Social Scientist @ United States Department of the Army
The University of Connecticut
“Data scientist” means a thousand different things, so here’s my definition. Solutions come from addressing both business and implementation problems. Implementation means setting up technologies for getting from point A to point B. Business means figuring out where point A is and where point B ought to be. We make things hard for ourselves when we jump
“Data scientist” means a thousand different things, so here’s my definition. Solutions come from addressing both business and implementation problems. Implementation means setting up technologies for getting from point A to point B. Business means figuring out where point A is and where point B ought to be. We make things hard for ourselves when we jump straight to implementation without really defining our business. I’m an implementer who puts business problems first.
“Anthropologist” can mean a lot of different things too, so here’s what I mean by term. I’m not content to just survive a new setting - I need to fully integrate myself into it, even though I know I’ll never be a native. That middle ground is an opportunity. I can interact freely with the “locals” on their own terms, while my outsider status lets me more easily see things others have stopped noticing. That’s as useful in a company as it is in any exotic society.
My ethnographic fieldwork has ranged from the study of teenager responses to classroom innovation, to people’s adoption of new social movements in Central Asia. I worked for the U.S. Department of the Army to smooth military-civilian collaboration in conflict zones, then shifted my role to statistically mine unstructured data coming out of the war in Afghanistan. Then I joined the largest accredited experiential education company in the United States as its Director of Research and Data Science. Then joined a financial startup, finding large-scale patterns in consumer behavior to identify investment opportunities. Now I use assessment results and behavioral data to help provide a better education for kids, many of whom would otherwise be trapped in failing schools.
Recruiters, if you want to pitch me an opportunity, please send *detailed* answers to these questions: In what ways will I be able to create deliverables that last (not just writing reports)? In what ways will I be able to interact directly with humans (not just with data)?
Director of Data and Analytics @ I direct a team whose responsibilities range from ensuring data integrity (test administration, data entry, etc.) to leveraging data in day-to-day decisions. I build analytic apps that automate our analyses and give non-technical staff access to advanced analyses in a format they can use. I coordinate the efforts of our ethnographer and our partnerships team to make sure our users have a voice and that we learn about opportunities to improve our tools as soon as possible. I help our students get the best education we can possibly provide them. I help data yield insights, and then I help that data get out of the way so we can focus on our students. From November 2014 to Present (1 year) Greater New York City AreaData Scientist @ I reduced the cost of unanswered questions by reducing the total number of questions that required answers: I performed quality control on our database records to figure out just how much we could assume about our data and trained machine learning models, simulations, and visualizations to distill information in a way that allowed our stakeholders to wrap their minds around major lessons without getting overwhelmed by volume. From December 2013 to October 2014 (11 months) Greater New York City AreaDirector of Research and Data Science @ My time split pretty evenly between building statistical models (market segmentation, customer retention), automating data management (lead tracking and processing, data curation), and managing the company’s web presence (search engine optimization/marketing, data-driven design). I managed two junior data scientists, a web developer, and two web designers. If a job was too big, too complicated, or too important to do in Excel, or if it required any amount of experimental design, it went through my team. From January 2012 to December 2013 (2 years) Charlottesville, VirginiaSocial Scientist @ I helped conduct the first (and to my knowledge, only) statistical model of improvised-explosive-device outcomes in Afghanistan. My text mining of detainee interrogation reports caught the attention of members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff within 24 hours of being published. My model of correlation between militant attacks/coercion and infrastructure development projects was incorporated into a major report for the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. But, truth be told, I’m more proud of my blog. For over a year, my posts were regularly distributed to a couple hundred strategic planners at the CIA and other intelligence organizations. I wish I could link to those posts, but they were all on the classified networks (even though I studiously avoided classified work). I suspect my blog posts had more impact than my official assessments ever did. From March 2009 to January 2012 (2 years 11 months) Charlottesville, VirginiaPrincipal Investigator @ I landed in Bishkek in 2006 without a single contact in the entire country – I had paid a study-abroad organization to find me a Kyrgyz teacher, who met me at the airport, showed me to my apartment, and started giving me language lessons. By 2008, I had contacts in all seven provinces of the country, having conducted 70 in-depth interviews with people ranging from political activists to the imam of Issyk Kul province. I trained and deployed 21 local research assistants to distribute 1500 surveys across 29 locations, completing the $35,600 project one month ahead of schedule and $5000 under budget. From June 2006 to June 2008 (2 years 1 month) KyrgyzstanInstructor/Activist @ In addition to teaching social/behavioral research and writing and cross-cultural communication to courses of 30 to 350 students, I also became something of an agitator (in the best sense of the word). When my colleagues and I wanted course offerings that specifically catered to our research needs, I coaxed the department chair into giving us credit for a course we created and conducted ourselves. When the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences unexpectedly cut department budget by two-thirds, effectively firing many of my colleagues, I started an email campaign that mobilized student government, the Board of Regents, and the local newspapers to reinstate half the cut funds. From August 2004 to June 2007 (2 years 11 months) Storrs, ConnecticutInstructor/Program Coordinator - Upward Bound @ I coordinated a post-high-school transition program for 21 first-generation college students, arranging university familiarization activities and teaching writing skills, time and money management, and critical thinking. From June 2001 to July 2004 (3 years 2 months) Ogden, UtahArea Administrator @ I coordinated ecclesiastical efforts of seven independent teams and acted as bridge between on-the-ground workers and organizational leadership. In addition to my every-day activities, I created a program to better document and disseminate information about current and potential organizational members, so fewer people would slip through the cracks. From November 1999 to November 2000 (1 year 1 month) Ukraine
Ph.D., Anthropology, 4.0 @ The University of Connecticut From 2006 to 2008 M.A., Anthropology, 4.0 @ The University of Connecticut From 2004 to 2006 B.A., Anthropology, European Studies, Middle-Eastern Studies, 3.9 @ Weber State University From 2001 to 2004 Schaun Wheeler is skilled in: Research Design, Python, Machine Learning, SQL, R, Ethnography, Statistics, Qualitative Research, Data Analysis, Research, Program Evaluation, Policy Analysis, Teaching, Data Collection, Writing, Public Speaking, Editing, Data Management, Strategic Planning, Data Science, Data Visualization, Shell Scripting