Year of Data and Society awards second round of projects

The Year of Data and Society team has awarded its second round of grants to projects that were submitted before the Dec. 1 deadline.

Awards have been made to a wide range of projects and activities from data-focused curriculum development, events throughout the University, community-focused workshops, an exhibit, and research that uses data for public good. A full list of funded projects is available on the Year of Data and Society website.

The deadline for the next round of funding is Feb. 1. Applications must be submitted through Competition Space. An information session on the funding opportunities will be held virtually from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 18. Register here.

There are two upcoming events this month related to projects that have already been funded.

Noon-1:30 p.m. Jan. 20: Finding Stories in Data, an online workshop open to University of Pittsburgh students, faculty, and staff. Co-hosted by the University Library System and the Center for Creativity. A single dataset can contain many different stories depending on the values of the storyteller and the context of their experiences. Want to hone your storytelling skills? This workshop will introduce the typical kinds of stories that can be found in data and give you practice in finding your own data stories.  No computers will be used in this class, and there are no prerequisites. Register here.

Noon-1 p.m. Jan. 28: Census, Data, and the Reapportionment Process in Pennsylvania. A virtual discussion with Mark McKillop, who worked on the staff of the Pennsylvania Senate minority leader, about how Census data and other data sources are used in the reapportionment (redistribution of seats) process at both the state and federal level of government. Register here

Second round funded projects

Addressing Water Affordability and Governance Transparency in the Pittsburgh Region with Publicly Available Data: Marcela González Rivas (GSPIA), Caitlin Shroering (Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Outreach, Research, and Education, University of Pittsburgh Water Collaboratory)

This project will build an understanding of the elements and characteristics of “good” water governance. The research team will conduct interviews with key actors in the water sector, gathering data about how water activists, officials, industry representatives and researchers characterize good water governance. The program team will share their findings at the Water Collaboratory’s “Water in a Changing World” lunch discussion series at Pitt.

Black Voices in Computing: Rosta Farzan, Janet Majekodunmi, Shailey P. Gulrajani, Chelsea Morning Gunn and Dmitriy Babichenko (School of Computing and Information)

The goal of this project is to address the important challenge of race, inequalities and injustices in computing by developing an interactive exhibit that highlights the voice of Black scholars in computing. The project also hopes by engaging undergraduate students from the underrepresented group in this research project to empower them in being influential members of the community, encourage them to pursue research and higher education in the field of computing.

Careers in Language Data: How to prepare our language students for the data-focused job future: Na-Rae Han and Dan Villarreal (Department of Linguistics)

This award will support a symposium titled “Careers in Language Data: How to prepare our language students for the data-focused job future.” Through this event, attendees will learn about the roles that language experts are increasingly playing in the technology industry. The event will present concrete paths for language majors and language departments in their pursuit of getting graduates ready for careers in the language data industry.

Complementing the Engineering Curriculum with Data for Social Good: Amin Rahimian (Swanson School of Engineering)

This project will support the development of instructional materials that will be delivered as an engineering elective entitled “Data for Social Good.” The curriculum will engage students in a critical study of contemporary topics at the intersection of AI, data, and society including fairness, accountability, transparency and privacy issues, and will equip students with tools to think through the societal consequences of their designs. The instructional materials also will be made available for adaptation and adoption by other instructors within and outside of engineering.

Curriculum for Introduction to Data Literacy for All Through Applications: Konstantinos Pelechrinis and Prashant Krishnamurthy (School of Computing and Information)

This project will produce an introductory data science curriculum that will be openly available and adaptable for integration in courses across the University. The curriculum will use engaging applications and fields, like movies, music, transportation and sports, to build understandings of probability, uncertainty, causality, correlation, seasonality and data-driven decision making. This curriculum development project will produce short modules that will introduce various data science/literacy concepts, with minimal to no pre-requisites. These modules will be available asynchronously online to the whole Pitt community.

Data Journalism and Media Literacy Panel Discussion: Jamaica Jones, Emily Keith, Shalani Dilinika Jayamanne Mohottige, Sneha Vaidhyam (School of Computing and Information)

This award supports a panel discussion and reading group focused on the role of data across media and journalism ecosystems. The events will engage participants of all backgrounds in a generative exchange about misinformation, the role of the media as information gatekeepers, and the use of data as both a tool and a weapon in the age of online misinformation.  

