Introducing The First Class Of Data Fellows

Chosen from more than 135 applications from 19 countries, our eight Data Fellows are exceptional data leaders from nonprofits, social enterprises, and government offices.

We’re excited to announce’s inaugural class of Data Fellows. Chosen from more than 135 applications from 19 countries, our eight Data Fellows are exceptional data leaders from nonprofits, social enterprises, and government offices. Here are our fellows:

Nicki Anselmo
Cesar Chavez Multicultural Academic Center

Nyi Nyi Aye
Koe Koe Tech

William Bowser
Hello Tractor

Bonnie Fan
Chicago Transit Authority

Rebeca Moreno Jimenez
UNHCR — UN Refugee Agency

Nick Lucius
City of Chicago

Catherine Ojo

Dan Wei
Carbon Lighthouse

The Data Fellows Program is a 4-month fellowship designed to connect data leaders at non-profits, foundations, and social enterprises to experts, mentors, and peers in data science. Fellows identify a project inside their organizations to work on during the fellowship.

The fellowship then begins with a week in Chicago where fellows meet with their mentors and get to work. They are matched with data scientists, software engineers, and industry specific experts on the Uptake team who have volunteered their time. Through a series of workshops, fellows learn tangible skills in data science, such as building predictive models in R, using Shiny in creating visualizations, and leveraging sensor technology and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to collect data. The workshops are taught by Uptakers and outside experts, and fellows will be engaging in brainstorming sessions throughout the week, diving deep into advice experts give in solving issues at their organizations through data insights. Besides networking with Uptakers, Fellows will connect with like-minded data for good professionals in the Chicago community throughout the week.

Uptake mentors will support the fellows for four months as they work on their project, checking in weekly with each other to track progress. The fellowship concludes with a gathering in Chicago where fellows demo and celebrate their work.

Of the eight Data Fellows, five are women, three are working for local organizations in Uptake’s hometown of Chicago, and four are from organizations working internationally–from Nigeria to Myanmar. Our fellows have a variety of quantitative skillsets and positions at their organizations. They are data scientists, data engineers, research leads, data analysts, and as one of our fellows calls herself, “data geeks.” These fellows work across the social sector– transportation, health, education, energy, local government, agriculture, and even, refugee rights.

The insights that our fellows gain from data are invaluable to advancing justice and economic mobility in our world. By advancing predictive analytics at her organization, Rebeca Moreno Jiminez, the Data Lab Manager at The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), hopes to build a predictive model for forced displacement of refugees during the span of her fellowship. Nicki Anselmo, the Director of Data and Technology at Cesar Chavez Multicultural Academic Center, has the goal of building a visualization tool for students, teachers, and administrators to better understand how prepared students are for entering and succeeding in Chicago’s top high schools.

With mentorship from Uptake’s team and support from data science leaders during the course of the Fellowship period, aims to accelerate progress at each of the fellows’ organizations, greatly impacting their social good. Harnessing the power of our people and data insight, we are equipping those at the frontline as they tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. is Uptake’s philanthropic and civic innovation arm. Interested in learning more? Visit to learn more.