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RESEARCHERS

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JOSE J. PADILLA

Research Associate Professor - VMASC

Jose J. Padilla is a Research Associate Professor at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University. His primary research focuses on advancing computational modeling methods towards increasing modeling accessibility across ages and across disciplines. His research takes him from the office to in-country fieldwork generating insight into topics ranging from forced migration to community resilience.

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ERIKA F. FRYDENLUND

Research Associate Professor - VMASC

Erika Frydenlund is a Research Associate Professor at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University. Her primary research focus is on migration and mobility. Much of her work focuses on combining quantitative and qualitative data in simulations for understanding the emergence, dynamics, and consequences of human migration and displacement.

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ANTHONY BARRACO

Lead Project Scientist - VMASC

Anthony Barraco works on developing simulation platforms and applications in diverse areas of research at VMASC. He has a bachelor's degree in computer science. His focus at VMASC has been the development of web-based, cloud-deployed applications, geospatial processing, system dynamics simulation modeling, and M&S interoperability.

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KATHERINE S. PALACIO

Assistant Professor - Universidad del Norte

An Assistant Professor at Universidad del Norte's Industrial Engineering Department in Barranquilla, Colombia, Dr. Palacio is an industrious mind dedicated to teaching Data Analysis to aspiring undergraduates. Armed with a master's degree from the same institution and a Ph.D. in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University, she intricately measures performance and concepts by developing indicators and applying the prism of Survey Research. However, Dr. Palacio's passion lies in actively working on social projects requiring interdisciplinary collaboration, offering solutions through data analysis and engineering, thus illuminating new perspectives for a better world.

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HUMBERTO LLINAS

Professor - Universidad del Norte

He is Dr. rer. nat. in Statistics at the University of Mainz (Germany) and Full-Time Professor from Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics.  In addition, he is peer evaluator recognized by and Full and Senior Researcher at Colciencias in Colombia. His research interests are Statistical methods, Biostatistics, and quantitative methods to analyze personality, psychological and educational data, focusing on latent change models and dynamic systems. The experience and expertise he has developed during his career and research endeavors will work to contribute toward achieving the objectives of the activities in the research group.  As co-Investigator, he will bring expertise in statistics and data analysis.

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KRZYSZTOF RECHOWICZ

Research Associate Professor - VMASC

Krzysztof Rechowicz is a Research Associate Professor at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University. His research experience and passion are leveraging technologies to enable people of all abilities to live, work, and learn better. He an interdisciplinary background with an M.S. in Mechanics and Machine Construction from the Warsaw University of Technology and a Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation Engineering from Old Dominion University. A large portion of his academic career focused on building virtual reality-based simulators and decision support systems in application to medicine and manufacturing.

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FARYANEH POURSADAR

Research Assistant Professor - VMASC

Faryaneh Poursardar is a research assistant professor at Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University. Her research focuses on the areas of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and digital archives. Preceding her affiliation with VMASC, she served as a lecturer within the Department of Computer Science and was a member of the Web Science and Digital Libraries (WS-DL) research group at Old Dominion University from Fall 2020-2023. 

Team: Team Members

RESEARCHERS IN TRAINING

In USA: 8. In Colombia: 5

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DANIEL BOLIVAR

Graduate Research Assistant (M.S.)

Psychologist from Universidad del Norte, and currently a member of the Human Development research group (CIDHUM). Additionally, Master's student in Data Analytics at the same university. His primary interests lie in the areas of applied psychometrics and data analytics.

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JHON BOTELLO

Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D.)

Ph.D. Student in computer science at ODU and MS in industrial engineering at Universidad del Norte. Jhon has expertise in machine learning, NLP, simulation, and survey research techniques. He is working on the automation of confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling techniques to build and test models.

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LIA CASTILLO

Research Assistant

Industrial Engineer at Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia. Lia has been working for the last three and a half years on quali-quantitative data analysis related to forced migration and informal settlements in Colombia. Lia is interested in learning multivariate data analysis methods for theory testing.

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SAUMYA DABHI

Graduate Research Assistant (M.S.)

Master's student in Computer Science at Old Dominion University, specializing in Web Development, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Data Analysis. With a strong background in Computer Engineering, he has gained practical experience as a Web Developer and has conducted research in the field of Data Science. Saumya's notable achievements include creating many fully functional web applications and developing a Chrome extension for detecting fake reviews.

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MEL MILLER-FELTON

Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D.)

