Graduate - PhD

DS PhD Students go bowling!

DS Graduate students enjoyed a fun night of bowling arranged on behalf of the DS Council!

Location: Unity Hall
Office Location: 3rd Floor, Room 366
Phone: 508-831-6220

Data Science Ph.D. Student Highlights

Becks Lopez

Becks Lopez

Current Student Achievements

PhD Student, Becks Lopez, selected as a 2024 Clare Booth Luce Graduate Fellow!

WPI is proud to recognize our current Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellow – Rebecca Lopez (PhD candidate, Data Science). The Henry Luce Foundation Inc, through the Clare Boothe Luce Program, has been a longtime supporter of WPI. The program aims to transform STEM ecosystems across the United States by addressing the structural and cultural barriers that inhibit women’s pursuit of and persistence in STEM fields, expanding educational opportunities for women in STEM, and advancing their leadership in the sciences. 

Headshot of Phd candidate, Kathleen Cachel
WPI Three Minute Thesis Competition

DS PhD Student, Kathleen Cachcel, wins the 2023 3MT

Kathleen Cachel, Data Science, "Technologies for Fair Consensus Decision-Making"

February 16th, 2024

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is an academic competition that challenges PhD students to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience using only a single static slide. 3MT celebrates the discoveries made by PhD students and encourages their skill in communicating the importance of research to the broader community. The competition takes place annually at numerous universities around the world!


PhD Student, Oluseun Olulana, selected as a 2022 Clare Booth Luce Graduate Fellow!

WPI is proud to recognize the 2022 Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellow, Oluseun Olulana, Data Science PhD student. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in in her home country of Nigeria, Oluseun Olulana eventually zeroed in on WPI when deciding where she would pursue her doctorate in data science with a focus on fairness in artificial intelligence. Biases about age, gender, and race can make their way into AI learning models; she said she is evaluating the models used in AI and machine learning to find ways to identify and avoid those pitfalls. In recognition of the importance of her work and her goals, Olulana recently received the American Association of University Women’s 2022–2023 International Doctoral Degree Fellowship. She was one of 320 individuals or organizations receiving a total of $6 million in grants or fellowships.

DS Ph.D. Student Eric Vertina
Data Science Ph.D. Student Eric Vertina

Talk: Deep Learning for Molecular Property Prediction

Fall 2023 |  Data Science Ph.D. Student Eric Vertina recently spoke with Florida State University's ACM Club on the topic of "Deep Learning for Molecular Property Prediction". 

DS PhD Susmitha Wunnava
PhD Alumni: Where are they now?

PhD Graduate Delivers Commencement Speech to Class of 2021

Dr. Susmitha Wunnava, a Data Science PhD Graduate, gave the 2021 Commencement Speech to PhD and Master’s Students for the School of Arts & Sciences and Foisie Business School.

Currently, Dr. Wunnava is working as a machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) scientist. She recently joined the CRS Regulatory Science Fellowship Program to continue my research at the intersection of AI and healthcare while collaborating with and learning from world-class researchers and medical experts.

Professor Tom Hartvigsen
PhD Alumni: Where are they now?

Tom Hartivgsen '21

After graduating from WPI with his Ph.D. in Winter 2021, Dr. Tom Hartvigsen worked as a postdoc at MIT under Marzyeh Ghassemi. Currently, Dr. Hartvigsen is an Assistant Professor of Data Science at the University of Virginia.  He is spending the 2023-2024 academic year in Cambridge, MA where he is a Visiting Assistant Professor at MIT.  

Dr. Hartvigsen's research is broadly focused in machine learning and natural language processing, especially to enable responsible deployment in ever-changing environments.

Dr. Narges Ahani
PhD Alumni: Where are they now?

Narges Ahani '22

After graduating from WPI with her Ph.D. in Spring 2022 under faculty advisor Andy Trapp, Dr. Narges Ahani accepted a position in industry as the Vice President Operation Research Analyst III at Bank of America. Dr. Ahani's research interests include Mathematical Optimization, Machine Learning, and Visualization.

