Panel: Data Storytelling and Visualization

NYIT Auditorium on Broadway 1871 Broadway NY NY 10023 May 20, 2017 2:20 pm - 3:15 pm

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Heather Shapiro
Gaia Scagnetti
Charles Matz
Manuel Lima

In this panel, Data Visualization and Data Storytelling experts explore the data from multiple angles: historically; as a data collector; as a creator; and as a developer.  Discuss the meaning and purpose of data visualizations and learn how to make better visualizations in Python.


Charles Matz is the Executive Director of the Center of Excellence for Data Visualization, Entertainment and Education Engineering at the New York Institute of Technology.

The Center of Excellence in Data Visualization, Entertainment, and Education Engineering is a crucible and research hub for all departments and disciplines within NYIT’s global sphere, where industry, government agencies —in collaboration with faculty and students—explore and research relevant technologically rich content as well as examine the role of intellectual property, its development and product creation within the overarching field of digital visualization.

The Center focuses on collaborative cross-disciplinary efforts to foster tangible product outcomes and strong industry initiatives via the integration of hardware and software aspects of geo-spatial information, virtual reality and interactive applications, motion capture, laser scanning, 3-D printing, Big Data analytics, Statistical visualization, and more.

Matz’ research at NYIT focuses on 3D data visualization for built works. He has laser scanned (LIDAR technology-light detection and ranging) the UNESCO designated medieval walled city of Jugol Harar in Ethiopia and multiple heritage sites in Italy.  Prior to joining NYIT, Matz worked for the late Michael Jackson as producer, creative director, designer and logistics expert. Charles Matz is a member of the American Institute of Architects, Royal Institute of British Architects, Certified Interior Designer, and Principal of Charles Matz Architect PC.  International commercial and cultural institution clients and projects include HRH the Prince of Wales, Musée du Louvre, Château de Versailles, the New York Stock Exchange, SONY, J. Walter Thompson Advertising, BBDO, Mobil Research and Development Corporation, Viacom, Disney, and more.


Manuel Lima is the founder of, Design Lead at Google, and a regular teacher of data visualization at Parsons School of Design. Manuel is the author of two books about data visualization; Visual Complexity: Mapping patterns of information and The Book of Trees: Visualizing Branches of Knowledge.

Manuel is a leading voice on information visualization and has spoken at numerous conferences, universities, and festivals around the world, including TED, Lift, OFFF, Eyeo, Ars Electronica and more.  Manuel has worked for Codecademy, Microsoft, Nokia, R/GA, Kontrapunkt, Siemens Corporate Research Center, the American Museum of Moving Image, and Parsons Institute for Information Mapping. He has also been featured in various magazines and newspapers, such as Wired, the New York Times, Science, Nature, Businessweek, Creative Review, Fast Company, Forbes, Grafik, SEED, étapes, and El País.  Manuel holds a BFA in Industrial Design and a MFA in Design & Technology from Parsons School of Design.

Dr. Gaia Scagnetti is an expert in Visual Epistemology as well as Information Visualization and Mapping. Her current research investigates the impact of Information Visualization on design discourse with a focus on design education. At present she is full-time Assistant Professor at the Pratt Institute’s Graduate Communications department in New York. In 2010 Gaia Scagnetti completed a Post Doctoral research at the Design Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As Researcher and Design Strategist at MIT she conducted qualitative research for design in the topic of social sustainability, connectivity and mobility. In 2009 she obtained a PhD degree cum Meritus in Industrial Design and Multimedia Communication at the Politecnico di Milano.

During her doctoral research Gaia has worked as a designer and researcher at the DensityDesignLab in Milan, where she carried out research, design projects and teaching activities on Information Visualization and Mapping. Her works have been featured in several conferences and exhibitions (DesignEd, HyperUrbain.2, the MIT Humanities + Digital Conference, NetSci2010 – Arts | Humanities | Complex Networks, SIGGRAPH09 Emerging technology Conference, the MediaLAB Prado Visualizar08) and publications and showcases (DataFlow 2,, Mapping pattern of information, Malofiej 19, Visual storytelling, Parson Journal of Information Mapping).

Heather Shapiro, Technical Evangelist in Microsoft’s Developer Experience Group, will explore the variety of options available for data visualization in Python using different libraries and understand which ones excel for what type of task. Maps, statistical graphs and interactive visualizations can take that blog post to a whole new level.

Heather Shapiro is a Technical Evangelist in Microsoft’s Developer Experience group, where she educates developers on Microsoft’s new technologies. In this role, Heather works closely with students and developer communities across the North East to understand the newest technologies and architectures. Prior to becoming a Technical Evangelist, Heather completed her undergraduate degree at Duke University and graduated in the Class of 2015. She received her Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and Statistical Science, and completed an Honors Thesis about employing Bayesian Approaches to Understanding Music Popularity. Heather blogs at and tweets at