Second year Ph.D. student in the International Studies Program, with concentrations in Cultural and Comparative Studies, at Old Dominion University. She is also completing a graduate certificate in Women's Studies. Her research interests center around migration, refugee studies, and xenophobia. Melissa is also a clinical social worker with experiences in crisis intervention, community health, acute inpatient hospitalization, hospice/grief, and substance abuse treatment.

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LEIDY GONZALEZ

Graduate Research Assistant (M.S.)

Psychologist from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali, Colombia, and student of the Master in Social Development at Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia. She is a member of the same university's Center for Research in Human Development (CIDHUM). Her research interests relate to attitudes towards migration, community processes in informal settlements and data analysis, latent class modeling, and structural equation modeling techniques. She has experience in topics related to parenting practices, social support networks for youth, and cultural practices in ethnic communities.

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GULJANNAT HUSEYNLI

Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D.)

Ph.D. candidate at Old Dominion University, majoring in Comparative Cultural & Political Studies along with Conflict & Cooperation. A main focus of her research is migration, international cooperation, international organizations, development studies, and feminist foreign policy. In addition to her experience as a teaching assistant, Guljannat also worked with non-profit organizations such as UNDP. Aside from academics, she is actively involved in university student organizations.

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BRIAN LLINAS

Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D.)

Industrial Engineering at Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia, and Ph.D. student in the graduate program in Computer Science. Brian is enthusiastic about data processing, visualization, model selection (ML/Statistics) and NLP. He has been working on developing computational insights about frustration towards migrants in global refugee host communities.

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JOSEPH MARTÍNEZ

Graduate Research Assistant (M.S.)

Modeling & Simulation Engineering Master's Student at ODU. Honors Industrial Engineer at Universidad del Norte, Colombia. I am interested in the application of computational methods, mainly NLP and ML, in industrial and social contexts.

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MEAGHAN MOZINGO

Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D.)

Meaghan is a Ph.D. student in the Instructional Design and Technology program at Old Dominion University. She is interested in addressing social justice problems and empowering individuals and communities facing social, political, and economic marginalization, combining community-based research, participatory modeling, and instructional design. Meaghan co-founded Arts Inclusion Company, an inclusive theatre where all are able. Meaghan assisted in the start-up of Dramatically Able, a theatre experience for actors who are blind or have low vision. She also created and directed inclusive blacklight puppet theatre workshops and performances.

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LAWRENCE OBIUWEVWI

Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D.)

Lawrence Obiuwevwi is a Ph.D. student in computer science at Old Dominion University (ODU). He was an Engineering for Change (E4C) fellow in 2023. Lawrence holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Nsukka. His research centers on emotion detection, trust in artificial intelligence (AI), and trust automation. Lawrence aims to enhance trust in AI systems and help resolve conflicts by exploring the combinations of human emotions and AI. He leverages sensors and computational methods such as machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to advance understanding and applications of AI systems.

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LISS ROMERO

Graduate Research Assistant (M.S.)

Industrial Engineer from Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia. Liss is pursuing her master's degree in Industrial Engineering at the same institution. She is interested in expanding her knowledge in multivariate data analysis. Member of Storymodeleres since 2020.

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VALERIA SILGADO

Graduate Research Assistant (M.S.)

Industrial Engineer and master’s student in Industrial Engineering Program at Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia. Her primary focus revolves around data analysis and machine learning. She has had the opportunity to apply her skills by working on data analysis related to the forced migration of Venezuelans in Colombia.

Team: Team Members

AFFILIATE RESEARCHERS

Interdisciplinarity at its Best

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ZACHEOUS ABANG

Researcher, School of Government
University of Western Cape, South Africa

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MICHAEL ALLEN

Assistant Professor, Political Science & Geography
Towson University, USA

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MARIOS ANDRIOTIS

Senior External Relations Assistant, The UN Refugee Agency, Greece

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JOSHUA BEHR

Research Professor, Virginia Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Center, Old Dominion University, USA

Legal Research and Writing

FRED BIDANDI

Researcher, School of Government
University of Western Cape, South Africa

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HANNE HAALAND

Associate Professor, Global Development & Planning, University of Agder, Norway

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APOSTOLOS SPANOS

Professor, Institute for Religion, Philosophy, & History
University of Agder, Norway

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HEGE WALLEVIK

Associate Professor, Global Development & Planning, University of Agder, Norway

Team: Team Members
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