The inaugural Skyline College Datathon capped off a seven-week workshop series designed to introduce students to the Python programming language and data analysis. STEM Retention Specialist Luis Prado, Allison Galon, and Eden Huang from the Data Science Club, Tyler Kuwada from the Computer Science Club, and Denise Hum, math faculty and MESA Co-Director, developed and facilitated the Datathon Wednesday Workshop Series. Students in majors ranging from psychology, computer science, and biology, to data science and more participated in the workshops to explore the world of data science – learning how to code in Python and using it to manipulate and analyze data and prepare for the Datathon.

On Friday, November 17, twenty-eight students joined the STEM Center. They were tasked with analyzing road travel and crash data from Caltrans and deriving actionable insights to make recommendations to improve road safety. Over the next day and a half, students took over the STEM Center and MESA Center, working hard to develop their analyses. Volunteer mentors from UC Berkeley also provided help to the teams over Zoom.

At the end of the competition, students presented their analyses and recommendations, and faculty members Susanne Schubert, Ariel Katz, Stephen Fredricks, Miranda Wang, and Cindy Moss together with staff members Wendy Lee and Thanh Nguyen judged the presentations to determine the winners. In the end, only one point separated the top two teams. Team AA, Yuting Duan, Junxian Liu, Zaw San, Christopher Tse, Pan Cho Thu, and Jonnald Hernandez, had the first-place presentation on Lane Type Risk: An analysis of risks between different lane types and areas. The High 5s, Linxue Guo, Nicolet Foster, Casey So, Camille Catolos, and Veronica Johnson, presented a Car Crash Analysis for second place. Both teams were awarded “laptop” trophies that Women in Science and Engineering Represent! (WiSER!) member Ariana Cerna designed and 3D printed. The presentations were also shared with the Department of Transportation. This collaborative event was funded by a National Science Foundation IUSE grant to develop an alternate pathway into STEM via statistics and data science and MESA.

Looking ahead to next semester, UC Berkeley Data Science Discovery team members joined via Zoom on Friday and Director Anthony Suen, on Saturday, to recruit students for DataJam, a Data for Good Honors project at Skyline College next semester. Students will work in small teams with mentors from UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and Skyline College to work on a semester-long project using open data about our community.

This is a collaboration with the UC Berkeley Data Science Discovery Program, West Big Data Innovation Hub, and The DataJam. Students who are interested in participating should sign up or contact Prof. Hum. To learn more about data science, check out Math 211: Introduction to Data Science.

Article by Denise Hum and Luis Prado
Photos by Denise Hum and Zaw San

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