WIA Team

WIA Team

Rehgan Avon

Founder & President

Joined WIA: 2016

Rehgan graduated from The Ohio State University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering specializing in Data Analytics. She has taught Introduction to Data Science courses to MBA students across the US. During her time at is the Product Manager at Open Data Group. At OSU, she launched the Big Data and Analytics Association and hosted the inaugural Women in Analytics Conference in order to showcase women doing amazing things in the analytics space. Outside of work, Rehgan enjoys traveling, scuba diving, and hiking.

Lauren Burke

Director of Operations

Joined WIA: 2018

Lauren Burke is a Data Scientist at Abercrombie & Fitch who loves finding creative solutions to complicated problems. She graduated in 2017 from The College of Wooster with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics. At Wooster, Lauren completed a Senior Thesis investigating machine learning heuristics as solution techniques to a large-scale Traveling Salesman Problem. Lauren is passionate about initiatives that promote women and girls in STEM, currently serves on the COSI YP Board and as an advisor for #BUILTBYGIRLS, and enjoys reading, hiking, rock climbing in her free time.

Katie Sasso-Schafer

Speaker/ Content Council Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2017

Katie Sasso-Schafer, Ph.D. is a Data Scientist at the Columbus Collaboratory. Katie received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University with a focus on Experimental and Quantitative (minor) Psychology. During her Ph.D. program she worked as a graduate research associate at the Nationwide Insurance Center for Advanced Customer Insights, using experimental methods and statistical analyses to optimize customer outreach and develop novel risk assessment strategies. At the Columbus Collaboratory, Katie works on a variety of data science projects across several industries. She also enjoys leading Use Case Discovery Workshops and managing project progress across the team. Outside of work, Katie is an avid R user and co-organizer of R-Ladies Columbus meet up. She has been a member of the WIA team member since 2017 with a focus on content and speaker curation.

Jen Heider

Logistics Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2018

Jen Heider is part of the Data & Analytics team at Huntington National Bank. After graduating as the pilot student for the OSU BS Industrial and Systems Engineering Data and Analytics track, she began her career as a data science consultant at IBM, where she built her data science skills on projects across multiple industries. She then went on to work as a Data Scientist at Express. Jen is currently pursuing her MS in the ISE Data and Analytics track at OSU part-time while working for Huntington. In her free time, Jen loves reading, running, and outdoor activities of all kinds.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Assistant Speaker Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2017

Elizabeth Gilbert is a Data Analytics major at The Ohio State University and Vice President of the Big Data & Analytics Association. Elizabeth is passionate about using data science to understand the world and improve products, and loves building opportunities for communities around analytics. Last summer, Elizabeth joined the data science team at Caterpillar doing engine analytics. Prior to that she worked on the analytics intern team at CAS doing NLP, and conducted biostatistics research modeling the stress hormone cortisol in hair. Outside of school, Elizabeth enjoys playing cello at her church and runs a photography business

Jake Barry

Marketing Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2019

Jake is a senior insights analyst at Express focused on omni channel operations, store initiative testing, and consumer research and insights. Prior to Express, he developed insights and analytics experience across multiple industries, including fashion retail, CPG, government, nonprofit, and SaaS). Jake is passionate about data visualization and enjoys teaching various analysis and visualization platforms and methodologies (including data storytelling, visualization, Tableau, advanced Excel/Power Query/VBA, SQL, and Microstrategy Dossier). Outside of work, Jake spends his time raising two curious kids, volunteering for political campaigns and organizations, and producing short films with his best friends.

Mai Alowaish

Showcase Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2019

Mai Alowaish is a Lead Analytics Consultant at InfoTrust LLC based in Blue Ash, Ohio. Mai is an advocate of supporting and empowering the women in analytics and tech overall. Mai is a mentor at the Digital Analytics Association, and a previous speaker at the WIA2019. Mai is also a volunteer in the Tech Corps Analytics Program and OSU's Women in Data Science Summer Camp, as she's passionate about helping the youth get into STEM and learn about data.

Sahanna Bhatt

Registration Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2019

Sahanna Bhatt is a clinical informatics analyst on the Population Health Analytics team at OhioHealth in Columbus, Ohio. As a population health data analyst, she is passionate about improving healthcare delivery and outcomes through technology. At OhioHealth, Sahanna delivers analytic solutions for business and healthcare clients across the enterprise. Prior to joining OhioHealth, Sahanna consulted for Booz Allen Hamilton, in Norfolk, Virginia, where she supported the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center as a clinical epidemiologist. Her educational background includes a Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from Columbia University (with a graduate certificate in infectious disease epidemiology) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Public Health from The Ohio State University. She is currently working towards a Masters of Science (MS) in Data Science (with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence) from Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies.

