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ThisIsStatistics Challenges Students to Apply Stats Skills for Greater Good

1 February 2018 No Comment

The ASA’s public education campaign, ThisIsStatistics, expanded its educational footprint in 2017 on “all things statistics” with high-school and undergraduate students in today’s increasingly digital and mobile world.

Police Data Challenge

In the Police Data Challenge, students helped make communities safer by analyzing emergency call data from metropolitan police departments in Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Seattle. The ASA joined forces with the Police Data Initiative in this unique partnership to provide students with open and publicly accessible data sets on emergency calls, giving them an opportunity to apply their savvy statistical skills to an important cause and providing major cities with a better understanding of the value and use of statistics in public safety. Hundreds of students from across the United States participated, and the following winners were recently announced:

Best Overall Winners

  • Undergraduate: Jimmy Hickey, Kapil Khanal, and Luke Peacock – Winona State University (Sponsored by Silas Bergen)
  • High School: Catalina Bartholomew, Sophie Mason, Grace Ding, and Allie Restani – Valley Christian High School, San Jose, California (Sponsored by Claudia Smith)

Best Visualization Winners

  • Undergraduate: Julia Nguyen, Katherine Qian, Youbeen Shim, and Catherine Sun – University of Virginia (Sponsored by Jordan Rodu)
  • High School: Alex Lapuente, Ana Kenefick, and Sara Kenefick – Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte, North Carolina (Sponsored by Donna Minnig)

Best Use of External Data Winners

  • Undergraduate: Luke Zheng, Qianyu Liu, Scott Lai, Sicheng Chu, and Xi He – University of Wisconsin (Sponsored by Karl Rohe)
  • High School: Alaina Cerro, Sean Conroy, and Elise Bermudez – Bethel Park High School, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania (Sponsored by Lee Cristofano)

What’s Going On in This Graph?

Teaming up with The New York Times Learning Network, ThisIsStatistics developed a unique exercise, titled “What’s Going On in This Graph?” Spearheaded by ASA member Sharon Hessney, this partnership is modeled after the Times’s popular series, “What’s Going On in This Picture?” and is intended to inspire students to examine graphs, charts, or maps via a rich and robust supply of the Times’s infographics.

Each month, a different New York Times graph will be published on a topic suitable for a variety of subjects across the curriculum. Students will then be asked to use math and statistics thinking skills to answer the following questions:

  • What do you notice?
  • What do you wonder?
  • What’s going on in this graph?

Under Hessney’s leadership, an ASA team will help select graphs to use each month, moderate discussion, engage students, and provide a ‘reveal’ at the end of the week-long session that incorporates the graph’s original title and caption and related statistical concepts and vocabulary to help students transform the data into information.

What’s Next?

Stay tuned this winter and spring for Statistics Is for Everyone, the latest video showcasing professionals from a variety of occupations demonstrating that everyone is connected to statistics at some point and the field can be applied to a diverse group of professions. Included in the video are the following:

  • Hillary Parker, data scientist, Stitch Fix
  • Dawn Eash, associate director, Berkeley Research Group
  • Dave Robinson, data scientist, Stack Overflow
  • Alexander Oftelie, analytics subject matter expert, IBM
  • Matthew Krachey, data scientist, HomeAway

Statsketball returns to see who can score big and best predict the winner and brackets for March Madness. The website and social media platforms will launch as the college basketball season heats up.

With graduation inching closer, check out ThisisStatistics for more dynamic education tools and resources, including data about statistics degrees and career projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to help foster statistical literacy and excitement in the next generation of critical thinkers.

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