BIDS welcomes Fall 2022 Data Science Research Scholars

July 29, 2022

This fall, BIDS is excited to announce the arrival of a new cohort of Data Science Research Scholars, postdoctoral researchers representing a range of interests in criminal justice, education, and responsible AI. Each will be working with faculty mentors at UC Berkeley and BIDS’ partner organizations to expand the reach of their research.

Kyla BourneKyla Bourne works to improve direct, empirical accountability of criminal law enforcement. She uses novel data to evaluate whether ongoing institutional changes have resulted in meaningful decarceration reform. She has also focused on evaluating the effect of charging decisions, which were made by newly-elected local reformist prosecutors on ending mass incarceration. As a BIDS-Accenture Data Science Research Scholar, Dr. Bourne will collaboratively build a national database of police misconduct records under the mentorship of BIDS Faculty Affiliate, David J. Harding. Dr. Bourne will begin her appointment in this position on August 1, 2022.

George ObaidoGeorge Obaido is a BIDS-CHAI Data Science Research Scholar being mentored by BIDS Faculty Affiliate Rediet Abebe, an assistant professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley. His current work, which focuses primarily on education research, is funded by UC Berkeley’s Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence (CHAI). Dr. Obaido completed his PhD in Computer Science at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. His research interests lie in using machine learning to find solutions to problems of societal importance. Dr. Obaido will begin his appointment in this position on August 1, 2022.

Meryem EssaidiAs a BIDS-Accenture Data Science Research Scholar focusing on responsible AI, Meryem Essaidi will be mentored by UC Berkeley professors Rediet Abebe (EECS) and Tolani Britton (School of Education). She is currently completing a PhD in Computer Science at Princeton University, and previously completed a dual MSE and BSE in computer science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research is in the areas of algorithms, algorithmic game theory, mechanism design, and their applications to social good, inequality, and distributive justice. Dr. Essaidi is scheduled to begin her appointment in this position in December 2022.

According to BIDS Executive Director Ashish Sahni, who will supervise this group’s research engagement at BIDS, “This group represents a new era in BIDS research as we expand into new focus areas in responsible AI, criminal justice, and education. I’m delighted to welcome these new researchers to the BIDS community, and I look forward to working with them as they engage in impactful projects that build bridges across disciplines.”


Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, Accenture offers Strategy and Consulting, Technology and Operations services and Accenture Song—all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 710,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. Accenture embraces the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities.

The Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence (CHAI) is a multi-institution research group based at UC Berkeley, with academic affiliates at a variety of other universities. CHAI’s goal is to develop the conceptual and technical wherewithal to reorient the general thrust of AI research towards provably beneficial systems and behaviors – and because the meaning of ‘beneficial’ depends on human properties, this task inevitably includes elements from the social sciences in addition to AI.

Featured Fellows

Kyla Bourne

Criminal Justice
BIDS-Accenture Data Science Research Scholar

George Obaido

BIDS-CHAI Data Science Research Scholar

Meryem Essaidi

Responsible AI
(Responsible AI)

David J. Harding

Sociology, D-Lab, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate

Rediet Abebe

EECS, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate

Ashish Sahni

Executive Director