Insights from Data Strategy Mentorship program participants
In June, ParsonsTKO and TechSoup launched the inaugural Data Strategy Mentorship (DSM) program. Since then, a diverse collection of 20+ students and recent graduates have been gathering daily via Zoom to learn how they can use data for good.
Participants are embarking on a range of data projects, with the goal of shaping and sharpening our understanding on important issues – including racial justice and Black Lives Matter, environmentalism and higher education, just to name a few. They’ll be sharing their insights at Data for Social Impact: Racial and Economic Justice, a free online event on August 26.
In the meantime – fortunately for us – participants aren’t waiting to write about what they’re learning. Here are a selection of insights from their recent online work.
George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 sparked historic protests across the U.S. and abroad. Amid a whirlwind of national media coverage and trending hashtags, many Americans struggled to make sense of the barrage of information coming their way.
A interdisciplinary team of DSM program participants leaned into this challenge by tracking the public’s online footprint regarding Black Lives Matter (BLM) in the month following George Floyd’s death. Their analysis reveals that, for much of early June, #georgefloyd and #justiceforgeorgefloyd were the top Twitter hashtags. Yet as the month progressed, trends related specific actions that engaged citizens could take (such as #defundthepolice and #blmprotest) rose to the top. This suggests that the impassioned activism of BLM not only reflects temporary, performative activism (as is stereotyped of online activism), but may be more resilient, with the potential for lasting change.
A major in literature and feminist theory, Sebastian Martin Perez has realized that he and his peers may have an ethical obligation to become data literate, in part to fend off subconscious bias in statistical analyses whose conclusions hurt movements for justice and equality. This post explores data science as a profession and practice, with practical tips for those looking to teach themselves key data skills outside of a formal setting.
While the summer isn’t yet over, Muaz Asnan has already learned two priceless lessons from the mentorship program: (1) Soft skills are invaluable in a context where one is surrounded by hard skills; and (2) a change in mindset makes networking much more bearable!
For those relatively unfamiliar with Application Programming Interfaces (better known as APIs), Hadrien Picq uses the metaphor of pizza-making to help readers understand how APIs help data scientists leverage outside programs to extract useful data and do meaningful analysis.
Learn more on August 26
If you’re interested in more data-driven insights on racial and economic justice, please join us on August 26 at 12:30pm EDT. You can register for free here.