Rebekah Jones

Geographer & Environmental Enthusiast

An Introduction

As a scientist and researcher intrigued by the complicated intersection of people and the environment, I have focused my academic and professional careers on studying disasters.

The bulk of my research and practice centered around hurricanes and climate change, using geospatial science as a tool to study how storms and changing environmental systems impact the Earth’s surface. I’ve published my research in peer-reviewed journals, won multiple awards from academic organizations, and have been featured in several technical and academic articles for my development of spatial data tools and applications.

I also served as a climate and hurricanes subject matter expert for the 2014 Louisiana Hazards Mitigation Plan, contributed content to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, and worked with Native American tribes in south Louisiana on climate change and hurricane research, adaptation planning and action.

I’ve led or been a part of response efforts to Hurricane Isaac (2012), Hurricane Sandy (2012), the Moore, Okla. tornadoes (2013), Hurricane Hermine (2016), Hurricane Matthew (2018), and Hurricane Dorian (2019).

In April 2020, my COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard, which I built while working as Geospatial Systems and Science Manager at the Florida Department of Health, received praise from White House Advisor Dr. Debora Birx, logged more than 100 million views within six weeks, and was hailed as the national gold-standard for data transparency and accessibility.

Before that, my Hurricane Michael storymap won awards in regional and national competitions.

In June 2020, I founded Florida COVID Action to track and analyze all authoritative data about the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida when state leadership refused to do so. Two months later, I co-founded The COVID Monitor, the national database for case data in K-12 schools.

During this time, I worked on writing my book, gave the keynote address at the Journal of Data Science’s 2020 conference (and several others), and continued working on bringing data to the public in an easy-to-understand format.

My plan is to continue doing the important work I’ve been passionate about all my life – helping people understand the world, its risks, and be better prepared for what comes.

As you browse my website, please consider donating to my GoFundMe page, which is helping me build a place for scientists from all backgrounds to share their experiences in a safe and anonymous environment.

45 thoughts on “An Introduction

  1. I believe you and encourage you (and your colleagues whom I hope will come forward) to stay strong in the fight for the truth. The politics here are disgusting. I say: bravo to you for literally being a genuine heroine. Thank you.

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  2. Hi, was hoping to follow you on twitter. Did you remove your account?
    Your dashboard sounded cool? Hope you are suing? Want to hear your side of the story. I consider democracy important. Would you ever consider working in Canada?

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      1. I think with your qualifications, you can apply for immigration and through points you will easily get there. You’d start looking for a job right after your approval before starting the final process of moving. With english as your first language, Masters and PhD in a field like yours, puts you on top of the list, I assume. I’d say give it a shot! Only issue would be your family if you’re attached to them.

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  3. Rebekah, I had the pleasure to correspond with you on the COVID dashboard. You are intelligent, professional, dedicated, and diligent. Your work on the Dashboard has been invaluable to every human being in Florida and to a certain extent, the Country. Congratulations on everything you have accomplished and please consider me a willing reference. Thank you for being honest and sincere, your integrity and work ethic is what we all should aspire to achieve.

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  4. Thank you for your diligence, integrity, and courage. I wish you success in redressing the injustice that you have suffered.
    Ron Georgalis
    M.A. Candidate, Dept. of Anthropology
    Florida State University

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  5. As I reflect on my 30-odd year career as a GIS Professional, I note a handful of times where the data somehow did not quite fit what stakeholders were expecting. I never accepted the easier route of compliance, I have always posted access to unadulterated data noting sources when it was developed by others, at times simply saying no to what I was schooled to recognize as unethical or an improper use of resources. This likely affected my career, but I can attest that my choices, your choices also it seems of late, were correct choices. Wishing you all the best.

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  6. You are a scientific and public health hero. Thank you for standing up for fact-based evidence and public transparency!

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