DataSpark is a diverse team of URI staff members from varying disciplines. We are resourceful, creative, self-starters. Data accuracy, credibility, and security are among our highest priorities. We strive to strike a balance among responsibility, efficiency, clarity and adaptability.
We believe that everyone - no matter their title or position - should take ownership of and responsibility for their work and their contribution to the team. Teamwork and collaboration are integral elements of our team. We’re goofy, a bit weird at times and we think laughter is definitely the best medicine.
We strive to be a healthy team that is both customer-focused externally as well as skill-developing internally to provide the best value for our partners and a fulfilling career experience for our staff members.
She / Her / Hers
Dana Brandt is the Director of DataSpark, overseeing Rhode Island's Statewide Longitudinal Data System (RI SLDS) and DataSpark's quantitative and geospatial analytical services to state agencies, academic institutions, and community-based organizations. Dana joined DataSpark in 2019 as a data scientist, and she has also led DataSpark's governance program, coordinating with agencies to ensure data quality, security, and use for the public good. She currently serves as the Chair of the Interim Executive Council for the Eastern States Longitudinal Data Collaborative, developing permanent governance structures to improve regional coordination among education-to-workforce P20W longitudinal data systems.
Dana joined DataSpark from Washington, DC, where she previously worked for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. She holds two master's degrees, one in Public International Law from Leiden University in the Netherlands and one in Human Rights Law from Central European University in Hungary. She has a passion for learning new technical skills.
Meet Dana: As an avid runner, I'm a proponent of urban trails, and my favorite dataset is Providence's tree inventory.
He / Him / His
David Grenier is the DevOps Director for DataSpark. David joined DataSpark in 2015 to lead our Engineering Team where he prioritizes feature development on the RI SLDS and other platforms to expand DataSpark's capacity and enhance our system offerings. He has spent much of his time building a machine learning tool to improve the accuracy and efficiency of data linkage.
David graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and has previously worked as a programmer, project manager, and director of project management.
Meet Dave: I am currently pursuing a Masters in Applied Mathematics to improve my data programming skills and because I find it fun. I live in Providence with my dog Rottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and cat Sir Isaac Mewton.
He / Him / His
Rockwell Richards is a Data Analyst with DataSpark, performing quantitative analyses and creating compelling reports on a variety of data pertaining to public policy issues.
In January 2022, Rockwell joined DataSpark from Westerly, RI, where he previously worked for General Dynamics Electric Boat as an engineer. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from URI and is currently finishing a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing, also at URI. He's adeptly transferring the skills he developed as an engineer to his role here at DataSpark and plans to continue his studies to bolster his analytics skills.
Meet Rockwell: In the summer I enjoy spending my spare time paddleboarding through the salt ponds of South County. In the winter I spend my time wishing it was summer. Thankfully my season tickets to Rhode Island basketball help me get through it---go Rams!
They / Them / Their
Cass Wilkinson Saldaña joined DataSpark as a Data Analyst in May 2022. They bring a background in data librarianship, public health/epidemiology, and data science education, with a focus on collaborative projects that grapple with messy data. Cass specializes in the R ecosystem and participates in the R Ladies community and open source development. Their goal is to help learners, researchers, and communities engage meaningfully (and critically!) with data.
Cass received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Macalester College and a Master of Science in Information from the University of Michigan.
Meet Cass: Outside of data work, I enjoy basketball, bouldering, queer/feminist sci-fi, competitive pinball, crosswords, cats and dogs (both are great), and being excited about new hobbies in general.
She / Her / Hers
Adrienne Graudins is the Coordinator at URI Libraries. She joined the University Library staff in 2016. Graudins works on all things related to service center operations and invoicing. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Management / Accounting from SUNY Binghamton and brings years of experience from previous work as a manufacturing controller.
Meet Adrienne: I work at URI to support my chocolate, coffee and garden habits.