Meet the Advisory Board of the UW Master of Science in Data Science

UW Extended Campus February 6, 2023

The online Master of Science in Data Science is supported by an advisory board consisting of 12 to 15 representatives from the industry who serve as advisors, ambassadors, and referral agents to the program.

The advisory board meets bi-annually, and members provide constructive feedback regarding changes in the industry and how those changes affect program graduates. The meetings ensure the program and curriculum stays relevant to trends in data science. Board members are also asked to host students working on capstone projects, and create smooth school-to-work transitions, so that as students graduate from the program they will move to gainful employment.

The advisory board provides recognized leaders in the field with a unique opportunity to further shape the program and data science profession. Learn more about the Advisory Board Member Responsibilities and Advisory Board Guidelines.

If you’re interested in joining the advisory board, please complete the Advisory Board Member Questionnaire for consideration.  We’ll be in touch after submission regarding next steps.

Current UW Data Science Advisory Board Members

Nikhil Arora, Engineering & Data Science Director, Schneider. Arora develops and executes the Data Science, Optimization, and Artificial Intelligence enterprise strategy.  He and his teams research advances in the fields of Data Science, AI, and Software Engineering and apply these to models, architectures, and production systems.  He is a results-proven senior leader who capitalizes on hands-on machine learning, operations research and analytics experience to drive top and bottom-line growth by development of data science products. Nikhil has extensive experience in applying data to make better decisions and is well versed in all aspects of capturing and storing data (warehousing), governing its access and use and generating insights.  Nikhil is a member of Schneider’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grants committee where he endorses financial support for DEI initiatives in the community.  Outside of work, Nikhil volunteers his time to support the underprivileged, is an avid nature photographer, a voracious reader, and loves spending time with his family.


Brent Ferrier, Principal Data Scientist, Oshkosh Defense, Oshkosh Corporation. Ferrier is responsible for the strategy, implementation, and value creation of all data science initiatives within Oshkosh Defense. He has 10 years of experience working in data science where he owned the process from business requirements gathering to full implementation and solution monitoring. He is an alumnus of the UWEX MSDS program. In addition, Ferrier has an MS Cybersecurity with a focus in Public Policy from Georgia Tech giving him expertise in data regulations and how policy affects the data science workflow. He is a 2022 graduate of the UW Parkside MBA program with a focus in supply chain management.


Andrew Fuchs, Portfolio Solutions Architect, CUNA Mutual Group. Fuchs has been with CUNA Mutual Group for over 29 years, working as a data architect on several data warehouse and master data management systems.  He has been involved on a variety of projects supporting analytics and enjoys working with the business teams to help them understand and get value from data. He is currently a solutions architect on a new Microsoft Azure cloud-based data warehouse project, working with business analysts as well as the data science teams on the data and architecture needed to support advanced analytics. He holds a BS and MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Jason Gellings, Director of BI and Analytics, Roehl Transport Inc.  Gellings is a seasoned data leader with a passion for leading change, creating data solutions and providing tangible business value. He has over 20 years of data leadership with significant hands-on experience creating and deploying large scale data science initiatives in the transportation space.  Gellings has led multiple business intelligence projects and teams that provided consistent high-ROI business value for companies in both the insurance and transportation industries.   He has helped develop and mature data programs at multiple organizations, with a focus on team-building and strategic planning and execution.  In his current role he leads the BI and Data teams and is responsible for the Data Science practice. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Math and Computer Science from UW–Oshkosh.


Frank Liao, Director of Data Science and AI, UW Health. Liao is responsible for data science at UW Health, which includes the successful delivery of data science solutions used by doctors, nurses, and administrative staff, to improve the everyday delivery of healthcare. His responsibilities also include investing in data science technology and infrastructure, as well as hiring and growing data science talent to produce high-performing teams that are passionate about using data and technology to improve human health. Liao received his BS, MS, and PhD from the University of California–Berkeley in the department of Electrical Engineering Computer Sciences.



Jody Medeke, Business Intelligence Section Chief at State of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Medeke works to enable data and analytics around some of our states most challenging questions. In addition to the UW Master’s in Data Science Advisory Board, she serves as the Treasurer for the Wisconsin Data Management Association and Co-Chair of the State of Wisconsin Business Intelligence Collaboration Center. Medeke brings to the board a view on how data can influence business, team management, business intelligence, data management, strategic planning, and executive sponsorship.



Ken Paker, CTO, TDS Telecom. Paker is responsible for the technical direction of TDS Telecom’s network and IT evolution. He oversees the delivery of software and infrastructure projects across diverse, state-of-the-art network technologies, as well as the company’s mission-critical IT applications and services. He also directs the planning, engineering, and building of TDS’ networks to ensure customers have access to the most reliable internet, phone, and TV services.

Outside of work, Ken enjoys running and traveling. In fact, he has been to all 50 states with his wife and daughters. He is a self-described lifelong learner and is a 2019 graduate of the master’s in data science program. In addition to that degree, Ken earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Biology from Purdue University, a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Connie Pasierb, President (IT, Data Management, PM Staffing), Tanasi Staffing. Pasierb has over 20 years’ experience in Data Science and Information Technology staffing. She is currently launching her second staffing startup company, Datapro. She has served as the VP of Membership for Wisconsin DAMA since 2010. Her experience includes startups, mergers, sales, recruiting, and management. She has a degree in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago, and her key contribution is making connections.



Vibha Srinivasan, PhD, Vice President, Data Science at Cognite Inc. Dr. Srinivasan leads her team to build data-driven solutions for customers in the energy, manufacturing, power & utilities sectors. Prior to Cognite, Dr. Srinivasan was the head of data science and engineering at Spiceworks Ziff Davis, focusing on building data products for performance marketing and advertising. She has also worked in boutique engineering and data consulting firms in Austin. Dr. Srinivasan has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT.



Joe Wildenberg, Interventional Radiologist and Informaticist, Mayo Clinic—Eau Claire. Wildenberg is a physician with a strong interest in Data Science and Medical Informatics. He realized the importance of the data science skillset during his neuroscience PhD, where data wrangling and analysis techniques proved as useful as the neuroscience knowledge he was studying. His primary interests surround data-driven efficiency gains in the hospital setting and the application of ethical AI in medicine. Joe has Bachelor’s Degrees in Math, Physics and Molecular Biology, as well as Doctorate Degrees in Medicine and Neuroscience, all from UW–Madison.



Missy Wittmann, Data Solution Engineer, American Family Insurance.  Wittmann has worked for over 30 years at American Family Insurance. She is the past President of the Wisconsin Data Management Association and is a past member of the DAMA International Board of Directors.  Missy is very passionate about data and learning. In this ever-changing world of technology, data and learning go hand in hand.




Rebecca Wells, Director, Data & Analytics Architecture at Trane Technologies. Wells is the Enterprise Architect for Data and Analytics at Trane Technologies where she has worked for 20 years.  In this role, she is responsible for developing and driving the future state vision for Data and Analytics across the organization.  This work extends across the many technology, process, and people components that directly touch and are affected by Data and Analytics.  Rebecca is very passionate about helping people connect the dots between the why of business goals and the what & how delivered through data and analytics.

Programs: Data Science