The Data Justice Academy
The Data Justice Academy is an immersive residential experience for undergraduate students from groups historically underrepresented in data science. The summer program welcomes a cohort of students to the University of Virginia to participate in nine weeks of mentored research, technical skills training, and professional development. Hosted by UVA's School of Data Science, in collaboration with The Equity Center, the 2022 Data Justice Academy is made possible by support from program sponsors Capital One, Deloitte AI Institute for Government, and Oracle for Research.
Academy participants will work on Data for Good research projects that are oriented toward improving lives, combatting inequality, and guiding social change. Available project topics include health disparities, housing inequality, criminal justice, education, and local government. Students will rank their project preferences during the application process. Projects are mentored by School of Data Science faculty and industry professionals. At the end of the nine weeks, teams will present their research findings to corporate sponsors in an open forum platform with accompanying paper, and datasets.
Technical Skills Training
To support students in their development as data scientists, the program will also include technical skills training in topics that will support their research projects. This may be in the form of lectures or workshops in Python, R, version control (Git), and project management taught by School of Data Science faculty and researchers. Discounted enrollment in statistics.com courses are also available.
Data Ethics and Justice Seminar
Participants will participate in a seminar on data ethics and justice, including topics on algorithmic bias, privacy, and data activism. The seminar will prepare participants to challenge the harms and inequalities that often accompany technological change.
Academy participants will benefit from hands-on career exploration and workshops, including panel discussions on data science career pathways and job search best practices.
Participants will expand their social and professional networks through a cohort experience and tap into the UVA School of Data Science community, industry partners, and a dedicated alumni network. Participants will have structured and informal opportunities to connect with faculty and staff, members of the Charlottesville community, and corporate sponsors. Programming may include dinners, fieldtrips, networking events, and other activities.
In addition to career and professional development, participants are encouraged to identify their strengths and values that will support their growth and confidence as a data scientist.
"Collaborating with enthusiastic professors and domain experts to complete my research project was a great experience. Not only did I learn new technical skills, I also learned about the ethical and societal impacts of potential work. My summer with UVA Data Science confirmed my desire to earn a PhD
I did a quick project looking into the relationship between the ambassador program and crime in the area surrounding campus. I was able to collaborate with people from the community, from the ambassador program, and from UVA pd. Overall, I was a little dissatisfied with what I was able to conclude (or not conclude) from the study, because correlation is not causal. However, now I am studying causal inference in my PhD. This field allows me to make statements such as "the ambassador program reduces crime in the area surrounding grounds" etc."
– Joseph, Former Summer Research Participant