Geri Dimas
PhD Alumni: Where are they now?

Geri Louise Dimas '23

After graduating from WPI with her Ph.D. in Spring 2022 under faculty advisor Andy Trapp, Geri Louise Dimas accepted a position in academia as the Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Analytics at Bryant University in Rhode Island. In addition, Professor Dimas is the Co-Director of the Institute for the Qualitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity's (QSIDE) Stopping Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery Project (STAMP) Lab. Her research focuses on applications of applied analytics and data science at the intersection of societal issues such as immigration, anti-human trafficking, and homelessness. During her tenure at WPI, Professor Dimas was instrumental in leading the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Central Massachusetts Conference. 

Narges Ahani

I received my Master's degree in Operation Analytics and Management from Foisie School of Business at WPI in January 2019. I am now a Ph.D. student in Data Science at WPI. My Master Project was about designing and implementing a decision-making tool for refugee resettlement in the U.S. I developed a web application named Annie(TM) which integrates integer optimization and machine learning techniques into an interactive interface. I am interested in Mathematical Optimization, Machine Learning, and Visualization.

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Abdulaziz Alajaji

I’m excited about designing data-driven applications to solve real-world problems. I am interested in working on using predictive analytics with big data in cybersecurity and social networks. My research interests are: data-mining, social network analysis, cybersecurity and machine learning. I do research with my advisor Dr. Elke A. Rundensteiner. Awards: King Saud University, 2nd Honor Degree (2010) King Saud University, Best graduation project in cyber security (2010)

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I started my graduate studies at WPI in 2016. Since then, I have been doing multi-disciplinary research at the boundary of computational science, data science, (bio)materials, and (bio)mechanics in Bioinspired Material Design Lab and Tissue Mechanics & Mechanobiology Lab at WPI. My recent work is focused on solving complex problems in biomedical engineering using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

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Luke Buquicchio

I am a current PhD student working on the DARPA WASH project under Elke Rundensteiner and Emmanuel Agu. My research is mainly focused on developing/testing original deep learning techniques and applying them to large datasets. My research interests include: statistics, deep learning, unsupervised and semi-supervised learning, and software development. 

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Kavin Chandrasekaran

I started my career using data analysis and visualization for solving security concerns, performance enhancements and infrastructure management. I joined the PhD in Data Science program in 2016. My research interests are in sensor driven complex human activity recognition and generative models to be used in patient monitoring, ailment predictions and overall healthcare improvement.

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Fatemeh Farajzadeh

My master thesis developed novel mathematical programming methods to optimize the delivery operations of humanitarian drones in the aftermath of a disaster to serve affected areas. My research interests are in using advanced analytical techniques (operations research and data science) to handle operational challenges in humanitarian operations and health care systems. I am currently researching challenges that exist in managing migration crises through the fair and humane allocation of necessary resources.

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Vincent Filardi

Summer of 2019 I participated in an REU in the Mathematical Science department under the guidance of Professor Burt Tilley and Professor Randy Paffenroth with industrial sponsor General Electric Aviation. My current advisor is Professor Oren Mangoubi. My work focuses on Meta-Learning.

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Xinlu He

I am now a Ph.D. student in Data Science at WPI, working with Prof. Jacob Whitehill. My research interests include machine learning, deep learning, speaker diarization, and computer vision.

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Ruofan Hu

I am a Ph.D. student advised by Professor Rundensteiner and I'm a member of Daisy lab. My research interest include self-supervised learning, weakly supervised learning and nature language processing.

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Weixiao Huang

I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Department of Data Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. My research interests include: operations research, mathematical optimization, market design, mechanism design, biostatistics, and machine learning. I am currently working on developing a resource sharing system to help solve the challenge of resource scarcity and empower the collective impact in the nonprofit sector. The work also addresses efficiency, interpretability, and fairness.

