Meet ORAU Employee Nick Grokhowsky. Nick is an ORAU contractor working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Data Manager. He has contributed to the collection and analysis of data for numerous studies with the goal of better understanding the environmental factors that negatively affect human health.
Initially, Nick’s role involved assisting several studies focused on the location analysis of lead levels in children less than six years old throughout the United States. These studies used various cluster detection and machine learning techniques to identify groups of high blood lead levels and the social and environmental factors related to exposure.
Additionally, he participated in the data management for the National Children Study (NCS) by parsing large amounts of data and providing critical analysis for the EPA researchers. His contributions will be used for numerous studies regarding the effects of many chemical analytes (including Pb, Hg, Cd, As, PFAS, PFOA, and phthalates) on pregnant women and children across forty geographical regions in the United States.
Currently, with the EPA team, Nick is designing a geospatial data science project that will allow the county level prediction of PFAS and PFOA based on the health conditions related to these chemicals. Before geospatial analysis can begin, the project requires data collection from numerous online sources, aggregation of these data sets, and identification of sociodemographic and environmental variables. By identifying the causes and locations of these pollutants, the EPA is able to better assist states with their efforts to combat the pollutants causing serious health conditions.
“The small part that I have played in each of these studies will contribute to efforts to clean up or mitigate the damages caused by these pollutants,” Nick said. “I am proud to say that my efforts with the EPA in the last ten months will make a difference.”
After more than a decade as a producer, business consultant, and entrepreneur in the insurance industry, Nick redirected his career into the field of data science and analytics, with a focus in geospatial data science. In 2018, he earned his master’s degree in forest resources and conservation with a focus in geomatics from the University of Florida and completed a graduate certificate in computer programming from Harvard University in 2019.
Aside from developing data science projects, Nick spends most of his time with his wife, three children, and their dog. They enjoy hiking, playing sports, and watching movies. Recently, they were able to travel to Scotland and Ireland and have their sights set on France, Germany, and Switzerland. But their next immediate adventure involves welcoming a new Bernese Mountain puppy into the family.