February 2, 2023 – Learning Lab is pleased to announce the empaneled selection committee for our latest funding opportunity, Grand Challenge: Building Critical Mass in Data Science. This grant opportunity aims to promote the buildout of a data science educational infrastructure that will further educate and engage faculty, mobilize intersegmental collaboration, and create both clarity and plenty in the options students can pursue for their interests and future careers.
Together, the selection committee brings decades of pedagogical and curricular experience from teaching within all three California public higher education segments. Their collective professional backgrounds broadly represent multiple disciplines within STEM fields and industries such as data science, geography, biology, physiology, computer science, mathematics, statistics, and learning science. Their work has been firmly rooted in developing and implementing innovative programming and teaching strategies that promote student equity, pathways development, faculty development, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
College of the Canyons
Kathy Kubo is a Mathematics Instructor at College of the Canyons.
Professor Kubo helped create the college’s redesigned statistics pathway and led a faculty training program to dramatically scale the number of sections offered. Canyons’ statistics pathway was honored by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, and in 2015, the Campaign for College Opportunity recognized Professor Kubo for her leadership in transforming developmental mathematics at the community college level. In 2021, the college won a national Bellwether Award for the work she and her colleagues helped lead to develop its innovative approach to assessment and course sequence redesign in English and mathematics.
Professor Kubo participated in a National Science Foundation grant on statistics education, worked with Stanford University’s Open Learning Initiative to revise their Concepts of Statistics courseware, and was a writing team member for the American Statistical Association (ASA) Two-Year College Data Science Summit. She was selected as a 2019 Fellow for the ASA Section on Statistics and Data Science Education Fellowship Program for High School and Two-Year College Teachers. Professor Kubo worked with the California Acceleration Project and coordinated the Chancellor’s Office Statistics Institute, introducing best practices in pedagogy for teaching introductory statistics at the community college level.
She holds a master’s degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs
Professor, Computer Science
Dr. Leonard serves as the Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs at Occidental College. In this role, she provides administrative oversight, stewardship, and overall management of the College’s curriculum, including the Core Program, the College Writing Program, and the College’s majors and minors. Additionally, Dr. Leonard serves as Professor of Computer Science. Prior to Occidental College, Leonard was an Associate Professor of Mathematics at CSU Channel Islands.
Dr. Leonard has a long history with undergraduate research, most recently culminating in a $1.4 million NSF grant to fund the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics, which she directs. Other research interests include mathematical modeling for computer graphics, computer vision, and other data science applications. Dr. Leonard has extensive background in increasing representation in the computational sciences, particularly for minoritized genders, including significant work with the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), where, among other roles, she is currently President. She has organized several workshops and conferences to highlight and promote women’s work and engaged with multiple initiatives to promote diversity.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Science and Ph.D. from Brown University.
Executive Director, Data Science Academy
North Carolina State University
Dr. Rachel Levy is the inaugural leader of the Data Science Academy (DSA) at North Carolina State University (NCSU). She incubates data science research partnerships within NC State, across North Carolina and beyond, led development of the DSA’s ADAPT course model (All-Campus Data Science Accessible Project Based Teaching and Learning), and communicates about data science with national and international audiences.
Prior to joining NC State, Dr. Levy was an American Mathematical Society Congressional Policy Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She previously served as deputy executive director and staff principal investigator at the Mathematical Association of America, as well as associate dean for faculty development at Harvey Mudd College.
Dr. Levy has received funding from government grants, foundations and private donations to enable her research in applied mathematics, education, and professional development. She has developed professional networks, written numerous publications, taught as an interdisciplinary educator, and has sparked national and international cooperation in education policy.
She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in mathematics and English from Oberlin College, a Master of Arts in educational media and instructional design from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in applied mathematics from NC State.
Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education
Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope
Dr. Kelly Mack is the Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education and Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). In this capacity, Dr. Mack provides leadership for the organization’s mission level commitments to quality and inclusion in STEM through the delivery of world class professional development that is aimed at empowering our nation’s STEM faculty and administrators to competitively educate and retain more STEM students. Prior to joining AAC&U, Dr. Mack was the Senior Program Director for the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program while on loan from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore where, as a Professor of Biology, she taught courses in Physiology and Endocrinology for 17 years.
