In an increasingly information-driven society, rural communities face new challenges and opportunities. Whether at local hospitals, city halls, fire stations, businesses large and small, community centers, or in forests, rivers and fields—data of all kinds can provide solutions to problems and guide best practices.
The Data Science for the Public Good program at Oregon State University supports the use of data science approaches to address issues of rural communities (defined broadly) through student summer projects and through engagement with Cooperative Extension.
The program will fund 5 graduate student fellowships and 10 undergraduate student internships for the summer of 2020 (program dates: June 22 - August 28). Undergraduates will receive a $6000 stipend that includes sufficient funds for food and lodging. Graduate fellows will receive summer salary and tuition. Some internships will be based at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, with occasional travel to field sites (provided), while others may be located elsewhere in Oregon.
The student summer projects will be focused on analysis of data provided by rural stakeholders. These 10-week projects are intended to (i) provide graduate and undergraduate students with collaborative data science research experiences in real-world settings; and (ii) provide rural stakeholders with data science analyses relevant to a specific issue of interest.
The students will work together in teams composed of one graduate student and two undergraduate students, guided and mentored by a faculty member (and their team) with expertise in the relevant problem area. The students will conduct data analyses (which can include finding, retrieving and collating data sets from various sources) to address problems or questions of interest to specific rural stakeholders.
The graduate and undergraduate students will participate in a two-week data skills course at the start of the 10-week period. The graduate students will receive specialized training prior to the two-week camp and will participate in the course primarily as mentors to the undergraduates. They will lead the research by the student teams. All students will present their results at a summer symposium.
Graduate students will learn:
• Advanced skills in research computing
• One week training in data analytics at the University of Virginia (May 26 - 29)
• Training in mentoring and research leadership
Undergraduate students will:
• Learn basic command line operations, data and software best practices, and application of FAIR data principles
• Learn to work with data in team and individual settings
• Learn communication and presentation skills
All students will:
• Meet rural stakeholders to discuss their challenges
• Make a real contribution to the public good in rural settings
• Present their work to stakeholders in reports and the annual symposium
Graduate student applicants should be enrolled at OSU. Applicants should ideally have completed most of their coursework, and should have some experience in big data analysis, including the use of R or Python.
Undergraduate students may be from any Oregon college or university. Students should be entering their junior or senior year in Fall 2020. Applicants must have completed at least one of the following classes or their equivalent: Math 252 (Integral calculus), Math 243 (Statistics) or CS 161 (Introduction to Computer Science). Graduates from any community college who expect to transfer to OSU in Fall 2020 are welcome to apply. Students from rural backgrounds (e.g. grew up in a town of less than 25,000) are especially encouraged to apply.
Oregon State University, in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status in any of its policies, procedures, or practices.
Fill out the application form here: Student Application Form
For questions, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
These opportunities are available to students from any state.
University of Virginia DSPG Young Scholars Program https://biocomplexity.virginia.edu/social-decision-analytics/dspg-program
Oregon State University Undergraduate Learning Experiences in working with Big Data in Agriculture https://bpp.oregonstate.edu/big-data-internship