DSPG Student showing her poster
Biocomplexity Institute News

The Ronald Maese Peralta Foundation Donates $5,000 to the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute’s Data Science for the Public Good Young Scholars Program

With a mission to improve education and promote healthy communities, the Ronald Maese Peralta Foundation (RMP) has pledged a $5,000 donation to support the Data Science for the Public Good Young Scholars program at the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute. The RMP Foundation is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to improve the education, health and wellness of all people, especially those throughout Native communities.

The contribution will help fund a summer internship for one student accepted to the Institute’s Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG) Young Scholars program.

Entering its eighth year, the DSPG Young Scholars program introduces undergraduate and graduate students to the field of data science by providing experiential learning alongside researchers with a goal to prepare a research-ready workforce with the experience or dedication to put data to practical use.

“We are so thankful to the RMP Foundation for its generous donation in support of our Young Scholars program,” said Sallie Keller, Distinguished Institute Professor and Director in the Social and Decision Analytics Division at the Biocomplexity Institute.

“With the program’s focus on real-world, public good research projects, our hope is to spark student interest in civic engagement and to help young scholars realize how they might build a purposeful career using data science to overcome complex challenges in society.”

Since 2014, many students who have gone through the DSPG Young Scholars program are working in data-focused, civic-oriented positions in government, NGOs and think-tanks. Last year, the program was extended beyond Virginia to university partners in Iowa and Oregon, and many of the projects pertained to improving the health and welfare of underserved communities.

Vicki Vasques, Chairwoman of the RMP Foundation stated, “The Foundation is proud to continue advocating and supporting educational initiatives, especially UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute’s Data Science for the Public Good Young Scholars Program. We are pleased the funding will benefit the summer intern program, which will not only make a difference in the program and the student scholar’s life, but in the lives of those in the communities the research projects will serve. It is a win-win relationship.”

The RMP Foundation was created in memory of Ronald Maese Peralta, an Army veteran, who served as Tribal Chairman of the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians in Valley Center, California. Mr. Peralta implemented the first education program on his reservation. To learn more about the RMP Foundation, go to www.rmpfoundation.org/.

To learn more about Data Science for the Public Good, visit https://biocomplexity.virginia.edu/institute/divisions/social-and-decision-analytics/dspg.