Meet the new team! DSE Welcomes Inaugural Staff Cohort

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February 22, 2023


We are thrilled to welcome the team that will be driving our programs, data, and engineering at the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center for Data Science and Environment (DSE)!

Each individual come with great talent, expertise and a passion for our mission. We are excited to have them onboard to design and implement open tools and data critical to improving the wellbeing of our planet and our communities.

As we move forward, we will work openly and share new findings, prototypes, and more, so stay tuned!



Brookie Guzder-Williams

Senior Data Scientist

Brookie Guzder-Williams is an environmental data science researcher leveraging satellite imagery and neural networks to better understand stresses on the earth’s natural resources. His research is focused on designing, training, analyzing and deploying novel neural network architectures for global scale computer vision tasks.

He comes to the DSE from World Resources Institute where he served as Director of Data Science. Brookie’s background is theoretical physics. He was an International Postdoctoral Fellow for the National Science Foundation, has a Ph.D. in String Theory from the University of California Santa Barbara, and an undergraduate degree in both Physics and Mathematics from the University of Colorado.



Ciera Martinez

Senior Program Manager

Ciera Martinez is a Senior Program Manager with the DSE who focuses on data intensive research projects that aim to understand how life on this planet evolves in reaction to the environment and climate – especially projects involving large and complex datasets. Ciera comes to DSE after serving as Biology and Environmental Sciences Lead for the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS).

A long-time open science advocate, Ciera has been involved with and continues to be interested in working on training for open data, education, publishing, and software, including developing community standards for data management practices. As a 2019 Mozilla Open Science Fellow, she connected her love of data and museums and worked on projects aimed at understanding and increasing the usability of biodiversity and natural history museum data.

She received her PhD in Plant Biology from UC Davis, researching the genetic mechanisms regulating plant architecture. She then went on to become a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Department, studying genome evolution. She was also a BIDS postdoctoral Data Science Fellow for 3 years, working on undergraduate research practices, data science training, community development, and best practices for data science, diversity and inclusion, and computational research.



Giulia Zarpellon

Data Scientist

Giulia is a Data Scientist passionate about interrogating data in search of both meaningful questions and actionable answers. The topics of sustainability and environmental problem-solving have always challenged and motivated her at a personal level: she brings to DSE her interdisciplinary experience in data science, optimization and machine learning, and a continuous desire to pair her scientific background with making a positive impact.

Giulia most recently served United Nations Global Pulse as a Data Science Research Fellow, where she contributed ideas, code and new functionalities to multidisciplinary data science efforts for humanitarian response. Before that, she worked as an AI Scientist at the Vector Institute (Toronto) and completed a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at Polytechnique Montréal as part of the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data Science for real-time Decision-Making. Giulia also holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Mathematics from University of Padova.



Magali de Bruyn

Data Scientist / Research Software Engineer

Magali de Bruyn is a Data Scientist / Research Software Engineer for the DSE. Magali applies computer science to drive systemic change towards greater environmental sustainability. She is particularly interested in forest monitoring and involving community engagement, policy, and complexity science. She has experience tackling environmental and data challenges in-person in 6 countries across the world (notably in India, Belgium, and the US).

Previously, Magali applied web scraping, data science, and natural language processing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to research sustainable urbanization and environmental economics. Magali graduated with a degree in Computer Science and a concentration in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning from Minerva University and is an alumna of the United World Colleges (UWC). In addition to English, she knows French, Spanish, Dutch, German, and Hindi.



Maya Weltman-Fahs

Senior Program Manager

Maya Weltman-Fahs joins the inaugural staff of the DSE as a Senior Program Manager. In this role, Maya collaborates with the team to define the mission and focus the research program for the Center, calling upon her diverse interdisciplinary background and her experience in both industry and academia.

Maya’s academic background spans several institutions and disciplines. She carries degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and Agroecology (UC Santa Cruz), Climate Science and Policy (Columbia University), and Natural Resources (Cornell University). She served as a lecturer at Macaulay Honors College (City University of New York) and Santa Clara University, supporting young scholars in GIS, Applied Ecology, and the Scientific Process. Most recently Maya was in the industrial space, as a Strategic Map Planning Manager for the autonomous vehicle startup Nuro. Maya is thrilled to support the DSE in creating environmental solutions that have a real impact!



Sam Pottinger

Senior Research Data Scientist / Software Engineer

Sam Pottinger is a Senior Research Data Scientist / Software Engineer at the DSE. He is interested in creating digital spaces that foster collaboration and enable thinking within complex problems. This work often involves crafting digital tools at the intersection of participatory design, artificial intelligence, information design (data visualization), software engineering, and game design.

Sam has worked for small organizations including LabJack (DAQ / IoT) and Plenty (agriculture) as well as larger companies such IDEO, Google, and Apple. He was most recently the Director of Data and Digital Technologies at the synthetic biology food startup EVERY. In addition to industry, he is a contributor to the open source Processing project where he previously helped the community reach its fourth major version and still provides ongoing work on language engineering. Other open source contributions available on his GitHub.


While we have recently completed our most immediate hiring needs, we anticipate soon sharing more opportunities to work with us, including postdoctoral researchers. Sign up for our email list to receive announcements as they arise at