Data Science for the Public Good Young Scholars program

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Program Overview

The Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG) Young Scholars program is a summer immersive program held at the Biocomplexity Institute’s Social and Decision Analytics division (SDAD). Entering its seventh year, the program engages students from across the country to work together on projects that address state, federal, and local government challenges around critical social issues relevant in the world today. DSPG young scholars conduct research at the intersection of statistics, computation, and the social sciences to determine how information generated within every community can be leveraged to improve quality of life and inform public policy.

The program runs for 10 weeks for undergraduate interns and 11 weeks for graduate fellows in the summer, typically May to August. Fellows and interns work in teams collaborating with postdoctoral associates and research faculty from SDAD, and project stakeholders. The research teams combine disciplines including statistics, data science, and the social and behavioral sciences to address complex problems proposed by local, state, and federal agencies. Students work on multiple projects of their choice and interact with different scholars, faculty and sponsors.

Take a look at the DSPG 2019 projects and young scholars.

Fellows and interns are selected through a competitive national search, and are paid a stipend for participation in the program. Graduate fellows possess high quantitative, statistical, computational and programming skills. They lead, support, and guide undergraduate students together with SDAD faculty and postdocs. Undergraduate students acquire the skills for programming and statistical analysis through the trainings necessary for their research projects.

Apply today for the Data Science for the Public Good 2020 Young Scholars program.

Program Highlights

The DSPG program equips new generations of scientists with the skills they need to inform intelligent governmental policy and decision-making.

  • Horizontally and vertically integrated team research with dedicated graduate students, postdocs, and faculty in collaboration with sponsors from local, state, and federal governments
  • Expert training in essential tools for statistical computing, including R, Python, GIS, and databases
  • Professional training through workshops, seminars, and career talks
  • Individualized mentors working closely with students
  • Technical report and publication opportunities
  • Opportunity to interact with decision-makers in industry and government agencies, and to attend policy events on Capitol Hill and in Washington, D.C.

Annual Symposium

At the end of the summer program, scholars have an opportunity to present their research at the DSPG Annual Symposium, a signature event of the DSPG Forum that brings together a community of scientists, scholars, researchers, and policy-makers hoping to gain insight on using data science to positively transform the areas in which we live, work, and play.

The Annual Symposium takes place in early August, and features several keynote speakers and poster presentations by the young scholars. Prior keynote speakers have included:

  • Nancy Potok, Chief Statistician of the United States, Office of Management and Budget
  • Catherine Woteki, former Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics and former Chief Scientist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and currently, Distinguished Institute Professor at the Biocomplexity Institute
  • Ron Jarmin, Deputy Director, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Phil Bourne, Dean, University of Virginia School of Data Science

The 2019 symposium keynote speakers and the young scholar poster speed session are available on YouTube.

Program Directors

Gizem Korkmaz            Aaron Schroeder
Gizem Korkmaz
Research Associate Professor
           Aaron Schroeder
Research Associate Professor


For more information about the DSPG program, please contact Gizem Korkmaz.