Duke ITAC - November 30, 2017 Minutes

Duke ITAC - November 30, 2017 Minutes

4:00 - 4:05 – Announcements (5 minutes)

Ken Rogerson convened the meeting and brought attention to the minutes of the meeting from September 21, 2017, which were motioned upon, seconded, and accepted.

4:05 - 4:35 – Duke Technology Scholars Program (DTech), Shani Daily, Monica Jenkins (20 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is: DTech is a comprehensive effort to inspire a more diverse group of Duke Undergraduates to choose careers in computer science and electrical & computer engineering. In particular, the past two years have focused on increasing the number of women who choose this path. The program centers around the idea that social relationships, mentorship, and hands-on experience make the difference in recruiting and retaining women in technology fields.

Why it’s relevant: With the success of DTech and similar programs, Duke will be well-positioned as a leader in diversifying the IT landscape both on campus and in the workforce, and as a premier institution for women and minorities in computing. We will review DTech’s progress, growth, and results – as well as discuss future plans for encouraging a diverse and inclusive environment that will not only attract students, but also retain them once they arrive.

Shani Daily who joined the Duke faculty in August 2017 is the faculty liaison for the Duke Technology Scholars program, alongside Monica Jenkins who is the Executive Director of DTech.

The program was created especially to bring women to Silicon Valley and was funded by a very motivated donor who pledged monies that allowed 10 students in the first year, to not only have internships, but also housing in the Bay Area.

The program highlights are as follows:

  • Leadership “Boot Camps”
  • 12-14 week internships with tech-based companies in Silicon Valley, Chicago, RTP
  • Summer Workshops & panels featuring technology leaders
  • Company visits & networking evenings
  • Shared housing with other Scholars
  • “Soft” and technical skill development workshops
  • Year-long, students are matched with supportive mentorships from a variety of Industries – total of 34
  • Collaboration with Duke’s Co Lab and OIT
  • DTech is expanding and in Summer 2018 the goal is to have:
    • 65 students
    • 2 female cohorts in Silicon Valley
    • 1 minority male cohort in Silicon Valley
    • 1 female cohort in Chicago
    • 1 female cohort in RTP
  • The students are very excited about the

Questions & Comments:

  • The genius of the program is targeting women very early on in their careers so that they know they are valued in this field.  Although the number of women in           CS classes is around 50%, the conversion rate to majors in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering drops.
  • The companies care about diversity and want to use this program as a recruiting tool to turn interns into permanent hires
  • Isolation was a recurring theme in all the students interviewed by the director.  Therefore the focus is on giving the students a more supportive/collaborative community base so they do not feel isolated.  This the most unique aspect of the program.
  • Duke’s Co Lab is a great place for students to complement their classroom learning with more concrete skills for the workplace.
  • The program is expensive and we are getting creative in finding funding from various industries and donors.
  • How do student find these internships?  Originally students had to be in CS-201 but in the last year it has been mainly through word of mouth.
  • The deadline to apply for internships is November 1. If you missed the deadline, you are encouraged to reapply, there are several programs throughout the year that are still available such a Lunch & Learns, leadership workshops, and all of the DTech events.
  • Any reaction from the Computer Science department? There has been a lot of traction and acceptance for the program.
  • What is a cohort?  A cohort is a group that is housing together.
  • Moving forward do you see the alumni being involved in this program?  Yes, the alumni feel very grateful.  They are very enthusiastic and want to donate their time, talent, and treasure to help in various ways.
  • Are there students wanting to come to Duke because of this program?  Yes, that is starting to happen and placing Duke on the map.
  • What resources currently exist on campus that could strengthen academic year programming for our students? Data Fest, Data +, etc.
  • How can we leverage the RTP community in order to bolster activities offered for our students? There’s a group called R in RTP and is an international organization.  There’s another group that is going to start in RTP for women in Informatics.

In conclusion, the DTech program has been received well by the students as well as  the community and aims  to drive game changing innovation and fuel creativity by inspiring a more diverse group of students to choose and remain in computer science and electrical & computer engineering majors.  This program is creating a deep and wide pipeline of technology-savvy individuals who will thrive in the tech industry, and strengthen the backbone of our country’s economy.

4:35 - 5:00 – Data+, Paul Bendich, Robert Calderbank, Kyle Cavanaugh (15 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is: Data+ is a 10-week summer research experience that welcomes Duke Undergraduates interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges. Students join small project teams, working alongside other teams in a communal environment. They learn how to marshal, analyze, and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the modern world of data science.

Why it’s relevant: Since its inception, Data+ has connected diverse groups of students, faculty, and staff to promote the sharing of ideas and code and apply them to real-world situations. The program supports Duke’s interdisciplinary mission and emphasis on the growing field of data science. Kyle will share his experience from the client perspective on a recent Data+ collaboration with the Parking and Transportation Office.

What is Data +?

  • Full-time, 10 week, paid summer data science training program that started in 2015
  • Community of young data science scholars
  • Learn to marshal, analyze, and visualize data in pursuit of questions that matter
  • 25 teams each summer
  • Each team has 2-3 undergraduates/masters (at most one masters)
  • Each team has Project Manager (Ph.D. Candidate or post-doc)
  • Team members paid 5K
  • Project Managers paid 2.5K
  • Total budget is about 450K per summer

Who is Data+?

  • 71 full-time students,
  • 300 applicants
  • 60% were female/URM
  • Almost every major at Duke represented
  • Dominant major = Computer Science (26 students, 10 female/URM)
  • Mostly young: 25% from class of 2020, 35% from class of 2019

Sponsors and donors of Data+ 2017 included various schools and departments within Duke University as well as local and public organizations.

The guiding theory of Data+ is that projects comprise of an intellectual landscape of interlocking pools and the data scientist are trained to deep dive into some pools but have a broad awareness of all.

The undergraduate experience is “Accountability through Community”:

  • Students are on campus M-F, 9-5
  • Each group gives two 20 minute talks to the entire program
  • Students have many deliverables and Poster Sessions

Timeline of Events:

  • August – Identify projects by meeting with prospective faculty and outside clients, match faculty, clients, and data, manage the applications, evaluate proposals, raise funds, and initiate IRB discussions.
  • November – Build teams from 300 applicants considering diversity in skill sets, class year and gender with the help of client input, interview mentors, and host Data+ fair.
  • April – May: Program Preparation – manage payroll, establish project timelines with mentors, ensure data access, and finalize IRB and security details.
  • July onward: Run Data+

 

Application Process:

  • Proposals from faculty due November 1st, 2017
  • Large and diverse review committee
  • Most suitable projects are:
    • that span multiple disciplines
    • that demand multiple expertises
    • that reach outside the campus, and outside the university
    • that clearly-state goals, have tangible products, have interesting aspirations
    • utilize datasets that exist and which students are allowed to use
    • that have planned and needed client interaction
    • that have cost-sharing

Some of the great past projects have been between CompSci, Biology, Stats, Finance, Health, and Public Health.

A more recent Data+ collaboration was with Duke’s own Parking and Transportation office which was a phenomenal success and resulted in a full time Data Management position.

Questions & Comments:

  • The selection criteria is a balance of skillsets, coding languages and experience, subject matter ranking, personality, academic success and gender.
  • The program is currently in its 4th year.
  • There are a few multi-year projects underway and one of them is with the Durham Police Department.

5:00 - 5:30 – Year-end Celebration & Reception