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Nicholas Josselyn

I am a current Data Science PhD student in the DAISY lab under the supervision of Professor Elke Rundensteiner. My current research is focused on deep learning image analysis with the Army Research Lab for corrosion assessment. I have an interest in deep learning applications for imaging, particularly medical imaging. 

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Tabassum Kakar

 I am a PhD candidate in data science program at WPI. I completed my MS at WPI as a Fulbright scholar. After my BS, I have worked for three years in telecommunication industry as a BI developer and database administrator.  My research interests include using machine learning techniques on big data and design visual analytical systems to help domain experts analyze their data effectively.

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Guanxiong Liu

Data Science PhD student in Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Professional knowledge in Data Mining, Machine Learning and Statistical Data Analysis, especially with spatial temporal data. Two years experience in high tech company in US. Great team player with skills in multi-tasking and problem solving.

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Huimin Ren

I am a Ph.D. student in the Data Science Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. My general research interests include urban data analysis and reinforcement learning. I am a member of DSRG, working with Prof. Yanhua Li.

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Erin Teeple

My research interests focus on the application of quantitative analysis techniques and machine learning methods to explore questions related to healthcare safety and quality using electronic health record systems and facility administrative data sets.

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Thanh Tran

I received my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Hanoi University of Science and Technology in July 2011. After that, I spent 3 years working in the industry, mostly in researching and developing backend systems and building server services for client requests. Now I am pursuing my Ph.D. in Data Science at WPI. Currently, my research interests include data science and mining for big data, and recommender systems.

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Peter VanNostrand

After participating in the WPI Data Science REU program I have returned to WPI to pursue a PhD in Data Science. I am a member of the DAISY lab under Professor Elke Rundensteiner and hope to work on Data Science problems with impacts on the social good.

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Marcela Vasconcellos

Marcela obtained the University Laureate (highest-ranked in class) while pursuing her B.S. She was awarded a Science without Borders scholarship to study for 18 months at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France, where she did an internship at Saint-Gobain. She implemented a route optimization tool for its 12 glass factories in Europe based on the VRPTW, including real legislation restrictions on labor for drivers from each country. She was then approved in the national DHL Trainee program (13k+ candidates) and worked in warehousing operations, continuous improvement, and project ...

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Susmitha Wunnava

I am Ph.D. Candidate in the Data Science program. My research interests are in Data-mining, Text-mining, Machine Learning, and Social Network Analysis. I am currently working on text mining and information extraction from post-marketing drug surveillance report narratives. I attend the Database Systems Research Group (DSRG) and my advisor is Dr. Elke A. Rundensteiner. I am also a member of the "Seeds of STEM: The Development of an Innovative Early Childhood STEM Curriculum" research project funded by the US Department of Education (Institute of Education Sciences).

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Hang Yin

I am a Ph.D. student in WPI’s Data Science program, advised by Dr. Xiangnan Kong. My current research interests include brain networks and deep learning. Education: Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Bachelor Degree, Mathematics and Economics, 2014. Renmin University of China, Master Degree in Applied Statistics, 2017.  

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Huayi Zhang

My work focuses on building data systems that help machine learning practitioners to construct training data, such as labeling and cleaning training data. Towards this goal, my research leverages machine learning techniques such as semi-supervised learning, active learning, outlier detection, etc.

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Dongyu Zhang

I received my Master's degree in Business Analytics from the Univesity of Texas at Dallas. I am now a Ph.D. student majoring in Data Science at WPI, working with Prof. Elke Rundensteiner. My research interests include natural language processing, model interpretability, multi-task learning, and weakly supervised learning.

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Isaac Zhao

I find great satisfaction mining through mounds of data to uncover gems of knowledge that have the potential to save lives. I’ve worn many hats to provide support for oncology and mental health disorders in the pharmaceutical space. In drug discovery, I’ve analyzed genomic data to design more efficacious drug targets. In translational medicine, I’ve identified clinical biomarkers for predicting treatment response. As a statistician, I’ve provided planning and analysis for clinical trials. During my free time, I enjoy doing calisthenics - a specific bodyweight workout class similar to ...

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