Sara Ernest

Day-Of Volunteer Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2018

Sara is excited to be coming back for her second year on the committee for the 2020 Women in Analytics Conference. She is currently an Analyst in Finance Operations at Cardinal Health and has many years of experience in insurance claims and fraud analytics, where she began her journey with data. In her personal time, Sara enjoys running, dancing and reading and will take advantage of any opportunity that will put her near the ocean.

Deneisha Franklin

Outreach/Partnerships Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2019

Deneisha is an ambitious, young professional who is passionate about executing solutions aimed towards incorporating change. She is dedicated to spending her time on activities that positively impact those around her. Deneisha is a Business Intelligence Analyst at The Wendy’s Company and serves on the leadership team for two Wendy’s Employee Networks. Prior to joining Wendy’s, she helped over 40 technologists further their careers as an IT recruiter. Deneisha is an Ohio University Alum and enjoys integrating her Sociological background with the tech industry, which fuels her passion for driving the importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Corporate America. Deneisha is also a founding member of the local, Columbus organization, #BlackTech614. Outside of working, she enjoys dancing, writing, and booking spontaneous trips on Skyscanner.

Meredith Howard

Volunteer Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2019

Meredith earned a PhD in experimental nuclear physics from The Ohio State University. As a postdoc for Rutgers University, she worked on nuclear physics experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. In determining how to salvage data from a malfunctioning detector during a nuclear experiment, she researched and successfully applied neural networks to solve the problem. This was her first encounter with machine learning, a field she has been interested in ever since. Meredith moonlights as an armchair therapist to physicists to help them transition from academia into industry positions in data science and machine learning. Most of her efforts have been through talks on the use of machine learning in physics research, and on incremental changes physicists can make to become generally more marketable in data analytics. Meredith currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her two children and husband, one of the physicist-turned-ML-engineers. She is currently working on her own conversion to the private sector.

Dio-Ann Valmores

Activities Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2019

During the workday, I am a Data Analytics Manager for a retail company, Title Nine, which sells women's athletic wear. And on the side, I volunteer as the Executive Director at a non-profit, Parangal Dance Company, a Filipino folk dance company. In both companies, I get to use my skills in data and management while enjoying my love for outdoor activities and dance. I am looking forward to volunteering for the WIA Conference and being a bigger part of this great community. I am based out of the San Francisco Bay Area and I hope to make many new friends and contacts while making myself a useful resource for others.

Abby Hammond

Merchandise Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2019

Abby Hammond is an Epidemiologist in the Data Analytics and Research team at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD). At DODD, Abby focuses on ongoing reporting and projects. Some of her work includes helping with the Making Lives Better Project, QuickStats, "Opoiod Overdoses Among Individuals Served By DODD", "Septicemia Among Individuals Served By DODD", "Serving Individuals with Developmental Disabilities in Rural Ohio", and more. Abby received her BSPH with a concentration in Sociology and her MPH in Epidemiology from The Ohio State University. Outside of work, Abby enjoys spending time with her labradoodle Duke, and managing "Meal Prep School", and Instagram and Facebook page dedicated meal planning and kitchen hacks.

Jill Delaney-Shal

Sponsorship Coordinator

Joined WIA: 2019

Jill graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. She is passionate about building technology solutions to revolutionize and transform. Currently in the defense industry at JJR Solutions, she builds cyber analytic tools to connect disparate data sources and drive superior decision making. Prior to JJR, she worked at LEXIS-NEXIS leading software development across the U.S., Asia, Europe, and Australia to develop online legal research tools. Jill is passionate about supporting technology as a career path for women as her engineering training has enabled economic benefit, flexibility to raise a family, and travel to work with colleagues around the globe. In her free time, Jill enjoys traveling, photography, and running. She is extremely excited to join the WIA team. After attending the 2019 conference, she left energized and determined to get more involved with this incredible organization.

Mimi Shalash

Sponsorship Committee

Joined WIA: 2019

Mimi Shalash is an experienced data software & product sales account executive currently working at Quest Software. Her current role encompasses data protection, disaster recovery, and performance monitoring against the threat of Zombie VMs! Mimi also serves on the leadership team for WITI (Women in Tech International) and DAMA (the Central Ohio Chapter of the Data Management Association). Among her many community engagements, you can find her championing on behalf of underrepresented groups in STEM while also presenting businesses with impact data on the importance of driving social change. 

