Meet Team Panda...

Team Panda

Cal Al-Dhubaib

CEO, AI Strategist

Nicole Ponstingle McCaffrey

Chief People & Marketing Officer

Carlin D.T. Jackson

Director, Platform Partnerships

Kathlyn Aisha Kay

Operations Manager

Keith McCormick

Data Science Executive in Residence

Nick Napier

Machine Learning Specialist

Bob Wood

Data Science Consultant

Merilys Huhn, JD

Data Science Consultant

Niki Agrawal

Data Science Consultant

Keith McCormick

Data Science Executive in Residence

I grew up in Rhode Island and studied in nearby Massachusetts at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I changed college major several times, to the great frustration of my Army scholarship commander and my professors. But the mix of computer science, psychology, and philosophy have served me well in my analytics career. I reallocated to N. Carolina, where I still live, to pursue a Ph.D. in psychometrics. Life took a turn, and I ended up teaching SPSS statistics and machine learning software instead. More than ten years later, when IBM bought SPSS Inc., the emphasis shifted to consulting. During that same period, I spent a couple of years managing the analytics team at an IBM partner. The conference circuit introduced me to the team at Pandata and our shared philosophies regarding responsible AI. I immediately knew that I wanted to collaborate. I appear to share the travel bug with Pandata’s CEO Cal. 60 countries and counting.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: As a young kid, a good friend mentioned that he wanted to be an architect. I think a relative of his was. I didn’t even know what it was, but I became and remained fascinated. When I travel, I go out of my way to visit homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I’ve always thought that good design, including machine learning models, should be both practical and beautiful.

Carlin Jackson

Carlin D.T. Jackson

Director, Platform Partnerships

After attended Cleveland Heights-University Heights Schools from K-12, the decision to “come down the hill” and matriculate to Case Western Reserve University was easy! At CWRU I was able to continue on with childhood passions ranging from tinkering with electronics to various entrepreneurial “schemes”. Accordingly, as an undergraduate Stokes Scholar, I majored in Computer Science and minored in Finance, Mathematics, and Management. Afterwards, I earned a MS Finance degree from CWRU’s Weatherhead School of Management. Since then, I have founded and operated Theo. Wyes David, Ltd., through which I partner with businesses and entrepreneurs (like Pandata!) to help them bring new ideas into fruition and accelerate innovation within existing operations. When not working, I love to spend time with my family, volunteer with my Church, read (mostly non-fiction), play basketball, ride my bike, and swim.”

What I wanted to be when I grew up: As a highly curious and inquisitive child, I always thought Warren Buffet’s life was cool; you get to spend all your time researching, investing in, and influencing so many different companies and industries. And if you are good at it, the opportunities to do so become increasingly amazing/life-changing!

Nick Napier

Machine Learning Specialist

Spending the early years of my life growing up in Florida, I was able to witness numerous Space Shuttle Launches. These experiences cultivated an early passion for flight and science where I would later attend University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and obtain a MS in Aerospace Engineering. While attending college, my interest in machine learning was found via robotics and has turned into an unstoppable passion. This has led me to explore work in the areas of anomaly prediction in behavioral psychology, large scale graph optimization, deep learning for aircraft delays, and machine learning for additive manufacturing. When I am not at work, I tend to explore creativity through coding Dungeons and Dragons worlds into virtual tabletop games.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: I envisioned myself working in a Launch Control Room for NASA. TV shows and movies would always depict one scientist that is the “go to” guy for things. This was my dream. Being able to have the expertise to help others in critical situations has always been a driving factor in my life.

Niki Agrawal

Associate Data Science Consultant

Originally from New Jersey and currently residing in Massachusetts, some of my best years were spent in Cleveland, Ohio, where I moved to pursue a degree in engineering: a decision fueled by my inquisitive spirit, delight in the rigor of the scientific method, and desire to solve real-world problems. My early career includes a mix of computational academic research in biomedical imaging and neuroscience, as well industry experience in the digital health software space, where I designed analytic solutions in client-facing roles ranging from analytics and product manager to technical support engineer. Most recently, I pivoted to data science, and am passionate about greater diversity and ethical design in tech. Outside of work, I most enjoy flexing my creative muscles via dance and spending time in nature.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: Some of my favorite memories growing up involve helping my family renovate my childhood home, which, combined with my love of patterns and aesthetics, led me to an interest in interior design. This desire to design creative yet functional solutions, tailored to meet client requests, is still very central to who I am!

Kathlyn Aisha Kay

Operations Manager

After a 24-year career in Human Resource Development with Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia, I am currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Organizational Change and Leadership at USC. My last project as a founding member of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture was to oversee the staffs’ and volunteers’ professional development. Having a deep appreciation for the perspectives of others in diverse, multi-cultural settings, I strive to cultivate more of that which enables us to thrive and flourish.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: Growing up in Cleveland, I loved being in libraries, thinking one day I’d be a librarian.

Scott Purvis, PhD

Operations Manager

I started as a research scientist at Case Western Reserve University studying Immunodeficiency in HIV infections. In the late 90s, I found myself interested in the entrepreneurial world and took a position leading project and data managers in the clinical trials space. Since then, I’ve built clinical diagnostic labs and helped a few startups as a consultant. After meeting and working with Pandata during their early days, I decided to join them and help build a strong financial and operations infrastructure.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: When I was growing up, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I couldn’t wait for the Sunday night Jacque Cousteau prime time specials as I was totally captivated by the imagery.

