DVS NEWS: Erica Gunn joins the DVS board as Education Director

We’re excited to announce that Erica will be stepping in for Nathalie Vladis for the term through the end of this year. Erica will lead the continued development of our educational program and is especially keen on helping to connect the academic and practitioner communities in order to improve professional practices, foster learning, and promote skill sharing across the community. As a data visualization practitioner at one of the largest clinical trial data companies in the world, Erica brings expertise as a dataviz designer, leader, and academic and has been an involved member of DVS and a Nightingale writer.

Want to get to know Erica more?  Here’s a 60 second Q&A responding to a handful of the communities’ most popular questions over on the DVS Slack channel:


What’s your favorite chart, and why? ?

The bar chart. It is simple, but endlessly flexible. Every charting library has a version ready-made, so it’s usually quick to experiment and adapt. With a few basic modifications, you can create almost any kind of comparison. Almost everyone knows how to read it, making communication easier and derivative charts more approachable. I often move beyond a basic bar chart when presenting data for an audience, but for exploratory work it’s the first chart I reach for, and often the only one I need.

What tools do you use in your work? ??️

I use Excel, Illustrator and Figma for my day job, and a mishmash of d3/miscellaneous Javascript libraries, Excel, Illustrator, and R for personal projects. Mostly, I use whatever tool does the job and gets me to my goal in the fastest and least-painful way. Often, I jump back and forth between one tool to another for each step, especially in the exploratory stage: data aggregation in R, manual cleanup and JSON structuring in Excel, paste into Notepad to remove empty spaces/formatting, load to HTML/Javascript to draw and interact. Once I know where I’m going, I go back and turn the scraps into a reproducible trail.

What are key questions you ask / skills you’re looking for when hiring for a dataviz role? ?

Can you give me an example of how you use charts to make decisions in your day-to-day life? I’m looking for people who know how to think with data, and who use charts to do that job.

Thank you and welcome Erica!  Have a question or would like to get more involved? Reach out directly via education@datavisualizationsociety.org.