Matthew Walker

Volunteer Analyst

Joined WIA: 2019

I'm a rising Junior studying Data Analytics in the Honors program at Ohio State, with a minor in Critical & Cultural Theory. I have experience with analytics in the non-profit and startup consulting space, with a passion for approaching problems with empathy and a humanities mindset regardless of scale. In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing and volunteering for causes advocating for diversity and inclusion. I'm also proud to be on the e-board of the Big Data and Analytics Association on campus. I'm excited to be one small part of this empowering community and learn from everyone who makes the WIA conference such a memorable experience.

Ariadna Martinez Gonzalez

Volunteer Analyst

Joined WIA: 2019

I am a Data Scientist, applied micro-economist, and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Currently, my work involves creating statistical and mathematical models to optimize marketing strategies, predict behavior, and reduce risk exposure. Of course, I also do lots of data mining and SQL queries to get the data I need for my analyses. My skills set includes econometric analysis, big data analysis, data management,, and business intelligence. Moreover, during my Ph.D. studies, my fields of specialization were development, regional, and agricultural economics, and I specialized in finance, and specifically microfinance, during my Master’s program. I also have experience in geospatial analysis, and remote sensing data analysis, acquired through my work at the Battelle Center for Science and Technology and through the research for my dissertation. In addition to my experience in my Ph.D. studies I have several years of industry experience including economic analysis and financial research work for Mexico’s Central Bank (Banco de México), the microfinance program of the Ministry of Economy in Mexico (PRONAFIM), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). My experience comprises: • 14 years performing economic research using econometric models, and statistical software (9 years of Stata; 7 of Excel Macros; 3 years of Matlab, SAS, R, Python, ArcGIS, Google Earth Engine (JavaScript), Latex, EViews, Frontier Analyst, SPSS, and Quickbooks; and 1 year of SQL, Power BI, and Linux). • 8 years working in finance, microfinance, credit analysis, financial regulation, econometrics, survey research, development, and agricultural economics.

Chloe Li

Logistics Committee

Joined WIA: 2019

Meng Li (Chloe) is a Marketing Data Analyst at DSW. She is a young professional who is passionate about improving marketing efforts and understanding customer behavior through analytic solutions. She founded TechLytics at DSW, and is eager to build a collaborative, cross-functional space for innovation in data, analytics, and technology. Chloe received her Master’s degree from University of Colorado, Boulder in Business Analytics. During her Master’s program, she worked as predictive analyst at HGST and built statistical models to predict hard driver failure rate. Outside of work, Chloe enjoys hiking and boxing. Her favorite hike is Angels Landing in Zion National Park.

Shannon Hollars

Logistics Committee

Joined WIA: 2019

Coming soon!

Jenna Kline

Logistics Committee

Joined WIA: 2019

Jenna graduated from The Ohio State University in 2018 with a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering specializing in Data Analytics. Through OSU's Honors Integrated Business and Engineering Program, she completed a project with CERN's Knowledge Transfer Program in Geneva, Switzerland. Jenna currently works at LBrands as a developer for the Data Services team. In her free time, Jenna enjoys reading, traveling, and backpacking.

Brian Sampsel

Sponsorship Committee

Joined WIA: 2019

Brian Samspel is the Vice President of Analytics at the Columbus Collaboratory where he uses data to help organizations make better decisions, through a background in analytics and a consultative mindset.

Heath Rittler

Sponsorship Committee

Joined WIA: 2019

Resourceful, high energy analytics professional with 11 years of experience leading a team through challenge and change by implementing strategic planning, establishing direction and executing initiatives in support of business objectives and corporate goals. Strategic problem-solver with proven ability managing benefits initiatives aimed at bottom-line results.

Kelly Woods

Sponsorship Committee

Joined WIA: 2019

Kelly Woods is from Dayton, OH and lives with her husband and dog. Kelly earned a Business/MIS degree from Ohio University, an MBA from Franklin University and has 20 years of IT experience in Columbus, OH.

Beth Menduni

Show Producer

Joined WIA: 2019

I am a storyteller. I help purpose driven brands share their story through video marketing. For the WIA, I run the AV side of the event.

Ashly Priest

Director, Events & Experiential

Joined WIA: 2019

Ashly is a Multi-Hyphenate-Multi-Talent-Social-Creative. After earning a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design, she focused her creativity on lingerie, spending over a decade living and working in New York City. She has designed for global and boutique brands like Victoria's Secret, La Senza, and Darkest Star. She is involved in several philanthropic ventures, lending her talents and connections in the design world to create fundraising events for different charities. Deemed “The Field Trip Leader” by her friends, Ashly is a consummate planner and a walking party, all rolled into one. With ten-plus years in event design, planning and coordinating, she has produced top fundraising rock concerts for educational-based charities, and acted as press liaison for millennial-oriented galas and unconventional events. Ashly thrives on the high-energy environment of things that take place in real-time – events, concerts, and one-night-only experiences. Making magic, Insta-memories, and having a ridiculously good time while getting things done is her M.O.

