Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It was very interesting to note that several students thought of big data as a viable career option - Mentor experience by Lavanya Marla


Lavanya Marla Researcher and Teacher of Operations Research and Transportation Systems Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

The data science workshop was a very exciting platform to explore the interests and exposure of middle and high schoolers in 'big data'. It was very interesting to note that several students thought of big data as a viable career option, and were keen to learn more about what fields big data could be related to. There was considerable eagerness to learn the underlying mathematical concepts and a lot of discussion as the students thought about how problems could be solved. Students were slow to open up and discuss, but once they did, the workshop had a lively atmosphere. One or two of the students had significantly more knowledge to statistical methods, but the other students matched them in eagerness to learn. The students who came with little to no knowledge also expressed that they learned a lot from the workshop and especially in a manner that the concepts were intuitive. The grad student instructors Naren, Colin and Raghav did an exceptional job of teaching, managing and conveying excitement about the subject during the four hours of the workshop. Multiple future sessions will be needed for a more detailed study of foundational concepts, but the success of this workshop gives me a lot of encouragement to build future workshops.

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