The first recipient of the Steven Weber Futures Fellowship is incoming Ph.D. student Susana Constenla-Villoslada. The fund was established in honor of Professor Steven Weber, whose thirty-year career at UC Berkeley generated actionable insights for a healthier global digital ecosystem, and is awarded to an incoming student across School of Information degree programs whose research interests help decision-makers act with foresight and expand who has access to, and benefits from digital information technologies.
Constenla-Villoslada holds an MS in Applied Economics and Management, with specialization in Development Economics, from Cornell’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and a BS in Agricultural Engineering, with honors, from the Polytechnic University of Madrid. She’s currently a research analyst at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), where she carries out data analysis, research strategy designs, scientific paper writing, and other research tasks related to malnutrition and poverty eradication projects that take place in developing economies.
To date, her work has been centered on the impact evaluation of big-scale poverty eradication projects, the analysis of quantitative resilience measurement methods, and the generation of early warning systems to prevent malnutrition crises; with a regional focus on Central America and Africa South of the Sahara. She plans to continue her research in this area while specializing in the combination of machine learning methods and alternative data sources with traditional econometrics methods and survey datasets.
She says she chose the I School because of its interdisciplinary nature. “At the I School, I found the perfect way to deepen my knowledge in the two fields of study I am most interested in — development economics and computer science,” she said. The freedom of not having to choose between both her interests, coupled with, “the possibility of being advised by people who are doing great work in my research field, like my future advisor Josh Blumenstock, were the main determinants of my decision.”
Constenla-Villoslada, who is originally from a coastal region of Northwest Spain, has lived in Washington DC for the past three years. She says that a trait of her home region’s culture is that people tend to be very multifaceted. “I’ve done so many eclectic things in my life: horseback riding, sailing, learning how to make clothes from scratch, volunteering as a full-time cook in a children’s summer camp, climbing…the list goes on. You have to try everything at least twice!” She’s especially excited about her latest adventure: becoming an I School Ph.D. student.
Gifts to the Steven Weber Futures Fellowship Fund directly support School of Information graduate students who pursue foresight-focused research for healthier and more trustworthy information ecosystems.
If you have questions about how to honor Steve with a gift to the Steven Weber Futures Fellowship Fund, please contact I School Senior Director of Philanthropy, Shanti Corrigan.