A data scientist, standup comedian, and circus artist walk into your next event. Wait — it’s the same person! Andrea Jones-Rooy, Ph.D. is a professor of data science and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the New York University (NYU) Center for Data Science, which is pretty cool on its own. But she’s also a regular standup comedian at some of NYC’s top comedy clubs in Greenwich Village (plus occasional national and international tours). And there’s even more: she’s an internationally touring circus performer who has performed trapeze, aerial silks, fire, contortion, and more for audiences all over the world, including royalty (though alas, she has not (yet) been depicted in The Crown). In short: you’ve never seen a speaker quite like this.
How does this happen? Well, it’s a long story, but the main theme of Dr. Jones-Rooy’s life — and a primary message in many of her talks — is the importance of bringing together art and science. When we think of “data science”, for example, we tend to think of spreadsheets packed with numbers, from which things like “analytics” and “insights” are derived. This is all well and good, but, as Dr. Jones-Rooy explains, you can learn much more from your data by applying creativity and imagination to your biggest questions. In fact, with a Ph.D. in political science, with a focus on complex systems, Dr. Jones-Rooy specializes in turning our abstract, messy, complex(!) world into rigorous data and social science problems that can be evaluated meaningfully with data — and empowering others to do the same.
In addition to directing the undergraduate program in data science at NYU, Dr. Jones-Rooy teaches their flagship, perpetually waitlisted course: Data Science for Everyone. She also teaches advanced courses in data science, including natural language processing with a focus on transforming text into quantitative data. She also works as a research consultant to companies — from some of the world’s biggest Global Fortune 500s to the fastest growing startups, as well as nonprofits and governments — helping them turn their people challenges and opportunities into data science research projects, with a special focus on the impact of measuring performance on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In addition to longer-term research engagements, she also regularly speaks, keynotes, and facilitates and moderates panels on how to approach your thorniest, most important people problems with data, how and why to think like a social and data scientist about DEI, and why you don’t have to be a “math person” to learn meaningful things from data. She brings a unique, infectious energy and passion for all things social and data science to her presentations that will leave all audiences eager to roll up their sleeves and join in the scientific fun.
Dr. Jones-Rooy grew up in rural Maryland, where she spent much of her childhood dreaming of life in big cities. After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a postdoctoral fellowship in social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Jones-Rooy took a leap of faith and moved to Shanghai to found NYU Shanghai’s undergraduate program in quantitative social science — the first of its kind in mainland China. There, she also performed nightly at Cirque le Soir Shanghai and Kung Fu Komedy club, and now performs with Cirque’s world tour and comedy clubs around the world. She now lives in New York City with her partner and two plants (one of them is *very* small, but not in a cool bonsai way).
Andrea Jones-Rooy – Professor Lives Double Life As Fire-Eating Acrobat
The Problem with our Voting System and How to Fix It
Andrea Jones-Rooy on the Impact of Social & Data Science on Diversity
Andrea Jones-Rooy on Measuring What Really Matters
5 Techniques to Make the Most of Your People Data
Andrea Jones-Rooy’s Speech Topics
Data Science, AI, and the Future of Healthcare
The key message of this presentation is that data science and AI hold a lot of promise when it comes to improving healthcare, but our ability to really make a difference (and make sure it’s a positive one) is going to depend on ALL of us getting involved, no matter our (current) technical background. This presentation will invite participants to build a common vocabulary around current technology terms, discuss how we can all play a role in data science and AI going forward (and why it’s important that we do so!), and to share some exciting examples of applications to healthcare at the intersection of technology, practice, and subject matter expertise. The goal is to leave audience members feeling excited and empowered to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the field. Along the way, they’ll also become more informed around key buzzwords and trends.
What is data science? What is AI? How should we feel about it all? (Excited? Scared? All of the above? If the group is open to an interactive keynote, we will invite thoughts and reactions from audience members. I’ll share an overview that demystifies these terms, breaks down what is exactly going on in data science and AI, and the latest thinking on the most promising and concerning areas of each.
Who can be part of the revolution? Answer: Everyone!! Many people wrongly think that in order to make discoveries with data and AI, one needs to become a computer programmer. While that doesn’t hurt, there are LOTS of ways to use these tools to innovate and ask and answer important questions with the skills we already have.
What does this have to do with healthcare? I’ll share examples of exciting areas in healthcare where data science and AI are making important contributions, including the use of natural language processing to better evaluate the effectiveness of cancer treatments, of simple novel measurements doctors can use to more quickly understand a patient’s health, and an example of machine learning assisting in diagnosing and treating infections in impoverished, rural areas of South Africa.
Conclusion and next steps:
Andrea Jones-Rooy will summarize the key messages and give audience members a challenge to complete in the next day that involves actually engaging with data science in one of the ways described in the presentation.
Data Science Needs You!
There’s a lot of buzz these days about “data science” — and rightly so! It’s one of the most exciting areas of scientific development today. But what exactly does it mean — and do I need to hire a whole team of data scientists in order to make awesome discoveries from my data? In this presentation, Dr. Jones-Rooy demystifies what exactly data science is all about, why it’s so exciting, and how all of us (yes, all of us) can get involved. Audiences will leave with new ideas about the promise of data science, as well as — more importantly — tangible techniques that they can apply to use data to understand their most pressing questions right away. In the end, while fancy things like deep learning and neural networks are really exciting, Dr. Jones-Rooy argues that the most powerful technique in data science is still good old-fashioned ideas, imagination, and creativity, which we all have.
The Social and Data Science of Why DEI Matters to Us All — and What to do About It
When we think about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, lots of things come to mind: unconscious bias, microaggressions, psychological safety, inclusive leadership, and more. All of these topics on their own are important, but you may be feeling like it’s not clear how they all fit together, or how to approach them in a more tangible, systematic way than the occasional training that everyone eventually forgets about. In this presentation, Dr. Jones-Rooy weaves together both classic and cutting-edge social scientific research, from the science of power to behavioral economics to systems theory — to illustrate why DEI matters to us all, how we can all become part of the change, and why we will all be better off for it. Throughout, Dr. Jones-Rooy draws on her extensive hands-on research with companies to give concrete examples of how to make meaningful, rigorous strides towards DEI in your organization, including her own concepts of the managerial case for DEI, why we should all be on the lookout for “work style” bias, and more.
How to Talk About Technical Topics in a Way that Excites Everyone
You’re an expert in your field. That’s great! But how can you share the amazing things you know — and the things you love about your field — in a way that causes others to not just sit up and pay attention, but perhaps even get involved themselves? In today’s complex world, we need diverse perspectives on all our thorny problems, but we can’t get those perspectives without engaging audiences from fields other than our own. In this high-impact presentation, Dr. Jones-Rooy will draw from a lifetime of experience as a professional speaker, standup comedian, and circus performer to share her top tips and techniques for talking about technical topics with any audience. Dr. Jones-Rooy firmly believes there is no topic so technical that you can’t leave a crowd cheering at the end, and this presentation will show why — and how — to do so.