DHRX Residency Program Seed Grant: Alison Langmead (Department of History of Art and Architecture and School of Computing and Information), Kate Joranson (University Library System), Chelsea Gunn (School of Computing and Information), and Annette Vee (Department of English)

The DHRX Residency Program Seed Grant project will design and instantiate a series of ongoing residencies that will serve as a structured opportunity to grow the offerings of the DHRX: Digital Humanities Research initiative and to increase university-wide understanding of, and engagement with, the role of computing and data in the interpretive disciplines. The funds will support planning sessions, facilitated by members of the Pitt community, resulting in a design document for the DHRX Residency Program. 

My Nature Outing: Stephen Quigley (Department of English) and Cassie Quigley, Hillary Henry and Holly Plank (School of Education)

My Nature Outing provides middle and high school students an ingress into environmental education and computer science. The program encourages students to first embed in nature while completing several multimodal documentation and data collection activities. During these activities, students test the affordances and constraints of different media for data collection, including photography, sound recording and journaling. After a morning spent in the woods collecting data, students return to a classroom space where they work with code to develop a web text that circulates their findings.

Open Scholarship and Research Impact Challenge: Helenmary Sheridan (Health Sciences Library System), Ryan Champagne (Office of Sponsored Programs), Dominic Bordelon (University Library System)

Open scholarship refers to the philosophy and practice of improving the reproducibility and rigor of scientific research by sharing data, code, protocols and results. The Open Scholarship and Research Impact Challenge will comprise a two-week calendar of events focused on giving researchers practical tools to make their research more accessible, more reproducible, more connected to the public welfare, and more in line with their personal values. Run by the Health Sciences Library System, the University Library System, and the Office of Sponsored Programs, this activity will result in the creation of readily available curriculum and teaching materials that can be reused in future programs and shared publicly for use at other institutions.

PittPharmacy Global Health Day: Jennifer Chai (School of Pharmacy)

This award supports the PittPharmacy Global Health Day for students, faculty and staff to promote awareness of how data, particularly in a global context, permeates our educational, governmental and health care systems, and other aspects of society. Through a keynote presentation and an interactive activity, the participants will be invited to think critically about the impact of data in global health (and global health pharmacy specifically) and encouraged to seek innovative, ethical and compassionate solutions to priority areas in global health.

Promoting Data Equality by Improving Open Government Data Users’ Data Literacy: Fanghui Xiao and Daqing He (School of Computing and Information), and David Walker (University Center for Social and Urban Research)

Governments at all levels are sharing data about our communities through open government data (OGD) portals. However, not all members of the public have the data literacy skills that would support their use of this data, resulting in “data inequality.”  Through user studies, this project will establish a comprehensive OGD literacy framework that will be used to facilitate data literacy workshop design and will inform the improvement of the interface design of data portal platforms to encourage more users to use OGD. The study will also provide a deliverable interactive OGD-literacy test tool for evaluating users' OGD-literacy.

Reclaiming Narratives Through Interdisciplinary Data Collection: Bridget Keown and Julie Beaulieu (​​Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program)

The Gender and Science Initiative, part of the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program, is dedicated to educating students across all disciplines about equitable data collection and research practices, and to recovering narratives that have been lost to the historic record and gone under-considered in health, environmental and social sciences. This project will be used to support speakers whose work exemplifies such liberatory work. Additionally, it will support programming that will welcome faculty and students from across the University to discuss and develop revolutionary research practices that challenge disciplinary boundaries and highlight overlooked individuals and groups in the past and present.

Super Analytics Challenge Focused on Food Security and Hunger: Christopher Barlow and Sandra Douglas (Katz Graduate School of Business)

The award will provide support to the 2022 Super Analytics Challenge, hosted by the Katz Graduate School of Business. This event connects Pitt students with partners in local nonprofits, government and business and provides a challenge to explore through data analytics. This year, the Super Analytics Challenge will use data to build an understanding of food insecurity and hunger in our region. The participants will share insights learned through the challenge with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Understanding Civic Resilience in Homewood and Surrounding Neighborhoods: Daren Ellerbee (Community Engagement Center in Homewood), Beth Schwanke (Pitt Cyber), Rachel Rubin (University Library System), Lara Putnam (Department of History)

This project will develop a nuanced understanding of racialized information contexts and how disinformation differentially affects communities of color, providing novel and significant data on the observed prevalence of disinformation and its effects. The project team will create an understanding of the value of digital civic spaces and how to build resilience to disinformation into them through a co-creation model. Together with community members, the team will build the Homewood Digital Civic Asset Map, which will provide in-depth data and analysis of the wealth of digital spaces used by residents, many of which are neglected by existing research.