Dr. Mack’s holistic approach to STEM reform is grounded in a strategic vision that foregrounds inclusion as an immutable factor for achieving excellence in undergraduate STEM education. Her leadership in STEM reform has led to: significant increases in the capacity of STEM faculty to implement culturally responsive pedagogies, major shifts in the ways in which leadership development for STEM faculty is delivered, and the expansion of both physical and virtual convening platforms for knowledge generation, exchange, and dissemination.
Recognized as a national thought leader in higher education, Dr. Mack’s work has been highlighted in Diverse Magazine and U.S. News and World Report. Currently, she is an advisor to several institutional transformation initiatives at NSF-funded ADVANCE institutions and is a member of the National Academies Roundtable on Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education and the Howard University School of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors. She is also co-founder and chair of the board of the Society of STEM Women of Color, Inc., and has served as member of numerous board and national committees.
Dr. Mack earned the BS degree in Biology from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and, later, the PhD from Howard University in Physiology. She has had extensive training and experience in the area of cancer research with her research efforts focusing primarily on the use of novel antitumor agents in breast tumor cells, as well as the use of bioflavonoids in the regulation of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast tumor cell proliferation. Most recently, her research efforts have examined STEM leadership development and the impact of mindfulness on STEM faculty self-efficacy.
Associate Professor, Department of Geography
Associate Director, Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA)
Faculty Member, Big Data Analytics program
San Diego State University
Dr. Atsushi Nara is an Associate Professor of Geography, Associate Director of the Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age, and Faculty Member of the Big Data Analytics program at San Diego State University.
Dr. Nara’s research interests are in Geographic Information Science, spatiotemporal data analytics, modeling behavioral geography and complex urban-social systems, and geocomputation. He has the depth of experience and technical expertise in data collection, data integration, database management, sensor technologies, and software development for conducting transdisciplinary GIScience research. He employs data analytics, simulation models, and GIS to study human dynamics, movement behaviors, location-based social networks and their contexts applied to urban dynamics, evacuation and disaster responses, public health, and system management in a complex hospital setting. Dr. Nara contributes to the research and development of a school-to-college curriculum pathway in geocomputation education that accounts for the diverse aspirations and job prospects of students. Dr. Nara also contributes to the development of an open data center and health science knowledge repository for the SDSU HealthLINK Center.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Shimane University, a Master of Science from University of Utah, and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University.
Associate Professor of Teaching
Dr. Bob Pelayo is an Associate Professor of Teaching and currently serves as Vice Chair for Undergraduate Studies in the UC Irvine Mathematics department. His primary responsibilities and professional interests include novel curriculum development at both the college and high school levels.
Dr. Pelayo is involved with several grants focused on pedagogical and curricular interventions; in particular, he is the Principal Investigator on the California Learning Lab-funded BioCalculus Preparation, Engagement, and Application (BioCalc PEA) program. Dr. Pelayo also has a leadership role in the development of the new AP Precalculus course and exam. Prior to joining UC Irvine, Dr. Pelayo founded the Data Science program at his previous institution, the University of Hawai`i at Hilo. He also serves as the faculty advisor for the UC Irvine Mathematics department’s Data Science concentration and is a Co-Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation-funded Southern California Data Science Fellowship program.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Psychology from Occidental College and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology.
Dr. Candace Thille is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education and in the Neurosciences Interdepartmental Program at Stanford University. She is the faculty director for workplace learning, Stanford Accelerator for Learning.
Previously, Dr. Thille was Amazon’s director of learning science and the founding director of the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) at Carnegie Mellon University and at Stanford University. Her work is in applying the results from research in the science of learning to the design and evaluation of technology mediated learning environments and in using those environments to conduct research at the intersection of human and machine learning. Dr. Thille serves on the board of directors for ETS and has served on the board of directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities; as a fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education; on the Assessment 2020 Task Force of the American Board of Internal Medicine; on the advisory council for the Association of American Universities STEM initiative; and on the advisory council for the National Science Foundation Directorate for Education and Human Resources. She served on the working group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) that produced the Engage to Excel report and on the U.S. Department of Education working groups, co-authoring the 2010 and 2015 National Education Technology Plans.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley; a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University, and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.