Data Fellows

Helping social sector data leaders succeed through training and mentorship

What is the program?

The Data Fellows program is a six-month fellowship designed to connect data professionals at non-profits, foundations, governmental agencies, and social enterprises to experts in data science and security. The fellowship begins with a week in Chicago where fellows meet with mentors, participate in workshops on topics in data science, and network with like-minded data-for-good professionals.

At social sector organizations, there’s often only one “data person” responsible for managing the organization’s data. Many are self-taught without much training or support from their resource-strained organizations. At, we aim to change that. We provide data-for-good professionals with the tools and community they need to solve big problems in the social sector.

Our Data Science fellows are focused on developing skills in machine learning and data product development; they’re trying to find ways to gain insight and build tools with data.

Data Fellows

Why You Should Apply

Define Data Standards

The fellowship is for experienced data leaders employed by nonprofits, social enterprises, and government agencies who want to improve their data science or security knowledge, skills and methodologies.

Develop Shareable Applications

We provide ongoing coaching and mentoring from Uptake’s core team as well as advisors from Uptake partners based on fellows’ needs, skills and preferences.

Promote Data Sharing

You’ll join a network of data leaders and connect with other professionals in the “data for good” ecosystem.

Data Fellows

Program details

Uptake selects and mentors a cohort of Data Fellows biannually. The fellowship kicks off with a week of workshops, mentor meetings, and networking in Chicago and continues remotely for six months. Fellows then re-convene for a Fellow Showcase Day in Chicago. Each fellow is expected to work on a project during the course of the fellowship, although we stress that this fellowship is primarily about skill development.

The Fellowship Consists of Four Parts:


Mentor Matching

Fellows are matched with at least three experts from Uptake and Carnegie Mellon University based on their needs. Mentor teams are data scientists, engineers and strategy gurus.


Workshop Week in Chicago

Fellows arrive for a week of workshops, networking events, and one-on-one mentorings. Workshops include Agile Development in Data Science, Predictive Models in R, Protecting IoT, and more.


Ongoing Mentorship and Support

Mentors and fellows check in regularly for six months to continue their conversations and support that began in Chicago.


Fellow Showcase

Fellows return to Chicago to present the progress they’ve made over the course of the fellowship to their mentors and to the incoming class of new fellows.

What we’re looking for:

We’re looking for data scientists, analysts, and leaders at nonprofits, social enterprises, or government agencies that have been operating for two years or more. Most of this fellowship centers on helping you grow as an individual.

We want individuals who:

  • Have experience building models. We expect most of our fellows to understand the use of R or Python.
  • Have sound quantitative skills, including the use of data analysis methodologies.
  • Interested in building technical skills or work better with a technical team in application development, programming, data engineering or a related field.
  • Are deeply passionate about using data science for social good.
  • Have great communication skills and want to connect with peers and experts in the data-for-good field.
  • Embody Uptake’s core values: clarity, curiosity, flexibility, industry and trust.
  • Are willing to commit to a six-month fellowship period with an in-person session from March 4-8, 2019. Travel expenses are covered by Uptake.

Participants in the fellowship to date


Months of mentorship and project support


Cities from all over the world

Data Fellows

Meet Our Current Fellows

Cohort 5

Lucy Abbot

Manager of Data and Strategy, Braven

Higher Education

San Francisco, CA

Arpit Arora

Data Analyst, Pratham Books

Global Literacy


Kevin Crowe

Data Journalist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Data Journalism

Milwaukee, WI

Justin Elszasz

Data Scientist, City of Baltimore

Smart Cities

Baltimore, MD

Monica Hersher

Jr. Data Scientist, IDinsight

International Development


Jonathan Hudlow

Director of Research and Analysis, Love Justice International

Anti-human Trafficking


Nesha Jairam

Data and Systems Manager, Georgria Division of Family & Children Services

Social Services

Atlanta, GA

Francis Lavoe

Group Data Scientist, PEG Africa

Energy & Microfinance

Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal

Kate Murray

Operations Associate, mRelief


Chicago, IL

Juan Vega Rodriguez

Outcomes and Data Manager, CentroNía

Early Education

Washington, D.C.

Professional Network

Data Fellows Alumni

We have a growing community of data leaders working in different change sectors across the globe.

Government and Social Services

City of Chicago
City of Baltimore
State of Georgia Division of Family Services
Chicago Transit Authority
U.S. General Services Administration
Laboratorio Nacional de Políticas Públicas

Energy Agriculture and Environment

Carbon Lighthouse
Hello Tractor
Conservation International
PEG Africa
One Acre Fund
We Farm
Northern Rangelands Trust

Healthcare and Human Rights

Love Justice International
Koe Koe Tech
Invisible Institute
Cook County Health and Hospital System
Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response

American Red Cross
World Vision
Benefits Data Trust
412 Food Rescue
Heartland Alliance International

Education and Literacy

Chicago Public Schools
New York City Department of Education
Pratham Books
Noble Network of Charter Schools
Pencils of Promise

Community Foundations

Skid Row Housing Trust
Ontario Trillium Foundation
Canadian Urban Institute

The Data Fellows application for Spring 2019 is now closed.

Our team will be reviewing all applicants and be following up with finalists in July 2019. If you have any questions you can also email the team using the Contact Us form.