Russ Clay, PhD
The journey that led me to create CommonWealth Data Solutions has been a winding road.
After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in the spring of 2000 with a degree in Information Systems (minor in Business Administration), I managed technology projects for Capital One, Inc. for several years.
In my late twenties, I left my job at Capital One, worked at a group home for foster children for a year, and then went back to school and earned my PhD in Experimental (Social) Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. At VCU, I started building an original program of research studying social and political attitudes.
After graduating, I taught classes (mostly research methods and statistics) over the next two years at the University of Richmond, Concordia University, Northeastern Illinois University, and Aurora University. In 2014, I joined the faculty of the City University of New York (College of Staten Island) as a full time Assistant Professor, teaching and conducting original research and working with the CUNY graduate program in downtown Manhattan.
In the summer of 2016, I accepted a position as a Senior Data Scientist at the University of Virginia Health System, supporting medical research and building a predictive modeling infrastructure for the hospital. I developed a strong skillset in data science during my time at UVA, and it opened my eyes to the potential (and the pitfalls) associated with a data-driven world.
I've had some very diverse professional experiences over the course of my adult life. I've seen unprecedented change in the way that data influences our personal lives as well as our institutions. I know that advances in data-driven technologies can help us build a better future, but they also have the potential to severely disrupt our social structure. I am sure that data will only become more heavily intertwined in everything we do as the years go on, and I am committed to engaging in work that ensures that this happens in an ethical and equitable manner. CommonWealth Data Solutions will be a leader in data consulting for public good.
Plenty of companies offer off-the-shelf, black-box data solutions with lofty promises about the money you will save and the insight you will gain. I've seen so many of these off-the-shelf solutions fail that it isn't worth counting. Extracting truly valuable insight from data is not easy, and doing so in a manner that is interpretable is even harder, but this is my purpose.
I am passionate about using data to promote positive change, and that is the driving force behind all of the work that I do.