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Dominiquo Santistevan

Class of 2018-2019

About Dominiquo

(updated 2/2019) Dominiquo Santistevan graduated from MIT in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Growing up in the city of Pueblo, Colorado, Niquo dreamed of becoming a theoretical mathematician; it wasn’t until arriving at MIT that he was exposed to the world of data science and artificial intelligence as well as the world beyond the U.S. border. Through the lens of data science, he was able to ground his questioning of human-environmental interactions with empirical data. During a year at the University of Cambridge through the Cambridge-MIT Exchange program, he interned in Paris and analyzed pollution data to predict the infamous pollution spikes that shrouded the city in a haze in winter. Back at MIT, he performed research with his advisor, Yan Leng, in the Human Dynamics Lab of the MIT Media Lab. He studied the Familiar Stranger Phenomenon, which concerns people who often share physical proximity but have no direct interactions. Using anonymized cell phone data provided by the Government of Andorra, he inferred these physical interactions and social networks between callers, and this in turn helped quantify the likelihood of future social interactions between two callers as well as identify common geospatial communication channels throughout the country. This work was presented at NetMob 2017, the leading conference for mobile phone data analysis. At the Makerere University Artificial Intelligence laboratory in Kampala, Uganda, Niquo conducted research on image recognition and its applications, using mobile phone photos to diagnose cassava leaves for diseases such as cassava mosaic virus. Niquo then spent a year in Santiago, Chile working at Adolfo Ibañez University’s GobLab. Working at the intersection of big data and public policy, he and his GobLab colleagues worked on bringing data-driven decision making to Chilean legislature. 
Niquo is currently a 2018-2019 Luce Scholar, working as a Data Specialist at Phandeeyar Innovation Lab in Yangon, Myanmar. He and his team work with local NGOs and CSOs to leverage technology to create positive social change. He is also studying the network of data users in Myanmar to observe the effects of community exchange in open data initiatives. Niquo plans to pursue a doctoral degree in Social Computing, a multidisciplinary field linking social science and data science. When not in front of his computer, Niquo enjoys frequenting jazz clubs in whichever city he’s in, listening for foreign twists on American Jazz Standards.

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