Image displaying Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is important to UC San Diego Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute.  We seek to establish and enhance the institute’s commitment to diversity at every level, from undergraduate and graduate to faculty, research, administration, and partnerships. Diversity in all forms—thought, experience, and identity—fosters and encourages new ideas and perspectives and promotes institutional excellence.

While great strides have been made in each of these domains, ensuring that underrepresented campus community members in data science, and interested in data science, continue to receive equitable representation and opportunities is a continuing effort. 

HDSI has created a DEI Committee that works to create a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive environment that facilitates growth for all students, faculty, and staff. Through the collaborative efforts of faculty and student members, we are committed to supporting and promoting the safety, well-being, and success of all in our community.

DEI Committee responsibilities

  • Provide guidance to leadership on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion among faculty, staff, and students through education and outreach, as well as recruitment, selection, promotion, and retention
  • Make recommendations to leadership on defining our strategic goals in regards to DEI 
  • Design, implement, maintain, and improve the DEI infrastructure 
  • Collecting, analyzing and reporting metrics to hold ourselves accountable to our goals

HDSI DEI related resources


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Advising, Resources, and Events

Campus DEI related resources

Photo of Saura Naderi

Saura Naderi

K-14 Outreach Director

Saura Naderi ‘07 earned her engineering degree from UC San Diego Jacobs School just as the recession hit. Not satisfied by the opportunities available to her, she created her own. She volunteered, later becoming an employee, to create a program at UC San Diego where undergraduates and K-12 students could play and explore science and technology with art-themed engineering-based projects.…

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Virginia de Sa

Professor, HDSI Associate Director

Associate Director de Sa is a leader in the fields of cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, engineering, and data science. Her research utilizes multiple approaches to increase our understanding of  how humans and machines learn to perceive the world around them.

She earned her Ph.D. and master’s in Computer Science from the University of Rochester, and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Engineering from Canada’s Queen’s University.

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Shannon Ellis

Assistant Teaching Professor

Shannon Ellis is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Cognitive Science and HDSI at UC San Diego. She obtained her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her primary focus at UC San Diego is to foster and promote data science education. To this end, she teaches undergraduate programming and data science courses and pursues projects that help provide access and educational materials to individuals who have historically lacked access to an education in data science.

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Bobby Gordon

Marketing & Communications Director

Bobby serves as the Institute’s Marketing & Communications Strategist. Before joining UC San Diego, he served higher education in a variety of marketing and strategic administrative roles at Arizona State University, University of Arizona, University of Akron, Kent State University and University of Phoenix. He serves as a professional consultant and volunteer in higher education and non-profit sectors, and also is a professional speaker.…

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Rob Knight

Founding Director, Center for Microbiome Innovation; Professor, Pediatrics and Computer Science & Engineering

Rob Knight is the founding Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation and Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, and Computer Science & Engineering at UC San Diego. He was honored with the 2019 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for his microbiome research and received the 2017 Massry Prize, often considered a predictor of the Nobel. His work has linked microbes to a range of health conditions including obesity and inflammatory bowel disease, has enhanced our understanding of microbes in environments ranging from the oceans to the tundra, and made high-throughput sequencing techniques accessible to thousands of researchers around the world.…

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Arun Kumar

Assistant Professor, HDSI Faculty Fellow

Kumar is a member of the Database Lab and Center for Networked Systems and an affiliate member of the AI Group, specializing in artificial intelligence. Systems and ideas based on his research have been released as part of the MADlib open-source library, shipped as part of products from EMC, Oracle, Cloudera, and IBM, and used internally by Facebook, LogicBlox, Microsoft, and other companies.…

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Gal Mishne

Assistant Professor

Mishne’s research is at the intersection of signal processing and machine learning for graph-based modeling, processing and analysis of large-scale high-dimensional real-world data. She develops unsupervised and generalizable methods that allow the data to reveal its own story in an unbiased manner. Her research includes anomaly detection and clustering in remote sensing imagery, manifold learning on multiway data tensors with biomedical applications, and computationally efficient application of spectral methods.…

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Erik Mjoen

Industry Relations Manager

As Industry Relations Manager, Erik focuses on building partnerships and collaboration between industry and the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute, with an emphasis on Research & Innovation, Recruitment, Continued Learning, and Leadership.

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Dimitris Politis

Distinguished Professor, HDSI Associate Director

Associate Director Politis is an internationally known scholar in mathematics and economics, working on time series, bootstrap methods, and nonparametric estimation, and a researcher with authorship of more than 100 journal papers and monographs.

Politis earned his Ph.D. in statistics from Stanford University, and dual masters’ degrees from Stanford in statistics and mathematics. He also holds a master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in computer and systems engineering, and his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from University of Patras in Greece.