The Centre’s inaugural class of Data Fellows included Abdulaziz Al-Homaid, Haoyun Su, Laith Ulaby, and Manu Singh. The Fellows each had a unique focus on one of the following areas: data storytelling, data science, predictive analytics and user experience research. They were based at the Centre in The Hague in June and July 2018.

Watch the video to hear more from the Data Fellows themselves.

The Fellows began their work by framing a clear problem statement that will form the basis of a project to be undertaken over the course of the fellowship. They conducted desk and user research before developing at least one working prototype related to their focus area. The Fellows produced a final report outlining the key insights and recommendations for taking the work forward.

Support for the first class of Fellows was provided as part of the OCHA partnership with, inter alia, the Education Above All Foundation, that works to improve access to quality education for vulnerable and marginalized people in the developing world.


Programme Leadership

The Fellows were guided in their work by two Senior Data Fellows. Stuart Campo led the overall programme while Jennifer Chan provided day-to-day mentorship and conducted her own research in support of the Centre’s goals. Read Part I of Stuart’s blog series reflecting on the design of the inaugural Data Fellows Programme. Then in Part II, he shares lessons learned as well as a look ahead to 2019.


Stuart Campo, Programme Lead and Senior Data Fellow

Stuart leads the Data Fellows Programme including programme design, curriculum development and oversight of deliverables. He has been with the Centre since early 2018. Stuart also works as a Researcher with the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, where he conducts translational research on humanitarian technologies, standards and ethics. Prior to joining Signal, Stuart served as the Senior Innovation Deployment Specialist with UNICEF’s Global Innovation Center, where he supported the design and activation of technological and social innovation initiatives in over 35 countries. He studied Politics at Princeton University, and is currently based in Rotterdam.

Jennifer Chan, Senior Data Fellow

Jennifer has worked and collaborated with NGOs and UN agencies for over 10 years as a public health specialist, deputy of health operations, humanitarian data specialist, and most recently advisor to humanitarian organizations. She helped build the NetHope Crisis Informatics Program during the West Africa Ebola response and has supported that Program’s development since 2014. She is the co-author of Disaster Relief 2.0, a report that described the challenges and future of information sharing and technology after the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Jennifer is also a practicing emergency medicine physician and assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, with various faculty affiliations. She holds a Doctorate of Medicine degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University.

2018 Data Fellows

Abdulaziz Al-Homaid, Data Science Fellow

Abdulaziz was most recently a researcher with the Qatar Computing Research Institute in Doha, where he worked on analysis and prediction of city-wide vehicle traffic. He has eight years of programming experience. Abdulaziz has a Master of Science in Data Science and Engineering from Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.

As part of his fellowship, Abdulaziz focused on tracking education data to create a star schema for a meta-dataset. Read his blog post here.


Haoyun Su, Data Storytelling Fellow

Haoyun is a data reporter and designer based in Shanghai, China. For the past five years, she has been wrangling with data in newsrooms, including The Paper, Indianapolis Star and USA Today. Haoyun earned her Master’ s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia , where she also worked as a research assistant for Investigative Reporters and Editors, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the quality of investigative reporting.

As Data Storytelling Fellow, see how Haoyun used her journalism expertise to humanize data points and tell important stories about displaced people here.


Laith Ulaby, User Experience Research Fellow

Laith most recently worked for Uber in San Francisco where he led research teams for several product areas. He has six years of experience in user research working for a startup, Google, and at a consultancy. Prior to this, he led projects for a policy institute, non-profits, and US government agencies. Laith received his PhD from UCLA in Ethnomusicology (ethnographic research of music and popular culture) and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan.

During Laith’s fellowship, he focused on improving HDX onboarding. See his findings and a list of strategic opportunities in his blog post here.

Manu Singh, Predictive Analytics Fellow

Manu is a Research Specialist at Princeton University at the Empirical Studies of Conflict Lab. She has over four years of experience with advanced statistical and quantitative analysis. She holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University in Applied Statistics with a Data Science concentration (Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences).

In her blog post following her fellowship, Manu explored ways machine learning and statistical modeling can make crisis response faster, cheaper and better.