Alumni couples support data science at the Library

In today’s fast-paced, tech-driven world, data science is foundational to nearly every field—informing decisions that impact our health, the environment, politics and society. With the generous support of alumni donors, the UC Davis DataLab is rising to the challenge of helping students and researchers build those skills.

Specializing in data science and informatics, DataLab offers hands-on learning opportunities and resources for every subject area across the university. This interdisciplinary program, housed at Shields Library, also partners with faculty on cutting-edge research.

Three alumni couples have recognized DataLab’s critical role at UC Davis by establishing endowments, committing to the vision that DataLab’s services should be supported in perpetuity.

Ely Estoesta ’10, M.S. ’14 and Timothy Jurka ’10 gave $50,000 to create the Estoesta-Jurka Family Research Endowment, plus a $25,000 current-use gift to support the DataLab Experiential Learning and Research Fund in December 2021. Additionally, a portion of the gift was matched by Microsoft, owner of LinkedIn, where Jurka works as a senior director of engineering.

“We felt so fortunate to have mentors and advisors who encouraged interdisciplinary learning. We wanted to pay it forward so students can be funded to pursue interdisciplinary projects,” Jurka said.

Also in 2021, Barbara ’70 and Paul Schneeman M.S. ’86 created the $50,000 Schneeman Library Endowment to advance learning opportunities at the DataLab, in addition to giving $10,000 to the same fund in May 2022. They also gave a $1,500 current-use gift to the DataLab’s general support fund in 2020.

The Schneemans are pleased their generosity will support the DataLab’s mission of “using data in a way that helps solve problems and helps people understand where they are going with their research,” Paul Schneeman said.

Likewise, Diane ’72 and Rich Zimmerman ’72, M.S. ’78 made a $50,000 commitment this year to the DataLab. In addition to creating the Diane and Rich Zimmerman Endowment for Experiential Learning and Research, the couple gave a $10,000 current-use gift to the DataLab Student Experiential Learning and Research Fund.

The Zimmermans say they were inspired to give to the UC Davis Library to help today’s students navigate the rapidly changing landscape of knowledge and technology.

“We give for the greater good,” Diane Zimmerman said. “And that’s just what the DataLab will achieve with these generous contributions.”