NASA is thrilled to welcome three of 27 Third Round Presidential Innovation Fellows. The Fellows (also known as PIFs) are working on three types on innovation challenges: 1) 21st Century Veterans Experience, 2) Data Innovation, and 3) Crowdsourcing. Dan Hammer will join our office (Office of the Chief Information Officer) to work data innovation projects to support our open gov/open data efforts. Lea Shanley will join Jason Kessler in the Office of the Chief Technologist to help with Asteroid Grand Challenge crowdsourcing efforts. Jeff Chen will join Michael Goodman and Curt Tilmes in the Science Mission Directorate to work on data innovation to support the Climate Data Initiative.


Orientation began last week. Agency partners were invited to attend the swearing in ceremony and tag along with the PIFs during some of the orientation sessions. I was privileged to attend some of the training sessions. Along with our new NASA PIFs, I also met Sara Brooks and Andrea Ippolito, who will join Veterans Administration; Tyrone Grandison, who joins the Department of Labor; Maia Hansen, going to NOAA; and Tim Jones, who joins Energy. I look forward to meeting all the PIFs over the coming year, and to the innovation magic they will create in partnership with the agencies they represent.

Meet our NASA Fellows:

Dan Hammer

Economist + Data Scientist from San Francisco, CA

Data Innovation // NASA Office of the Chief Information Officer


Dan is an economist and data scientist. He was the Chief Data Scientist at the World Resources Institute, where he launched Global Forest Watch in partnership with Google, USAID, and many others. Dan is on leave from a PhD program at UC Berkeley, advised by Max Auffhammer and George Judge. Dan cofounded SpaceKnow and helps to organize the annual EcoHack conference alongside CartoDB. He teaches math at San Quentin State Prison as a lead instructor with the Prison University Project. Dan graduated with high honors in economics and mathematics from Swarthmore College, where he was a Lang Scholar. He spent a full year building and racing Polynesian outrigger canoes in the South Pacific as a Watson Fellow. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, where he is fortunate to work with his dearest friends.
Jeff Chen

Data Scientist and Policy Expert from Bronxville, NY

Data Innovation // NASA Earth Science


Jeff is a data scientist and policy expert committed to re-imagining the role of data innovation for smart government. While serving the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) as the Director of Analytics, he led the algorithmic design of FireCast, a pioneering machine learning initiative leveraging big data to predict and target inspections to buildings with the greatest fire risk. He also launched FDNY’s Open Data Initiative, which led to the establishment of an analytics advisory board, creation of a beta testing data dive program, and development of a data release roadmap. Prior to FDNY, he served the NYC Mayor’s Office during the Bloomberg Administration handling a large portfolio ranging from data-driven response during Hurricane Sandy to predicting lawsuit outcomes. Jeff holds a BA in Economics from Tufts University and an MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences from Columbia University. He lives in Bronxville, NY with his wife.
Lea Shanley

Geospatial Data Scientist + Policy Expert from Madison, WI

Crowdsourcing // NASA Office of Chief Technology Officer


Lea Shanley is a Presidential Innovation Fellow working on Crowdsourcing to Improve Government at NASA. Trained as a geospatial data scientist and policy expert, her research has focused on improving government services and empowering communities through open and participatory innovation, new technologies and social media. Previously, she directed the Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Wilson Center. She is one of the chief organizers and co-founders of the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, a groundbreaking effort to enable federal agencies to engage the public in collective problem solving. In 2009, Lea was an AAAS Congressional Science Fellow in the U.S. Senate, crafting legislation on satellite Earth observations, oceans, and hazards. Lea also helped launch the new Citizen Science Association and Wisconsin Geographic Information Coordination Council. She conducted her PhD research in Environmental Monitoring at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and holds an MS in astronomy and BS in physics.


For more information, please see the following:

About Beth

Open Innovation Program Manager

NASA Headquarters