Establishing Data Science Thought Leaders

The Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute is committed to solving important business and community challenges by harnessing the power of data for research and scientific discovery.

Our research efforts are prioritized by using data to address three major themes:

  • Tackling some of the world’s largest health crises
  • Addressing challenging social issues that affect a large population
  • Finding innovative solutions for business and industry problems

Underlying these areas is an unwavering focus on the ethical use of data to ensure we’re on the cutting edge of data science trends and effecting positive change in a responsible manner.


NMDSI Active Research

NMDSI-supported research advances innovative ideas, while fostering collaborations that will lead to long-term, deep relationships among faculty — across disciplines — at both UW-Milwaukee and Marquette. Through these collaborations, we will maximize contributions to data science while producing internationally-recognized data science research and thought leadership. Check out these current active projects:

The Elecurator Project

The project tracks the major issues engaging both candidates and voters in the 2020 presidential election cycle. Using a technique known as social curation, the team is analyzing multiple sources of data to see what topics are important to voters and how the candidates are speaking about those same issues.

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Meet our Researchers

  • Dr. Thomas M. Holbrook
  • Distinguished Professor and Wilder Crane Professor of Government
  • UW – Milwaukee

Dr. Thomas M. Holbrook works to find ways to use simple methods to deal with relatively complex questions, making his research on U.S. public opinion and voting behavior, more approachable to experts and non-experts alike. His work is focused on campaign dynamics in presidential and local elections and he emphasizes the importance of context in shaping behavior to help how others approach politics.

In his book, Altered States, Holbrook showed that changes in state demographic characteristics over time are only somewhat modestly related to changes in state-level voting patterns in presidential elections. What matters more is how changes in national politics have affected the connections between demographic characteristics and presidential votes in the states. 

When asked about the most influential research finding from data science, Holbrook said, “Not so much a research finding, but the open source revolution and the increased availability of relatively affordable cloud computing has completely changed how we approach data analysis. Among other things, this has facilitated the spread of data and methods to all sorts of groups and organizations that might not otherwise be able to pursue data-based solutions to real-world problems.”

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Affiliated Faculty

The NMDSI Affiliated Faculty program provides resources and support to data science faculty, tracks data science research and education, and facilitates building expert multidisciplinary teams from faculty with overlapping or complementary skills and interests.

By building a data science community based on collaboration and increasing the collective impact of data science research, the NMDSI Affiliated Faculty program brings us one step closer to achieving our goal of transforming our world through the power of data science.

Interested in joining the NMDSI Affiliated Faculty program? Submit your application below.

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