The International Computer Science Institute appoints Dr. Lea Shanley as New Director

Dr. Lea ShanleyIn January, Dr. Lea A. Shanley joined the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) as its new Executive Director. With experience in the highest levels of the federal government and major national organizations, Dr. Shanley’s research has focused on the development and application of geospatial technologies, computer-supported cooperative work, and social computing, as well as on science and technology policy issues, such as privacy and indigenous data sovereignty. Most recently, Dr. Shanley was a senior research fellow at the Nelson Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she collaborated globally on scientific and societal challenges through open science and public interest technology.

“On behalf of ICSI’s Board of Trustees, I’d like to welcome Lea as our new Executive Director,” said Dr. Ray Perrault, the Chair of ICSI’s Board of Trustees. “She brings an outstanding background in big data and related issues and experience in key public interest organizations. I look forward to our collaboration.”

Professor Katherine Yelick concurred. “As the Associate Dean for Research in the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society at UC Berkeley, I’m very excited to welcome Lea to ICSI,” she said. “I look forward to working with her in joint research initiatives that combine the unique strengths at CDSS with the strong international connections and deep history of computing research at ICSI.”

Previously, Shanley was a founding co-Executive Director of the South Big Data Innovation Hub, a venture launched by the National Science Foundation in 2015. In that role, she collaborated with research teams across sixteen states and around the globe to create and strengthen cross-sector partnerships in data science; facilitate access to data, tools, and cyberinfrastructure; and create the connective tissue for research communities of interest, including in social cybersecurity.

“I’m delighted and honored to join the ICSI community,” said Shanley. “This world-class institute advances groundbreaking, crucial research in computing, big data, artificial intelligence, networking, privacy, and security. I’m excited to get to work with all of my new colleagues, particularly as we expand our collaborations with the University of California-Berkeley’s new Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science.”

Shanley previously served as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow in the Obama Administration at NASA and 18F, a digital services agency for the federal government within the General Services Administration. There, she co-led the establishment of an open science community of practice across the federal government, as well as the creation of, a White House Memorandum, and a federal statute. Titled the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, this initiative was recognized as one of the top finalists for the 2017 Ash Award by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Prior to this, Shanley led the Wilson Center’s Commons Lab, and served as a Congressional Science Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the US Senate.  Shanley received her Ph.D. focused on geospatial information science and satellite remote sensing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Shanley finds inspiration in three guiding principles, as espoused by Mike Brown, the Director of the Defense Innovation Unit at the US Department of Defense: Curiosity to discover; Humility to learn; and, Boldness to Act. She’s also deeply committed to diversity in all forms, and believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion not only create a stronger and more creative work environment, but also lead to more impactful research and innovations.