Kathy Fontaine


Dr. Kathleen (Kathy) Fontaine joined RPI in 2014, after 25 years at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, first as a contractor, and then as a civil servant.  She is currently a Senior Lecturer with ITWS and Program Manager for the RPI-IBM AI Research Collaboration (AIRC) at RPI. Dr. Fontaine is developing a new course in Ethical Informatics for ITWS which emphasizes the broader responsibilities data scientists have when handling data sets. In her prior role as Research Scientist in the Tetherless Web Constellation, she developed a graduate course in Big Data Policy as well as an Ethics module for the Capstone class, and a Research Methods seminar that she hopes to develop into a full course.
Dr. Fontaine’s government career included both supporting the development of, and then creating policies to enable data access nationally and internationally through the Committee on Earth Observations Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Information Systems and Services (WGISS); in the Group on Earth Observations (GEO); and in the US interagency US Group on Earth Observations (USGEO).

These relationships drove her professional and research interests in international organizations and their cultures, developing and implementing policies, and the intricacies of volunteer organizations.  Dr. Fontaine is still actively involved with GEO, serving on their Programme Board on behalf of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP).  Just prior to becoming joining ITWS, Dr. Fontaine served as the Managing Director for the Research Data Alliance/US, in support of research data sharing activities nationally and internationally. 
Her professional affiliations include the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and its web science group, the ACM policy group (US Technology Policy Committee), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (IEEE GRSS), and the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT).
Her hobbies include singing, cooking, sewing, and looking after her rescue dogs with her husband Mark.

Education & Training

B.S., Physics with Astrophysics Option, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 1984      

M.A., Science, Technology and Public Policy, The George Washington University, 2002

Ph.D., Public Policy and Public Administration, Walden University, 2013


Office Hours

Mondays and Fridays 11am - 1pm; Wednesdays 3:30pm - 5:30pm; or by appointment; AE 134.  

Current Courses

ITWS 6440 - Big Data Policy

ITWS 4960 - Topics (Ethical Informatics)


Selected posters and other publications:

  1. Fontaine, K., Bagwell, R., Callahan, B., Joyner, E., Munasingh, T. (2023) Data Dexterity Results - Answering Renewable Energy Questions and More - Findings and Lessons Learned.  ESIP July 2023.
  2. Fontaine, K., Bagwell, R., Callahan, B., Joyner, E., Munasingh, T. (2022) Enabling Data Dexterity Among Students Using a NASA Data Pathfinder.  AGU 2022.
  3. Prabhu, A., Morrison, S.M., Eleish, A., Zhong, H., Huang, F., Golden, J.J., Perry, S., Hummer, D.R., Ralph, J., Runyon, S.E, Fontaine, KS., Krivovichev, S.V., Downs, R.T., Hazen, R., and Fox, P.A.  Creating, Managing and Evaluating Data Legacies: Updates on the Global Earth Mineral Inventory.  AGU 2019, San Francisco, CA.
  4. Zhong, H., Prabhu, A., Huang, F., Eleish, A., Chastain, K., Thomson, B.L., Narkar, S., Fontaine, K.S., Hummer, D.R., Morrison, S.M., Downs, R.T., Hazen, R., Fox, P.A., Heaney, P.J. Interactive, Web-based Visualizations for Hierarchical Information and Knowledge in Geosciences: An Implementation on the Dana Classification and its Applications. AGU 2019, San Francisco, CA.
  5. Rogers, K.L., Thomson, B.L., Colwell, F. S., Eleish, A., Huang, F., Fontaine, K.S. (presenting co-author), Fox, P.A., Gaidos, E., Hoarfrost, A., Huang, F., Ladau, J., Magnabosco, C., Parsons, M., Prabhu, A., Ruff, S.E., Twing, K., and the CoDL Team. (2018).  IN53C-0629:  The Census of Deep Life:  Metadata Then and Now.  AGU 2018, Washington, DC.
  6. Prabhu, A., Morrison, S.M., Eleish, A., Zhong, H., Huang, F., Fontaine, K.S., Parsons, M.A., Fox, P.A., Hummer, D.R., Perry, S., Hazen, R. (2018). IN53E-0663:  Global Earth Mineral Inventory:  A DCO Data Legacy.  AGU 2018, Washington, DC.
  7. Fontaine, K., Fox, P. Rogers, K., Eliesh, A.  (2016). Resources and Partnership Opportunities in Data Science.  DCO Science Meeting, St. Andrews, Scotland.
  8. Bye, B.L. & Fontaine, K.S. (2014). Funding of Geosciences: Coordinating National and International Resources.  In “New Trends in Earth-Science Outreach and Engagement.  The Nature of Communication Series: Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research” Drake, J. L., Kontar, Y. Y., & Rife, G. S. (Eds.).  Vol 38.  pp – 209-212.
  9. Fontaine, K. (2011). Who uses Earth observations? User types in the Group on Earth Observations. A poster presentation at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. December 2011.
  10. Hunolt, G., Booth, A., & Fontaine, K.S. (2010).  Cost Estimation Toolkit (CET) and Comparables Database Open Source Software. http://opensource.gsfc.nasa.gov.

The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Kathy Fontaine has 5 indexed publications in the subjects of Computer Science, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Mathematics.

Neha Keshan, Kathleen Fontaine, James A. Hendler
International Journal of Web Information Systems
, 18
, 2022
, pp.413-431
Anirudh Prabhu, Shaunna M. Morrison, Ahmed Eleish, Hao Zhong, Fang Huang, Joshua J. Golden, Samuel N. Perry, Daniel R. Hummer, Jolyon Ralph, Simone E. Runyon, Kathleen Fontaine, Sergey Krivovichev, Robert T. Downs, Robert M. Hazen, Peter Fox
Geoscience Data Journal
, 8
, 2021
, pp.74-89
Fang Huang, Samuel Barbier, Renbiao Tao, Jihua Hao, Pablo Garcia del Real, Steve Peuble, Andrew Merdith, Vladimir Leichnig, Jean Philippe Perrillat, Kathy Fontaine, Peter Fox, Muriel Andreani, Isabelle Daniel
Geoscience Data Journal
, 8
, 2021
, pp.90-100
Neha Keshan, Kathleen Fontaine, James A. Hendler
Communications in Computer and Information Science
, 1459 CCIS
, 2021
, pp.1-15
Samuel Barbier, Fang Huang, Muriel Andreani, Renbiao Tao, Jihua Hao, Ahmed Eleish, Anirudh Prabhu, Osama Minhas, Kathleen Fontaine, Peter Fox, Isabelle Daniel
Frontiers in Earth Science
, 8
, 2020

View All Scopus Publications

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