The Lucy Institute Joins the Fight to End Hunger and Poverty with a New Professor of Practice Hire, Jaron Porciello

Author: Lucy Institute

Jaron Porciello

The Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society is pleased to announce that Jaron Porciello has joined the Lucy Institute as Professor of the Practice for Information and Data Science.  Ms. Porciello’s research focuses on building programs that use machine learning tools, mainly interpretable machine learning and its applications, to help humans make better decisions. She has significant experience developing and designing computational tools and managing projects for low-bandwidth environments and has built long-standing and productive projects and relationships with scientists, practitioners, funders, governments, NGOs, publishers and journalists across the world.

“I am delighted to join the Lucy Family Institute in my new role,” shared Ms. Porciello. “Lucy is one of the very few dedicated Institutes in the United States with a mission to leverage cutting-edge data science and artificial intelligence solutions for the global good. I look forward to  building partnerships with public and private organizations that share our optimism that we can address complex, challenging issues through the symbiosis of human and machine intelligence.”

“Jaron’s collaborative experience, commitment to tackling daunting societal challenges using data and machine learning, and the domain-informed translational focus of her work make her a perfect fit for The Institute,” added Nitesh Chawla, PhD, Lucy's Founding Director. “She exemplifies the values we seek to bring to our work every day and is a great addition to our team.”

She joins Lucy from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she was a faculty member for more than 15 years, serving as a Senior Extension Associate, Department of Global Development and International Programs, and a Faculty Fellow at the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.  While at Cornell, she co-directed the Ceres2030 project towards its ambitious goal of ending world hunger within a decade. Ceres2030 employed machine learning to analyze and vet hundreds of ideas for eradicating hunger, helped select climate-resilient crops, and translated large data sets into useful insights.  The results of the Ceres2030 work are being used by donors and governments across the world in the global fight to end hunger, and the scientific outputs were published as a special collection in Nature in 2020.

Ms. Porciello is also Co-Founder of Havos.ai, whose mission is to enable everyone to access science, even if they are not a scientist. Havos assembles data, technology, and expertise to build software solutions that address our biggest questions. She is also a board member of the Friends of Research4Life, a not-for-profit that supports the aims of http://research4life.org. Research4Life aims to minimize technical and commercial barriers to information access by providing institutions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), areas and territories with academic and professional peer-reviewed content. It is a partnership of United Nations agencies, Cornell and Yale Universities, STM and more than 180 international publishers.

One of her primary roles at The Institute will be to strengthen synergies with The Keough School of Public Affairs, which was founded to help bring research, policy development, and engagement to bear in pursuing integral human development around the world. Ms. Porciello’s work emphasizes building bridges between science and policy using AI, and a strong partnership between Lucy and Keough, as well as other international institutes, will enhance the power of strong policy and deep data in meeting large-scale global challenges.

“Jaron's work uses data science to answer compelling questions in international development, particularly around poverty and hunger,” said Paul Winters, the Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Global Affairs at Keough. “Because of this, she is a natural partner with the Keough School where these are key issues. We are thrilled she has joined The Institute and look forward to many valuable collaborations.”

 

About the Lucy Institute

The Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society is a hub for students, faculty, postdoctoral and visiting scholars, and staff to explore how data can be harnessed for societal benefit. We act as an incubator for data research as well as a liaison to the government and business communities. Our mission is to enable a positive impact on society and individual lives through innovative domain-informed and data-driven methods and applications.

The Lucy Family Institute brings tactical expertise in data science, AI, data engineering, computing, applications, and methods. The Institute also shares core societal expertise in human development, peace accord, ethics, global development, and poverty studies. Combining these core capabilities enables the Lucy Family Institute to compile best-in-class research teams aligned toward specific societal challenges that translate out of research and into practice.