Since graduating from Rice, I've been very lucky to work with two incredible teams to launch two different companies:
Bluebonnet Data is a 501c(4) nonprofit that recruits, trains, and organizes the next generation of data- and tech-savvy leaders in the progressive movement. In 2020, we organized and deployed over 500 volunteers to serve 400+ campaigns across 35 states. In total, our volunteers donated 35,000+ hours of their time to campaigns and causes they believed in.
Moksha Data is a data science consulting firm that specializes in social impact projects. Since our founding, we've had the opportunity to work with incredible partners that are serving Houston's vulnerable populations. Our work includes supporting the City of Houston, Harris County, and Baker Ripley in the distribution of over $100 million in COVID-19 Rental Assistance funding, and working with the Houston Food Bank to support their hunger relief efforts—159 million meals made possible last fiscal year—in the 18 southeast Texas counties they serve.
The most important activities for my professional development that I participated in during my time at Rice were the D2K courses I took and my involvement with the Entrepreneurship program (Owlspark, Lilie, Rice Entrepreneurship Club).
My one piece of advice for aspiring data science students at Rice is to get exposed to data science in industry as soon as possible. Consider opportunities at smaller organizations to get a greater breadth of experience.
Outside of work, I love to play pickup basketball, explore new recipes in the kitchen, and spend time with friends and family.
(When the D2K Lab was first launched in Fall 2018, Ben was one of the students who participated in the D2K Data Science Capstone program. The goal of their project, sponsored by the City of Houston, was to analyze 311 customer survey responses and optimize their operational models.) View more D2K Capstone projects here: https://d2k.rice.edu/project-impact/fall-2018