Protecting the Planet to Help Communities Thrive
April 15, 2016

As part of National Volunteer Week this month, we are profiling our DataCorps volunteers of projects past, present and future. These volunteers donate a whopping 5-10 hours a week over the course of several months to apply data science techniques that can help advance a social change organization's mission.

"Ensuring the health and sustainability of natural ecosystems and benefits to people is a monumental task. In order to do this effectively, we need evidence upon which to base critical decisions on how to achieve beneficial outcomes for nature and people. However, finding this evidence is an equally large and time-consuming task. We are thrilled to be working with such a fantastic and cutting edge group of data science volunteers who are passionate about using modern technology to provide much needed tools for conservation decision-making. The data automation tools they are developing will be critical to facilitating conservation organizations world-wide. Thanks Caitlin, Bob, Burton and Sam!"
- Madeleine McKinnon, Senior Director, Monitoring & Evaluation at Conservation International

Conservation International believes that people need nature to thrive, which is why they are working to ensure a healthy, productive planet for everyone. While much research exists on the link between environmental conservation and human development, it's difficult as a nonprofit with limited resources to cull through this wealth of information. A team of DataCorps volunteers will be working with Conservation International to use various data collection and natural language processing techniques to acquire, classify, and extract information from conservation research. By automating what would would otherwise be a time-consuming process for staff, Conservation International will have access to much more information to make decisions and allocate resources to ultimately improve human development through environmental conservation.

Meet The Team

"The ability to combine an area of expertise you are passionate about with helping the world is a fantastic feeling and is very rewarding."

Bob Minnich
Bob Minnich is a graduate student in the Data Science program at Columbia University. He has spent his career as an engineer and program manager within healthcare and decided to further pursue his technical passions in data science.

"DataKind provides an opportunity to use my skills to make the world a better place. Also, Pete is very persuasive."

Burton DeWilde
Burton DeWilde is a data scientist at Chartbeat working on data pipelines, product visions, and NLP. His background is in particle physics and media research.

Caitlin Augustin is the Data Analytics & Research Scientist at Kaplan.

Sam Anzaroot is a data scientist at Dataminr.


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