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Who We Are

In 2023, the Center for Applied Data Ethics, initially funded by a generous donation from Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, underwent a name change to reflect the evolving landscape of technology and the prominence of artificial intelligence (AI) as a rapidly growing field. The new name of the center incorporates AI to better align with its focus and activities related to AI ethics, research, and applications. This change acknowledges the significant impact that AI has on society and the importance of addressing ethical considerations in its development and deployment.



Robert Clements | Faculty Director of the Center for AI & Data Ethics

Robert Clements is responsible for leading the Center for AI & Data Ethics within the Data Institute. Before joining USF in 2022, Robert worked for Optum, a healthcare technology, services, and innovation company, as their Senior Director of Data Science where he oversaw a distributed team of ~20 data scientists and managers. In addition to Optum, Robert has also worked at Walmart Labs, UnitedHealthcare, GE Digital, and Verisk Analytics. He earned his PhD in Statistics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2011.

Elisabeth Merkel headshot

Elisabeth Merkel | Senior Administrative Director

Elisabeth Merkel is the Administrative Director of the Data Institute. Elisabeth oversees strategic initiatives and operations for the centers and professional programs housed within the Data Institute.

Victor Palacios headshot

Victor Palacios | Director of Data Science Partnerships

Victor Palacios is the Director of Partnerships of the Data Institute and MS Data Science program. Victor manages practicum partners, projects, and career services.

Hadley Dixon

Hadley Dixon | Undergraduate Student Researcher

Hadley, a Senior Data Science student at the University of San Francisco, is dedicated to building responsible technology. Passionate about understanding data's impact on political behavior, she actively engages in coursework and research to promote transparency and equity. Hadley aspires to leverage her skills for positive social change.

Data Ethics Fellows

  • Christina Boyles, PhD, Michigan State University, 2023
  • Nantina Vgontzas, PhD, New York University, 2023
  • Ali Alkhatib, PhD Stanford University, 2022
  • Razvan Amironesei, PhD, Universite Laval, 2021
  • Nana Young, MA, Duke University, 2021


  • Rachel Thomas, Founder and Researcher, fast.ai
  • Rumman Chowdury, Chief Scientist, Parity Consulting

Make A Gift

Your support plays a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of ethical discussions and practices within the field, empowering us to lead the way in responsible AI and data ethics.