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Small Groups, Big Success: NC State Hosts First DataFest

DataFest @ NC State, the first DataFest event hosted by NC State University brought student teams together over the April 8-10 weekend.

Rachel Levy, Executive Director of the Data Science Academy collaborated with Herle McGowan of the Department of Statistics to launch NC State as a host site.

Student participants came from several disciplines, including statistics, computer science, engineering, business, economics and physics. In four teams, they competed (and collaborated) to tackle this year’s big data challenge.

DataFest @ NC State kicked off a data-filled weekend on Friday, April 8. The teams gathered for the data reveal, hearing for the first time what they’d be working on over the next 48 hours. Then they had until lunch on Sunday to dig into the data, put together their insights and prepare a presentation of no more than three slides.

Presentations were judged by faculty members from the Department of Statistics and instructors from the Data Science Academy.

The event was a fun and friendly competition. Participants shared their enthusiasm and their intention of participating again next year! Every student who shared their thoughts said they plan to participant in DataFest @ NC State again next year. Their other feedback was just as encouraging.

“This was my first DataFest and it has definitely made me want to participate in more DataFests in the future!” said Olivia Zhang, team Stats Club. “I loved collaborating with my team and having creative freedom in the ideas we wanted to convey while also having the technical aspect of data cleaning and programming,” she added.

Her teammate Calvin Chu agreed with the camaraderie, saying “What I enjoyed most about the DataFest @ NC State 2022 was the comfortable environment where all teams were rooting for each other.”

Ayesha Darekar, another Stats Club team member, enjoyed “working on crunching through data with [her] teammates, but [she] also enjoyed taking breaks with them and getting to know them better.”

A final thought from a participant who shared their feedback anonymously: “I truly loved it, [it] put me into a real-world like situation with messy data and now I know how to structure my learning to be able to achieve desired results when put in such scenario again.” An event that participants enjoy and take lessons from is exactly how the Data Science Academy hopes to help all of NC State think and do with data.

DataFest @ NC State Winners

Prizes were awarded for:

  • Best Data Communication
  • Best Visualization
  • Best Insight
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
AwardTeamTeam members
Best Data CommunicationLake ViewersMark Johnson
Matthew Warren
Toan Pham
Justin Crow
Best VisualizationStats ClubOlivia Zhang
Calvin Chu
Ayesha Darekar
Best InsightWe’re Working On ItChukwunonso Ayalogu
Aryan Shinde
Micheal Dacana
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion AwardBiased EstimatorsRebecca Seifert
Arnav Sharma
Andrew Cada
Table of DataFest @ NC State awards, winning team and team members.

About DataFest

The American Statistical Association (ASA) DataFest is a celebration of data in which teams of undergraduates work around the clock to find and share meaning in a large, rich, and complex data set.