Advisory Board

Katie Sasso-Schafer

Data Scientist

Columbus Collaboratory

Dave Cherry

Executive Strategic Advisor

Cherry Advisory, LLC

Kelly Denney

Director of Data Science & Clinical Analytics

Radiology Partners

Ben Blanquera

VP, Customer Success & Experience

Columbus Collaboratory

Reshama Shaikh

Statistician & Board Member


Content Council

Katie Sasso-Schafer

Content Council Lead
Data Scientist
Columbus Collaboratory

Kathy Koontz

SVP Customer Complaint Analytics & Insights
Wells Fargo

Rebecca Bilbro

Chief Data Scientist
ICX Media, Inc.

Nicole Alexander

SVP, Chief Innovation Expert

Robin Davies

Director, Data & Insight Strategy
Ford Motor Company

Lara Sucheston-Campbell

Associate Professor
The Ohio State University
College of Pharmacy

Kelly O'Briant

Solutions Engineer
RStudio, Inc.

Bijaya Zenchenko

Principal Data Guru

Kelly Denney

Director, Data Science & Clinical Analytics
Radiology Partners

Ezgi Karaesmen

PhD Student
The Ohio State University


Solutions Engineer, RStudio, Inc.

Kelly O'Briant

Washington, D.C.

Information Management Officer - United Nations Peace Operations

Avishan Bodjnoud

New York City, NY

VP, Analytics & Marketing - M8 Performance

Anisa Boumrifak

Munich, Germany

Dinushki De Livera

Business Intelligence Analyst - UNIFUND CCR

Dinushki De Livera

Cincinnati, OH

Chief Analytics Officer - The Ohio State University

Molly Schmied

Columbus, OH

Chief Data & Analytics Officer - NtelliSights

Leigh McCormack

Chattanooga, TN

Associate Professor - The Ohio State University, College of Pharmacy

Lara Sucheston-Campbell

Columbus, OH

VP, Products & Marketing - Alluxio

Dipti Borkar

San Mateo, CA

Program Chair, MS in Data Analytics - Franklin University

Nimet Alpay

Columbus, OH

SVP, Head of Finance & Compliance Model Development Enterprise Risk - SunTrust Bank

Eva Cruz

Atlanta, GA

Associate Director, Data Analytics Program - Denison University

Michael Brady

Granville, OH

Director of Research - Civiqs

Rachel Sinderbrand

Washington, DC

Researcher & Data Analyst - Coordination of Human Assistance (CHA)

Fazila Rahimy

Kabul, Afghanistan

Data Scientist - Volanno

Gwynn Sturdevant

Bethesda, MD

Head of Customer Center, Customer Experience, Analytics, Sales & Marketing Division - American Chemical Society / CAS

Judith Horvath

Lancaster, OH

Geospatial Analyst Fellow - Sanergy

Laura Mugeha

Nairobi, Kenya

Manager of Analytics, Data Deployment & Visualization - Abbot

Kristy Wedel

Columbus, OH

AVP, Data & Analytics - Safelite Group

Jim Perry

Columbus, OH

Data Science Analyst - Infor

Priyanka Gagneja

Boston, MA

Sr. Product Manager - Huntington Bancshares, Inc.

Shilpa Naik

Lewis Center, OH

Founder - Women in Power BI User Group

Liz Amador

Salt Lake City, UT

Data Scientist - Nordea / Co-Organizer - WIMLDS Trojmiasto

Magdalena Kortas

Gdansk, Poland

Senior Data Analyst - DHL

Till Büttner

Bonn, Germany

Student Ambassadors

Senior, Data Analytics - The Ohio State University

Elizabeth Gilbert

Columbus, OH

Senior, Data Analytics - The Ohio State University

Cole Smith

Columbus, OH

Sophomore, Computer Science & Statistics - Rice University

Emma Dunn

Houston, TX

PhD, Robotics - University of Leeds

Fanta Camara

Leeds, United Kingdom

Graduate Student, Health Information Management & Systems - The Ohio State University

Kayla Dixon

Columbus, OH

Master's, Data Analytics Engineering - Northeastern University

Snehal Dahiphale

Boston, MA

Master's, Data Science - Lipscomb University

Kimberly Glock

Madison, AL

PhD, Physics - The Ohio State University

Jiaxin Wu

Beijing, China

Bachelor's, Information Technology - National Institute of Technology Karnataka

Madhuparna Bhowmik

Bengaluru, India