Senior Data Scientist, Acacia Center for Justice (Remote)

Full Time
Acacia Center for Justice

Who we are:

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a non-profit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. Vera is an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice.  Vera is committed to securing equal justice, ending mass incarceration, and strengthening families and communities. 

About Acacia Center for Justice:

The Acacia Center for Justice is a new non-profit created through a collaboration between the Vera Institute of Justice (“Vera”) and the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (“CAIR”) Coalition. The CAIR Coalition is a non-profit organization in the focused on providing legal assistance to adult and child immigrants detained by the government in the Capital Region. CAIR adheres to the fundamental belief that all people – no matter their story – deserve to be free, safe, supported, and have access to a just legal system. 

The objective of the Acacia Center for Justice (“Acacia”) is to expand on Vera’s work over the past twenty years in providing legal support and representation to immigrants facing deportation through the development and management of national networks of legal services providers serving immigrants across the country. Acacia’s goals are two-fold: to help non-profit service providers provide exceptional legal services to immigrants and to advocate for the expansion of these programs and the infrastructure critical to guaranteeing immigrants access to justice, fairness, and freedom. Acacia will focus the collective power of both Vera and CAIR Coalition on delivering accountable, independent, zealous and person-centered legal services and representation to protect the rights of all immigrants at risk of deportation.


Please note: This career opportunity will begin as a position with the Vera Institute of Justice that will transition to Acacia Center for Justice on or before July 1, 2022. 

Who you are:

The Senior Data Scientist works independently and collaborates with the Senior Research and Evaluation Associate to supervise and implement mandated and ad hoc research, evaluation, and data analytics (including data visualizations and dashboards) across programs. This role is responsible for developing and overseeing complex codebases for data ingestion and reporting and all aspects of the data management process. The Senior Data Scientist employs robust data science tools in support of ingestion, processing, and analyses, especially of administrative datasets provided by the government. They ensure efficiency and cutting-edge technologies are being applied in all aspects of data management, minimizing overall labor time and costs attached to data reporting and analysis across the contract and programs. In this role, they will provide supervision, support, and mentorship to researchers/data scientists working on projects and initiatives across the organization. 

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Data Infrastructure Management

  • Collaborate with program management staff and external partners to solve difficult data migration, management, and integration challenges;
  • Partner with external consultants to develop and maintain a cloud-based data product ecosystem (e.g., AWS) to automate recurring reporting processes.


  • Develop and manage data science and analytics in support of federal contracts in partnership with other senior research staff, senior programs staff, and external partners; 
  • Employ methodologies such as forecasting, machine learning, network analysis, or survival analysis to inform program evaluation, program performance metrics, and evidence-based program management;  
  • Coordinate with program directors and senior researchers to support Vera’s technical assistance, program management, contract oversight, and broader leadership in the field; 
  • Lead and develop discrete analyses upon request in partnership with senior research staff.

Research Design and Review

  • Partner with the Director of Research and Evaluation and other research leadership to establish a long-term research agenda and research priorities; 
  • Maintain fluency in federal contract requirements as they relate to research and data analysis to ensure that deliverables are responsive and aligned with requirements and best practices around data security and privacy; 
  • Provide consultative advice in the development of research proposals for the purpose of fundraising led by initiative and research leadership;

Team leadership, mentorship, and development

  • Supervise, support, and mentor staff across methodologies responsible for a range of data collection and analytic processes, including oversight of database management, ETL and analytics codebase development, and partnering with 50+ subcontractors nationwide entering program data through Acacia’s databases;
  • Develop and review code using GitHub and mentoring/training other team members in data science methodologies and technical skills;
  • Strategize and build opportunities for professional growth, development, and skill building among supervisees;
  • Support recruitment and hiring for the research team.

Application of research insights

  • Maintain an in-depth understanding of developments in program implementation, program administration, and federal policy to strategically guide analytics in support of the contract and program goals;  
  • Communicate findings from research and data analysis, including representing the work in communication with federal government stakeholders, fielding questions and addressing requests for additional information. 

What qualifications do you need?


  • Commitment to using research and analysis to address and undo racism and inequity in the immigration legal system required; lived experience preferred 
  • Experience with Git and GitHub and dedication to using these tools to conduct peer code reviews and uphold coding standards 
  • Experience leading in a project management role  
  • Experience in a supervision or informal supervision role  
  • Exceptional ability to communicate technical processes to non-technical audiences 
  • Exceptional written and oral communications skills, including the ability to translate and present technical processes to non-technical internal and external audiences
  • Fluency in at least one programming language (e.g. R, Python, C/C++, Java); ability to learn R and other programming languages as-needed while in the role.


  • Bachelors degree + 4-7 years of relevant experience in applied research, computer/data science, natural/social science, or related discipline.  In lieu degree requirement, applicable work or life experience may be considered. 
  • PhD or  Master’s Degree 
  • Experience in the fields of economics, quantitative sociology, computational social science, statistics, measurement, epidemiology, computer science, operations research, or a related field, or experience working on evaluation and measurement on federal contracts 
  • Working knowledge of the AWS data product ecosystem (e.g., S3, ECS, Athena) or similar cloud-based products  
  • Fluency in a language other than English spoken by people impacted by immigration enforcement in the United States 

Additional Eligibility Requirements:

  • In accordance with federal contracts, a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) check is required for this position. While this is not a current hiring requirement, this position may require Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) security clearance in the future (for additional information:

Compensation and Benefits

The compensation range for this position is $94,700 - $100,000. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time and remote work schedules. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Senior Data Scientist, Acacia Center for Justice
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

As a federal contractor, and in order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status. 

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission. 

For more information about Vera, please visit


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