2018 PODS Fellows
The 2018 PODS fellows were chosen from a highly competitive field of 250 applicants. They represent a diverse range of academic backgrounds and interests, and share a passion for using data to solve policy problems. Check our Updates every week during the summer to follow the progress of our current interns.
Aliya completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at McGill with joint honours in Political Science and International Development Studies. Through her research at the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, she is pursuing a career in health policy, specifically international responses to epidemics and improving access to healthcare for marginalized communities.
Aliya interned at the McGill Observatory on Health and Social Services Reform with Dr. Amelie Quesnel-Vallee exploring data on Long Term Care policy options in Canada.
Personal project: Studies have shown that rates of deaths caused by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Trinidad and Tobago are relatively high when compared to some other Caribbean states. This paper explores both rates of deaths caused by NCDs and air pollution (as measured by PM2.5 pollution), to trace whether or not a relationship between the two can be statistically proven. Read Aliya's independent project here.
Aliya is currently working at Borealis AI, supporting RBC's innovation strategy.
Read Aliya's spotlight post here!
Marine has conducted research in various settings, from Handicap International Montreal to ELIMU Impact Evaluation Centre in Kenya with Professor Matthieu Chemin to identify effective poverty reduction measures through randomized experiments. As an accomplished marathon runner and a graduate in Economics and International Development Studies, she is excited to apply data science techniques to her future development research projects.
Marine interned at Laboratoire d'Innovation Urbaine de Montreal (previously named Smart City) and working with datasets related to the recent Open Data Policy.
Personal project: This project focuses on the topic of financial access in developing economies and explores the relationship between financial inclusion and informality (not being legally registered as a business) using World Bank Enterprise Survey Data. More specifically, the study attempts to determine whether formality can explain variation in access to finance while controlling for a variety of factors traditionally correlated with financial inclusion such as size, managerial ability, experience etc. This project also examines the major obstacles that prevent informal firms from formally registering and whether some obstacles are more burdensome for particular types of firms (smaller firms, firms managed by women and “reluctant entrepreneurs”). Read Marine's independent project here.
Marine is currently working at OpenNorth, a Montreal-based nonprofit with expertise in open data and civic technology.
Read Marine's spotlight post here!
As a multilingual graduate from a joint honours degree in International Development Studies and Political Science, Juliette wants to work in the field of refugee protection and promotion of their basic human rights. Her work at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Centre for Human Rights Education has given her insight that she hopes to build on through learning more about data science and its application.
Personal project: This project looks at the forthcoming global issue of climate refugees and estimates responsibility scores for the highest carbon dioxide emitting countries. In doing so, it aims to propose a basic climate refugee resettlement model, inspired by the work of UCL professor Bayes Ahmed. Read Juliette's independent project here.
Juliette is currently working as a Junior Researcher at Reuters.
Read Juliette's spotlight post here!
Dexter is currently conducting archival research with Dr. Cindy Blackstock into the history of the school of Social Work, and previously worked with Laura Madokoro to research the history of refugee claims in the Commonwealth. He is an Honours History graduate who is passionate about criminal justice reform, and he has dedicated himself to educating youth about social justice issues through various conferences, such as SSUNS and Junior Peacekeepers.
Dexter interned at the Institute for Research on Public Policy, working with data on cannabis black markets in Canada to inform new marijuana legalization policies.
Personal project: This project looks at racial discrimination in the conditions imposed upon individuals who exit Canadian prisons on parole. The discrepancies identified in the data likely play a role in the higher recidivism rates of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals caught up in the Canadian Justice system. Solutions are proposed that may help the Parole Board of Canada to better fulfill its duty to protect the Canadian public and assist in the successful reintegration of former prisoners. Read Dexter's independent project here.
Dexter is currently working as a Researcher for the Statistics Division of the Department of Justice.
Read Dexter's spotlight post here!
During her joint honours degree in German Studies and Political Science, Emma worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Jacob Levy and was a member of the Research Group on Constitutional Studies. While working as analyst for a consulting firm in England, she was on the functional design team of a national benefit reform system for the UK Department of Work & Pensions. Emma hopes to pursue a career in the field of welfare policy, and believes that quantitative analysis will help her improve these systems.
During the PODS Program, Emma interned at Nexalogy Environics, where she is working with data pulled from Twitter to inform policy surrounding white supremacy movements.
Personal project: The effectiveness of means-tested benefits compared with universal benefits for poverty reduction is hotly contested in conversations about welfare reform across Europe. Means-tested benefits, for example, have earned a bad reputation for increasing the size of the government bureaucracy involved in benefit distribution and rendering the overall system “inefficient.” This paper therefore uses publicly available online data from Eurostat’s Social Protection Statistics in an attempt to answer the question: Is there really a relationship between the proportion of benefits that are means-tested in a country and that country’s child poverty rate? Read Emma's independent project here.
Emma is currently working as a Programme Coordinator for the Data Exploration team at Desjardins Lab.
Read Emma's spotlight post here!
Olivier is graduating with a degree in Honours Sociology and has extensive experience in the field of policy, including work with the Energy Policy Division of the G20 Research Group, the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy, and the United Nations World Food Programme. He is excited to apply the skills he will learn in PODS to research the intersections between public policy, international affairs, and media communications.
Personal project: This project focuses on the topic of financial access in developing economies and explores the relationship between financial inclusion and informality (not being legally registered as a business) using World Bank Enterprise Survey Data. More specifically, the study attempts to determine whether formality can explain variation in access to finance while controlling for a variety of factors traditionally correlated with financial inclusion such as size, managerial ability, experience etc. This project also examines the major obstacles that prevent informal firms from formally registering and whether some obstacles are more burdensome for particular types of firms (smaller firms, firms managed by women and “reluctant entrepreneurs”). Read Olivier's independent project here.
Read Olivier's spotlight post here!
Emily is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and has conducted research at the Institute for Health and Social Policy, the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and Dr. Jeremy Cooperstock’s laboratory. She has dedicated her time to the McGill Peer Support Centre, and she is passionate about using data analysis to increase the accessibility of services and technologies.
Emily interned at Data Sciences Inc., where she is worked with Facebook marketing data. Her project focuses on automating the extraction of data and creating business logic to automate decision making for campaigns.
Personal project: For my PODS policy project, I conducted an exploratory data analysis on the Toronto homeless shelter system using open data from the City of Toronto. Through visualizing occupancy and capacity trends from 56 shelters in Toronto, I have found that the data suggests that refugees and asylum seekers are driving an increase in homeless population. It is also likely that this increase is tied to the current increase in migrants and asylum claimants crossing the Canada-US border due to Donald Trump’s changes in US immigration policy. Read Emily's independent project here.
Emily is currently working as a Data Quality Analyst at Breather.
Read Emily's spotlight post here!