville. She is also a member of R-Ladies Nashville.
  • Matteo Luisi is a physics Ph.D. candidate whose research is focused on how the most massive stars in our galaxy interact with their environment. He loves to solve problems, from a particularly tricky Sudoku to messy telescope data in need of visualization to figuring out the best way to climb a mountain.
  • Melissa MacGregor works in Big Tech, specifically where business, ethics, and storytelling intersect. She is currently finishing her master's degree in business analytics. Her passions include data visualization, data exploration, and good data stewardship.
  • Myra Haider is a future data scientist with huge aspirations to make an impact on this planet (and maybe another if she's lucky!). In the meantime, she is a driven student who spends her time painting, programming, and playing with cats.
  • Nancy Gamelin is an electrical engineer and stay-at-home mom. While at home, she's worked on websites and mobile apps for the iPhone (Objective-C and Swift). She also is interested in data science (R) and more recently has been learning about blockchain technology. In her eyes, there are too many interesting things to do in tech and not enough time!
  • Dr. Parshati Patel is an outreach specialist and a university educator with a Ph.D. in astronomy and planetary science and exploration. She is passionate about engaging youth and the public in STEAM as well as space science and exploration fields.
  • Reem Alattas is a computer science and engineering Ph.D. candidate. Her Ph.D. dissertation focuses on developing evolutionary modular robots for space exploration. Reem is a tech entrepreneur who has started a couple of successful businesses including Rumble Helmet.
  • Riva Quiroga is a linguist who loves data visualization. She's the co-founder of RLadies Santiago and uses R for text analysis. Her day job involves teaching communication skills. One of her main interests is how to convey data insights through storytelling and visualization.
  • Sarah Mestiri is a computer science engineer who loves exploring data and using machine learning to make a positive change. She is particularly interested in marketing, e-Commerce, and public transportation fields. To inspire and encourage women in the tech, she co-founded Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) Tunisia Chapter and has participated in tech talks.
  • Seward Lee is a data scientist in the energy sector and an active participant in the Data for Good movement. As a member of DataKind San Francisco, he is working to combine data science and community organizing to address issues in urban poverty. He is proficient at R and Python.
  • Soumya Kalra is a self-proclaimed data nerd who currently works in the public sector focusing on developing analytics in R. She founded the R-Ladies NYC chapter, which has developed into a close knit community with quality tech talks, a book club, and data dive events.
  • Susan McCall is an optical scientist with a passion for quantifying how light reflections improve ground and space-based applications, like car headlights and space telescopes. She hopes to learn to apply NASA datasets to improve the reproduction of real world items in virtual and simulated VR & AR environments.
  • Dr. Vetria Byrd is as assistant university professor and founder of a workshop designed to broaden participation of women and members of underrepresented groups in the field of visualization. Her research interests include big data visualization, information visualization, and visual analytics.
  • Co-founder of R-Ladies Austin, Victoria Valencia is a health care data enthusiast using R. She has a love of biology, medicine, and public health. She researches health care outcomes that matter to patients and total costs of care. She is committed to utilizing data to get more out of our health care system.
  • Zairah Mustahsan is a computer scientist by background and data scientist by interest. Her projects have focused mostly on social endeavors and aim to build robust predictive systems that bring a positive change in the world.

Learn more about the Spring 2018 Class here: Meet the Spring 2018 Datanauts Class.


We're looking forward to learning from this fifth class and to the shared adventure of seeking knowledge and insights through problem-solving with NASA data. The grand experiment continues...