TDAI summer camp hosts 25 middle- and high-school girls

The second year of TDAI’s Data Science for Women Summer Camp wrapped up July 19 in Pomerene Hall. A total of 25 campers attended the free, week-long summer camp – representing 17 middle and high schools from Franklin and Delaware counties. Over two years, 50 young women from 25 schools in the Columbus region have attended the camp.

2019 summer camp

TDAI Data Science for Women Summer Camp 2019

The camp was created in 2018 in response to a growing need for women and underrepresented minorities in the field.  A 2017 report from the Business – Higher Education Form and PwC noted that critical actions for change were necessary to create a diverse data science and analytics (DSA) workforce, as men “consistently outnumber women 3 to 1.” 

The camp is designed to introduce young women to data science and analytics and the opportunities they present, both in college and as a career. Led by TDAI Associate Director Jenna McGuire, it integrates hands-on experience, excursions and team projects. Campers learn from faculty and industry experts while working alongside current Ohio State students majoring in data analytics, computer science or other data-heavy fields.

This year, students gained exposure to more than a dozen applications of data science, from agriculture to smart cities. That included in-depth talks with faculty researchers, as well as excursions to Ohio State’s Planetarium, Advanced Computing Center for the Arts & Design, and Waterman Farms to learn how data is applied to solve real-world problems. They then worked in small teams to put data to practical use by using data software, visualizing data and giving presentations.

An important mission of the camp is to also prepare young women – particularly underrepresented minority women and first-generation college students – for college.  Campers had an opportunity to speak with current Ohio State students and spend several hours with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion learning about resources available to them.

The 2019 summer camp saw a significant increase in the number of campers who identified as underrepresented minorities (URM); a full 84% self-identified as URMs in 2019, compared to 68% of campers last year. In addition, well over 75% of participants for both years had not been exposed to data science, advanced math or advanced science courses before camp, indicating that the camp is connecting with the right population of students.

TDAI’s Data Science for Women Summer Camp is made possible by collaborations internally with other university entities and generous partnerships with community organizations and companies. In total, more than 25 partners contributed to the programming and outreach of the camp, including Columbus City Schools, Metro Early College High School, the Women in Analytics conference, Kroger Technology and the Columbus Foundation. This year, a special group of women leaders at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities also volunteered their time helping the campers take on data challenges.

Financially, the camp is made possible through partnerships with the Women in Analytics conference, a founding partner of the camp, Kroger Technology, and Drs. Ajit Chaudhari and Lise Worthen-Chaudhari. The camp also received funding from the Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs Endowment and the Connect & Collaborate Grant, a program supporting innovative and scholarly engagement programs that leverage academic excellence of The Ohio State University in mutually beneficial ways with external partners.

TDAI thanks the 2019 camp speakers–including TDAI affiliates Harmony Bench, Dorinda Gallant, Arnab Nandi, Maria Palazzi and Chris Stewart—as well as the camp’s Advisory Board members for their contributions to the design and outreach of the event:

  • Data Lead: Dorinda Gallant (Education and Human Ecology)
  • Co-Director: Amy Spellacy (Office of Research)
  • Rehgan Avon (Women in Analytics)
  • Christy Bertolo (Corporate Engagement Office)
  • Kate Calder (Statistics)
  • Monica Cox (Engineering Education)
  • Brooke O’Leary (Data Analytics Major)
  • Maria Palazzi (ACCAD)
  • Natasha Quadlin (Sociology)
  • Jaimie Reis (Kroger Technology)
  • Elisabeth Root (Geography, Epidemiology)
  • LaTonia Stiner-Jones (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Yolanda Zepeda (Office of Diversity and Inclusion)
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