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Data Science for the Public Good
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Data Science for the Public Good has two training components—materials and training opportunities for Extension Specialists and the communities they serve, and a hands-on 10-week summer project for undergraduate and graduate fellows that includes a two-week data skills training camp.

Educational opportunities for Extension Specialists and others will cover a broad range of high-level topics in data science, presented alongside examples showing the utility and practice of data science. In-depth coding and mathematics will be left to other venues. Instead, conceptual overviews will:

  • Provide vocabulary to effectively communicate with data scientists of various specialties and community members
  • Help identify problems amenable to modern data science techniques
  • Be detailed enough to communicate the strengths and weaknesses of different methods
  • Reveal the data science life-cycle, from collection of appropriate data to communication of final results
  • Open doors to further learning

Topics will include various data formats, methods in machine learning and statistics, databases and storage, data visualizations, common tools, project management, and more. 

Additionally, an online Knowledge Portal will provide information in these topics in an accessible format for the general public.



Undergraduate and graduate fellows selected to contribute to community-driven projects will be provided a two-week training course in data analysis and programming, with further training throughout the summer in more specialized areas. Topics will be geared toward the needs of projects, but a number of areas are commonly needed:

  • Utilizing the Linux command-line
  • Programming in R or Python
  • Querying databases with SQL
  • Project and code organization with Git
  • Team-based data analysis
  • Visualizing and presenting data and methods
  • Research and data ethics

More specialized topics needed by projects may include geospatial data analysis, time series data, statistical methods, machine learning techniques, or others. 

Training and mentoring will be provided by DSPG personnel and Graduate Student project mentors.



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children starting in grade school today who will wind up in a job that doesn't exist yet. 




OSU Data Science for the Public Good engages with community members, OSU faculty, OSU Graduate students, OSU Extension, and undergraduate fellows from around the state to solve problems and gain insights from data of interest to rural Oregon. 



Through the lens of data and technology, DSPG students will learn to integrate data and methods to:

  • Identify pressing issues through direct engagement with OSU Extension and community members
  • Develop methods and insights to benefit community stakeholders, such as business owners, agriculturalists, local government agencies, and non-profits
  • Disseminate knowledge about data science to communities large and small
  • Inform research groups at OSU about the pressing needs of Oregon communities


Dive Deeper into Data Science for the Public Good

About DSPG

Data-driven research provides a rich, mutually rewarding opportunity to leverage community knowledge and public information resources to affect positive social change. 

How It Works

Communities, especially small and rural ones, need to take advantage of new techniques for collecting and analyzing data to better serve their residents. Here’s a plan to help them succeed.


Data science has the most impact when teams bring diverse knowledge. DSPG provides training for students, Extension, and the community in modern data analysis skills and literacy.