2019 Data Fellows Programme

The 2019 class of Data Fellows included Ghadeer Abuoda, Gagan Narula, Blair Palmer and Dani Poole. The Fellows each had a unique focus on one of the following areas: data science (education), statistics (disability), business strategy and predictive analytics. They were based at the Centre in The Hague in June and July 2019.

The Centre’s 2019 Class of Data Fellows was supported through a partnership with, inter alia, the Education Above All Foundation that is a global foundation working to improve access to quality education for​ disadvantaged people.

2019 Programme Leadership

The Fellows were guided in their work by Stuart Campo, who led the overall programme. Professor Kirsten Gelsdorf  provided mentorship to the Fellows throughout the summer in her capacity as a Senior Fellow. Read this blog for lessons learned in the first two years of the Programme.


Stuart Campo, Programme Lead and Senior Data Fellow

Stuart manages the Data Fellows Programme and is the Team Lead for Data Policy at the Centre for Humanitarian Data. He has over ten years of experience working in the humanitarian and development sectors, with a focus on the safe, effective, and ethical use of technology, data, and social innovation methods. Stuart has worked in over 35 countries, including extended field postings in Kenya, Madagascar, South Sudan, and Uganda. Prior to joining OCHA, Stuart served as a Researcher on Standards and Ethics with the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and in a variety of global and country-level roles related to technology and innovation management with UNICEF. 


Kirsten Gelsdorf, Senior Fellow

Kirsten is a Professor of Practice of Public Policy, and Director of Global Humanitarian Policy at the University of Virginia. Kirsten has 20 years of experience working in the humanitarian sector; most recently as the Chief of the Policy Analysis and Innovation at the United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Her career includes supporting operational humanitarian responses in Ethiopia, South Africa, Liberia, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Timor-Leste.  She also served as a humanitarian advisor to President Clinton in his role as the UN Special Envoy for Haiti and as a policy advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the global food crisis in 2008. She is the co-author, with Daniel Maxwell of Understanding the Humanitarian World (Routledge Press, 2019).

2019 Data Fellows

Ghadeer Abuoda, Data Science Fellow (Education)

Ghadeer is a PhD candidate at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Qatar. The focus of her research is graph analytics and machine learning. She is also an intern at the Data Analytics group at Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) working on research projects in machine learning and graph databases. Before this, she was a teaching assistant at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), Palestine, where she earned her Master’s degree in the domain of text mining and topic modeling. She worked as a software engineer for three years after completing her B.S. degree in Information Technology. Ghadeer is a Palestinian national.

As part of her fellowship, she wrote a blog on “Using Data Science To Improve Dataset Tagging On HDX.”


Gagan Narula, Statistics Fellow (Disability)

Gagan is a post-doctoral researcher working at the Neurocritical Care Unit at the University Hospital Zurich. His current research focus is on time series forecasting and unsupervised learning in physiological signals. Gagan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and a PhD in Neuroscience from the Institute of Neuroinformatics, ETH Zurich. He has over five years of experience in statistical analysis, cognitive science and machine learning. Gagan is an Indian national.

Read about Gagan’s advanced statistical analysis on disability data.


Blair Palmer, Business Strategy Fellow

For over 17 years, Blair Palmer has leveraged her knowledge of technological innovations, project implementation, corporate responsibility, stakeholder engagement, and social enterprises to empower global health programs. She currently helps facilitate partnerships and programs for UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, and is tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that strengthen UNICEF’s work.  She is responsible for sourcing new projects and ideas to connect Silicon Valley with the international development and humanitarian landscape. Blair holds a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s in Public Health from Yale University with a concentration in epidemiology and infectious diseases where she was nominated for a Fulbright Scholarship to Zimbabwe. Blair is an American national.

For the fellowship, Blair produced a framework for assessing prospective partners.


Dani Poole, Predictive Analytics Fellow

Dani is a Researcher with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, where she applies quantitative methods with a social justice approach to measure and address health disparities among forced migrant populations. She has over a decade of experience leading research programs in Greece, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, South Africa, and Turkey, as well as the United States. Dani has a Doctor of Science degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health degree from Brown University. Dani is an American national.

Read Dani’s blog, “From Analytics To Action: The Need For Peer Review.”


2018 Data Fellows Programme

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.

2018 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.