(Atlanta, Ga.) – The Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative is excited to announce the expansion of its team by hiring three new members. The Initiative facilitates and coordinates innovative data science-focused research, activities and programs across the AUC Consortium Inc., member institutions—Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College.

Jerry Volcy, Ph.D., joins the Initiative as the new deputy director. In this position, Volcy will help coordinate research and educational programs; oversee activities and projects including establishing the AUC Virtual Computer Lab; develop relations with industry partners; and support programs and activities at the AUC Consortium member institutions. “Jerry’s industry experience and passion for developing educational opportunities for students will help the Initiative continue expanding its programs,” said AUC Data Science Initiative Director Talitha Washington.

Volcy will continue serving as the Brown-Simmons Professor of Science and director of the Innovation Lab at Spelman College, Washington said. Previously, he provided software solutions to a range of industries, including biomedical, education, fiber optics, robotics and medical imaging.

Volcy earned a bachelor’s of science and a master’s of science in mechanical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Bettina Gardner has been named administrative director for the Initiative. Gardner’s duties will include financial oversight, operations and administration management. “With her enthusiasm and a keen eye for precision, Bettina  is the primary interface between institute research, educational, and other personnel and the director, and she will help us scale-up our efforts,” Washington said.

Previously, Gardner was the assistant director of the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute at Clark Atlanta University and a 2017-2018 Fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin, Germany. She served as deputy director of international affairs for the City of Atlanta during the Kasim Reed administration.

Gardner earned her bachelor’s in international business and Spanish from Florida State University, an MBA in international management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University and a master’s in international affairs from Georgia Tech.

Tommy Taylor Jr. is the new communications specialist at the Initiative. Taylor will manage communication planning, project management, content development, branding and marketing, digital and social media, and develop an electronic newsletter, Washington said. “Tommy’s creativity brings new ways to better reach our students and will take our media presence to the next level,” she  said.

Taylor previously worked at the National Science Foundation where he developed content, branding and outreach strategies. Also, he has produced commercials and creative content for various organizations, from Comcast to the Special Olympics.

Taylor earned degrees in computer engineering, engineering, and public policy and drama at Carnegie Mellon University. Also, he earned an MBA in marketing and supply chain management from Howard University.

“We are excited about the work ahead at the AUC Data Science Initiative as we welcome our forward thinking team members,” Washington said. “Right now, we have significant challenges in data science that negatively impact the Black community. With the AUC’s rich history in social justice, we are leveraging partnerships at all levels to enhance data science education for our students while advancing data science research that promotes the ethical use of data to benefit our nation.”

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