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Hot Topics in Data Science

A summer webinar series of panels discussing data science careers and important issues in the field.

Banner for the Hot Topics in Data Science Summer Webinar Series, with color-coded icon squares representing the series sessions.

About the series

In Summer 2022, the NC State Data Science Academy is hosting “Hot Topics in Data Science,” a webinar series of virtual panels showcasing various ways to build a career in data science.

The series of eight panels will feature diverse groups of speakers discussing data science opportunities and addressing current conversations in the field.

Interdisciplinary panels will bring students, academics, and experts from industry and government together to discuss the ways data science is all around us and to share strategies for broadening participation in data science.

Data science is everywhere and for everyone. Offering more than individual career advice, this series will give attendees systemic strategies for continuing to expand data science opportunities for all.

Meet the Moderator

James B. Harr III

Postdoctoral Teaching Scholar


The eight sessions of “Hot Topics in Data Science” series are listed below. Expand each session for a description.

June 3

Curious about the tools practitioners are using to do cutting-edge data science research? Not sure about which tool (or tools) you should use for your data science-related research? Wondering where to start?

In this session, panelists will share the tools they rely on to do their data science work and research.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Claire Cahoon, Bucknell University, Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship Specialist
  • Dr. Yuhan Douglas Rao, NC State, North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies
  • Cole Manschot, NC State, Statistics
  • Dr. Sheila Saia, NC State, State Climate Office

June 10

Do you know what you need to take your data science interests to the next level? How can your skills transfer to industry positions? Who should you talk to?

“Demystifying Data Science in Industry” invites experts — who all use data science in their day-to-day work — from a variety of industries and companies to discuss the rewards and challenges of integrating data science into their jobs.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Dr. Melissa Ngamini, ADP, Senior Data Scientist
  • Shauna Martin, Parexel, Clinical Research Organization (CRO) and Biopharmaceutical Services, Global Training Business Partner
  • Gregory Dito, Technical Precision Plastics, Quality Assurance Engineer
  • Dr. Steven Tuin, United Therapeutics Corporation

June 17

You do data science and you’re looking for career options. Have you thought about government agencies and labs? From forestry to food safety to education, federal and state agencies gather and use huge amounts of data. They need data scientists to gather, track and analyze that data. Get the ins and outs of getting data-focused jobs in government, right from the source.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Carol Burroughs, Chief Data Officer, N.C. Department of Information Technology
  • Dr. Joe Flores-Toro, AAAS

June 24

Think data science is just for statisticians? Think again! Data science is truly interdisciplinary, welcoming research from across the spectrum.

In this panel, you’ll hear from experts in multiple disciplines, all of whom integrate data science into their work. If you wonder whether data science is for everyone, this is the session for you!

Confirmed speakers:

  • Dr. Eric Van Dusen, UC Berkeley, Computing, Data Science and Society (Data 8)
  • Hawley Helmbrecht, University of Washington, Chemical Engineering Department
  • Dr. Margaret Smith, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Interdisciplinary Research & Informatics Scholarship (IRIS) Center
  • Dr. Marwan Bikdash, N.C. A&T, Chair, Computational Data Science and Engineering

July 1

Are you interested in studying data science, but aren’t sure where to start? Is a two-year, four-year, graduate or certificate program your best option? Curious about the jobs you can pursue after formal data science studies?

In the “Navigating Data Science Programs” session, you’ll hear about a sample of available options and see what different programs have to offer, during and after your courses.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Norene Kemp, Wake Technical Community College, Computer Programing and Information Sciences/Information Technology
  • Dr. Doug Hague, UNC-Charlotte, School of Data Science
  • Dr. Srikant Chari, Christian Brothers University, M.S. in Data Science program
  • Dr. Rachel Levy, NC State, Data Science Academy

July 8

This session will highlight the participation of minorities and women in data science and present projects that reflect the voices of underrepresented and marginalized populations.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Dr. Roopika Risam, Dartmouth College
  • Woomy Michel (and Victoria Grase?), Clark Atlanta University
  • Dr. Robin Dodsworth, NC State, Department of Linguistics
  • Luyi Han, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University; Dell

July 15

Can data science and the humanities work together? (Hint: yes! And they do!)

As a scientist, are you confused about what the humanities are? As a humanist, does the word “science” make you anxious? In many cases, data science and digital humanities (DH) use the same tools and approaches but speak different languages.

Learn how digital humanities aren’t that different from data science as this panel presents individual DH projects and research, showcasing the tools and methods frequently employed by data scientists, while asking research questions that data science might not have explored. By the end of the session, panelists will show that humanists and scientists can be better – together!

  • Dr. John Knox, UNC-Wilmington
  • