Presentation to the Community

Last Thursday, in a remarkably successful lunch meeting, Ahsan, Shana, Thu, I (Craig), and Charlie spoke to the Earlham College Community Partners Council. The event was facilitated by Avis Stewart, Vice President of Institutional Advancement. We gave a 20-minute presentation and spent twice that time answering questions.

The feel of the room was tremendously positive. We shared the map we produced using the 9-1-1 call data provided by the Wayne County EMS, colored roughly by call agency as an example. We’ll be posting it here shortly.

We also discussed the work done by Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) at the University of Chicago in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Public Health to prevent lead poisoning in homes (paper here). This was meant to serve as an example of why a bunch of geeks would be in a room with prominent members of their community rather than in the hall of a science building.

Afterward we spoke to several attendees, all of them members of the small business, non-profit, or city government communities in Richmond. We received positive feedback from one and all, including the exchange of several business cards and promises to follow up in the summer. We’ll be emailing.

This has been an outstanding foundation for the upcoming Summer of Data, during which Ahsan, Shana, and I will be continuing this work with the community of Wayne County and the city of Richmond on these very projects. Demand for data exceeds supply of data science student-hours, but we anticipate big progress over the summer.

Casual observation: we were the obvious tech people in the room, business casual in a sea of professional garb, a little less polished but razor-sharp with the discussions of the promises and pitfalls of data science as a community empowerment tool. My impression is that it lent us a lot of credibility. With that jump-start, we’re looking forward to the summer.