biographical data

Rebekah Jones biography: 13 things about data scientist, geographer from Tallahassee, Florida

Rebeka Danielle Jones is a data scientist and a geographer born in Windber, Pennsylvania, United States. Among her specializations is the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) data science to track hurricanes, epidemiology and climatology.

In 1998, Jones and her family moved to Wiggins, Mississippi, USA. She attended Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, USA, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA and Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA.


In 2007, Jones graduated from Stone High School in Wiggins and from 2007 to 2012, she attended the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She graduated cum laude with bachelor’s degrees in geography and in newspaper and online journalism.

Jones and her husband Jacob Romer live in Tallahassee with their two children. Here are 13 more things about her:

  1. From April 2008 to April 2011, she was a feature editor and student business manager at The Daily Orange in Syracuse.
  2. In 2009, she gave birth to a son. From May 2009 to August 2009, she was a staff writer at Stone County Enterprise in Wiggins.
  3. From May 2011 to November 2011, she was a communications and special projects intern at the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Energy and Environmental Systems in Syracuse.
  4. From 2012 to 2014, she attended Louisiana State University. She graduated cum laude with master’s degrees in geography and mass communication.
  5. Her Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP) certification was issued in August 2015. From February 2015 to June 2016, she worked as a GIS specialist at Sea Grant in Baton Rouge.
  6. In 2016, she was arrested in Louisiana and charged with battery and two counts of resisting arrest. While studying and teaching at Florida State University from August 2016 to August 2020, she was accused of having an affair with a student named Garrett Sweeterman.
  7. On October 16, 2017, Tallahassee Police Department officers arrested her for vandalizing Sweeterman’s car. She worked at Florida Department of Health as a GIS analyst in Tallahassee from September 2018 to November 2019.
  8. As a GIS manager in Leon County, Florida from November 2019 to May 2020, she participated in tracking the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Florida. In May 2020, she accused the Florida Department of Health of pressuring her to strategically align COVID-19 case data to support Florida governor Ron DeSantis‘s goal to reopen the state and was fired for making public remarks about the data, which was a violation of the department’s policy.
  9. On April 13, 2020, she set up a GoFundMe page for her parents whose house in Mississippi was destroyed by tornadoes on April 12, 2020. She founded Florida COVID Action, a non-profit group based in Tallahassee in June 2020 and co-founded The Covid Monitor in July 2020.
  10. The Florida Department of Health accused her of hacking into a system used to send emergency communications and sending on November 10, 2020 an unauthorized message, telling the State Emergency Response Team members, “It is time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead. You know this is wrong. You don’t have to be a part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it’s too late.” At around 8:30 a.m. on December 7, 2020, Florida State Police agents raided her house, showed her a warrant based on a complaint filed by the Florida Department of Health and took all her computer equipment. On December 20, 2020, she filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  11. A warrant was issued for her arrest for illegal use of the state’s computer system. She turned herself in to police on January 17, 2021. On January 18, 2021, she appeared in court in Tallahassee and posted a $2,500 bond. On February 6, 2021, she dropped the lawsuit against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  12. On August 23, 2022, she won the Democratic primary election for Florida’s first congressional district. November 8, 2022, she lost to her Republican opponent Matt Gaetz in the general election.  
  13. She was 33 years old when her son, then 13, was arrested on April 5, 2023 for allegedly threatening a shooting at a middle school.

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