Introducing the 2015-2016 class of Data & Society fellows

Data & Society is pleased to announce its second class of fellows. Beginning in September this diverse group of researchers and practitioners will pursue individual projects, support one another’s work, and build on the activities of our inaugural class to help develop the Institute and contribute to its research agenda. We’re excited to introduce them – and the range of complex and pressing data and society issues they work on. Without further ado:

Angèle Christin is an ethnographer and a sociologist of culture, technology, and work. She completed her joint PhD in sociology in 2014 at Princeton University and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris). Her dissertation examines the growing influence of audience measurements and algorithms in web journalism in the United States and France. Before that, she published an ethnographic analysis of criminal sentencing in a French court house. At Data & Society, she will be comparing how algorithms transform the daily work practices of judges and journalists. [website]

Diana Freed is a Master’s Candidate in the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program, designing and developing technology in the healthcare space, and a Technologist-in-Residence at Cornell Tech with the Small Data Lab. Her research focuses on user engagement, mobile and small-data collection, and health behavior among people living with chronic conditions. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science and completed postgraduate training at the William Alanson White Institute and The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.

Frank Torres is Microsoft’s Director of Consumer Affairs where he focuses on the intersection of privacy and public policy. Frank will work to advance public understanding of the link between big data and civil rights. He will explore a framework to better understand and address data-driven discrimination. His work will involve collaboration with and convening activists, researchers, policy makers, and community and business leaders.

Karen Levy is a sociologist and lawyer. Her research investigates how digital technologies are used to enforce rules and laws, with particular focus on the normalization of electronic surveillance within social and organizational relationships. Her dissertation examined the emergence of electronic monitoring in the U.S. trucking industry. Karen is a research fellow at NYU’s Information Law Institute. She holds a PhD from Princeton University and a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. [website]

Mark Latonero is a professor and research director at the USC Annenberg School’s Center on Communication Leadership & Policy and runs its Technology and Human Trafficking Initiative. Mark will be leading Data & Society’s initiative on data, development, and human rights. This program will advance the empirically-driven research needed to understand the risks and benefits of data sharing across sectors, data on vulnerable populations, and other data-centric approaches to prosocial change. [website]

Martha Poon is interested in how data-intensive systems are changing the public’s relationship to finance. She is a social scientist who researches and writes about the impact of credit scoring technology on consumer access to credit. Martha will be developing strategies for investigating, explaining, and communicating the role of information systems in financial innovation.

Mimi Onuoha is an artist and researcher using data and code to explore social and cultural issues. She will be combining ethnographic research methods with emerging data practices to investigate potential strategies for DIY and crowdsourced data collection. Her particular focus is on the creation of datasets that represent social structures and experiences that are rarely quantified (e.g., discrimination, harassment), with the aim of empowering users and supporting data journalism efforts. [website]

Natasha Singer is a technology reporter at The New York Times where she explores the intersection of data and society, with a particular focus on education, health, and behavioral advertising. She also writes a monthly column, called Technophoria, for the Sunday Business section. She will develop a taxonomy of educational data, identifying the types of information that schools and ed tech companies collect about prekindergarten through twelfth-grade students; the primary and secondary uses of that data; how those details are analyzed and disseminated; and the outcomes of those analyses. [website]

Noel A. Hidalgo, Executive Director of BetaNYC, will focus on empowering community-based organizations, NYC’s Community Boards, and government employees to understand how data, tools, and culture are unified in today’s civic hacking ethos. The ultimate goal is to develop a workshop that establishes a free, modular, and reusable curriculum that demystifies government and empowers communities interested in civic technology, data, and design. [website]

Sorelle Friedler is an assistant professor of computer science at Haverford College. Her current research focuses on ways to prevent machine learning algorithms from discriminating by replicating prejudicial decisions and formalizing notions of fairness across disciplines. She will also be working with lawyers and policymakers to communicate the risks of such automated decisions and the potential benefits of ensuring computational fairness. [website]

Surya Mattu is an artist and engineer critical of the public perception and access to wireless spectrums. He works for Bell Labs and is a research fellow at ITP/NYU. His research will focus on the technology and politics surrounding the radio frequency spectrum (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GSM) and how it can be used for tracking devices and people. He will develop empowering open source tools and investigate how data is leaked and exploited in order to better direct cultural conversations surrounding these invisible yet powerful networks. [website]

Wilneida Negrón is a scholar-activist who will explore frameworks for developing innovative forms of data-driven civil justice triage. She will collaborate with civil rights groups, researchers, technologists, and activists to inspire thinking about how data, technology, and community partnerships can work together to identify individual and community civil justice risks and identify best practices for creating pipelines to promote data sharing among different players. Wilneida is a PhD Candidate at the City University of New York–Graduate Center. [website]