Cassandra “Cass” Dorius is a proud public scientist. Her career has been consistently shaped by her lifelong desire to create social justice through work that has a direct, measurable impact on all people.
As co-director of I2D2, Dorius is living out her dream of taking science to the people. As a demographer and sociologist, she is proudly using data for the public good and driving change with her development of a robust data integration platform.
“The whole process isn’t about data,” she says. “It’s about people. What we produce works for everybody – not just the loudest voice in the room.”
As a renowned expert on family complexity, Dorius is uniquely positioned to lead I2D2. She consistently works to bring “hidden” populations out of the shadows so that policies and services accurately, fairly reflect the true diversity of the modern world.
Dorius is a west-coast native but has lived and worked across the U.S. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University, she went on to receive her Ph.D. in sociology and demography from Pennsylvania State University in 2010. After completing two postdoctoral fellowships in demography at the University of Michigan in 2013, she became passionate about finding a public land-grant institution to support her as a faculty member advocating the advancement of data science for the public good. She found Iowa State University, where the institutional motto “Science With Practice” truly resonated.
Today Dorius is associate professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State, where she has proudly established the university’s Data Science for the Public Good program and co-directs the Public Science Collaborative along with I2D2. She also co-organizes the National Science Foundation’s Midwest Data Hub Summer School program in the “Data Science for the Public Good” research track.
Dorius’ scholarship has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals, as well as media outlets such as Time, US News and World Report, and National Public Radio. Her substantive research has shed and continues to shed important light on how family complexity is associated with the educational, health, and wealth outcomes of children and their families. Dorius understands how family relationships affect the rhythm of daily life, and her work is making an impact on the ground with quality, actionable data that is being used by governments and communities nationwide.
Dorius shares her knowledge of data science, community outreach, and evidence-based policymaking through service to such organizations as Iowa’s Two-Generation Poverty Reduction Steering Committee, Iowa Head Start, and the National Governor’s Association. She also works as a data consultant for reducing economic disparities with Third Sector Capital Partners, United Way, and FINCA International.
At Iowa State, Dorius is a member of the Data Science Curriculum Coordination Committee and the Committee on the Advancement of Student Technology for Learning Enhancement. She also currently serves as a member of the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Linkage to Care Advisory Board and as co-chair of the elections council for the National Council on Family Relations.