Meet Nick, our Data Science Manager
November 11, 2015

At DataKind, we harness the power of data science in the service of humanity by bringing together teams of data scientists with social change organizations on projects designed to move the needle on tough social issues like poverty alleviation, public health, human rights and more. 

The mechanics behind those two seemingly simple words, "bringing together," are critical for our work and no small task. From problem discovery to project scoping, the process of defining a project and ensuring it leads to impact requires significant subject matter expertise, project management experience and communication skills to translate across sectors. We are thrilled to welcome someone to the team that brings all these skills and more.

Nick Eng hails from the hallowed halls of the University of Chicago's Data Science for Social Good program and we are honored to now call him a DataKinder. 

Learn more about Nick below and send him some Twitter well-wishes @nick_eng


What were you up to before you came to DataKind?

Before DataKind, I was a Data Scientist and Partner Development Manager over at the Center for Data Science and Public Policy. There, and as a fellow for their Data Science for Social Good program, I worked on initiatives like developing new strategies to reduce maternal mortality in Mexico, developing early warning indicators for adverse police interactions, and creating a system for proactive blight reduction for the city of Cincinnati.
Prior to that I was a management consultant in analytics and led analytics at an education technology startup. So you could say I've been slowly moving more and more (and more!) towards harnessing data and data science for good.

How did you hear about DataKind?

Oh man, is everywhere an acceptable answer? From friends who have pointed me to DataKind due to the awesome work we've done, to seeing DataKind present at conferences like KDD, I've run into DataKind all over. It's great to finally be part of the team!

Tell us about your role - what will you be working on?

I'll be helping to scope and manage projects for our programs team. I'll be figuring out how we can get more projects up and running, how we can reach even more awesome partner organizations, and how we can generate the most impact through our projects. And in addition, tackling how we can scale our model to our communities, and other organizations, so we can continue to grow this data-for-good space.

What advice do you have for someone just getting started with data science?

I'm sure this gets said a lot, but find an interesting project and just jump in! Data science is such a large field, with so many concepts, tools, algorithms, and whatever else that you'll probably drive yourself crazy just trying to study everything behind a book. And real-world data is so messy that there isn't a better way to learn than to just immerse yourself in the mud pit. Plus coding = fun.

What blogs or articles do you love reading to stay up to date?

My Feedly subscription list is waaaaay way too long. If I had to pick, I think DataTau and Data Science Weekly, are great aggregators of resources. In terms of actual blogs / articles, I think Yhat's blog, Andrew Gelman's blog, Trey Causey's blog, and John Foreman's blog / book are always great resources.

When you’re not busy using data science to change the world, what do you like to do in your free time?

Board games, Netflix, Podcasts, and my Kindle are some of my favorite things! And anything active is usually a winner in my book--climbing, soccer, running, parkour (okay I'm actually not flexible enough for that. But it would be super cool to be on American Ninja Warrior, right?). One day, one day, I'll finally do that triathlon I've been meaning to do!
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