Dan Miller

Project Manager

My life has been a constant balancing act between adventure and curiosity. A lifelong Clevelander, I earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University and built a medical device company before becoming the school’s first Venture for America Fellow. I now lead project management efforts for the Pandata team while pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. Whether I’m training Jiu-Jitsu, hiking the flatirons, or learning the ins and outs of data science, a sense of adventure and curiosity still guide me.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: I really, adamantly wanted to be an astronaut. I think it’s because I love adventure and massive challenges. It’s part of the reason I eventually studied Mechanical Engineering!

Chris Brace

Data Engineering Consultant

Born and raised in Massachusetts, I’ve always had a passion for tinkering, programming, and asking too many questions. At Case Western Reserve University I picked up as many majors as I had passions, and ended up graduating with minors in Psychology and Philosophy (tinkering) and majors in Computer Science and Cognitive Science (programming and asking too many questions). When I’m not designing and implementing technical solutions for Pandata I’m usually indulging my hobbies in home technology or audio design, so don’t hesitate to ask me about headsets, humidifiers, or smart homes!

What I wanted to be when I grew up: When I was younger I thought planes were the coolest things around, and wanted badly to be a pilot or an Aerospace Engineer. Turns out programming is more my speed, but I haven’t given up on piloting yet!

Merilys Huhn, JD

Data Science Consultant

Though born and raised in Cleveland, I have lived all over the US from Washington, DC to California driven by the pursuit of understanding. I am deeply intrigued by the concept of how people work and act together. After earning my JD and working in social services for a few years, I decided to pursue a PhD in sociology at Stanford where I am currently using a mix of machine learning solutions and qualitative analysis to understand social interaction. My background in law and sociology power my work in designing ethical AI solutions through a human-centered approach. When I’m not working on my PhD or at Pandata, I like to spend my time outdoors testing new routes on my bicycle.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: When I was a kid, I wanted to be an engineer. I loved problem-solving!

Bob Wood

Data Scientist

While I was born outside of Chicago, our family moved around a lot, including several years living overseas in the Middle East. I moved back stateside and completed my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, followed by a Master of Engineering and Management degree. After working as a Quality Manager in the aerospace industry for many years, I decided to pivot and pursue a career in Data Science, where I could apply my problem-solving skills and focus on learning new technologies. When I’m not coding, I enjoy spending my time behind the lens exploring macro photography and capturing photos of nature.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and be a doctor. Then I found out how much school was involved.
Ethical AI

Julie Novic, PhD

Data Scientist

Growing up in a multi-ethnic, multicultural, immigrant household gave me a thirst to understand human culture and behavior on a fundamental level. This thirst was something that I tried to satiate with a PhD in anthropology, focusing on quantitative methods, archaeology, and consumer economics, but that was not enough. I wanted to take an applied approach and understand humans in ways that benefit consumers in a hands-on way. Soon after getting my PhD, I got a certificate in data science from Case Western Reserve University and haven’t looked back. In addition to my hands on technical work designing and developing human centered AI, I apply my background in the social sciences and humanities in helping clients and lay folk better understand the ethical and social implications of AI.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: I wanted to be an archaeologist since I was 8. I was one from age 21-36.

Hannah Arnson, PhD

Director, Data Science

A Cleveland native, I channeled my lifelong sense of curiosity and problem solving to pursue a career in science. I began with undergraduate training in neuroscience and mathematics, followed by a Ph.D. in neuroscience, followed by additional postdoctoral research. As a neuroscientist, I studied topics ranging from how the brain perceives smells to pigeon navigation. Then, I traded brain cells for business problems to become a data scientist with Pandata where I leverage my skills in identifying patterns to explain complex phenomena. Here, my passions lie in designing ethical and transparent AI and in making complex technical concepts accessible to all. Outside of Pandata, I can be found spending time with my family, enjoying the outdoors, and playing my fiddle.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a scientist. An early toy memory is of my Fisher Price microscope kit.

Nicole Ponstingle McCaffrey

Chief People & Marketing Officer

The daughter of an entrepreneur, I was bitten by the marketing bug early in life. In my 20+ year career I have been fortunate to work in consulting, business development and marketing for global brands, KTM Motorcycle & Marathon Oil, but my true passion lies in nurturing small and medium size business growth. As Pandata’s COO, I marry all these experiences to craft and steward our brand, champion culture, build our talent pipeline, act as our resident AI Translator, and advocate for diversity in STEM. Outside of work, I live for marine sports – including kayaking, paddleboarding, and scuba diving. My greatest passion is animal welfare – I volunteer with Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue and Safe Harbor Animal Rescue, and am an obsessed “dog mom” to rescue Frenchtons, Lulu, Darby, and Boston Terrier, Clancy.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: I wanted to be Wonder Woman. The invisible plane, Lasso of Truth, and rebellious spirit – as a little girl, no one was cooler!

Cal Al-Dhubaib

CEO, AI Strategist

Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, I moved halfway across the world to attend college at Case Western Reserve University where I initially studied neuroscience. After working in public health research, I discovered data science is my true passion and I had the opportunity to become one the first graduates with a formal degree in Data Science. Since then, I’ve dedicated my career to cultivating data science talent both within Pandata and across our region. I’m passionate about inclusion in technology and spend my time creating environments where teams are able to design more fair, ethical, transparent AI solutions. When I’m not working on Pandata, I like to travel and explore arts and cultures around the world. I’ve been to 18 countries so far and hope to hit 50 by the time I’m 50!

What I wanted to be when I grew up: Funny enough, I had always been fascinated with robots. Initially I wanted to be a researcher, but here I am full circle working with AI!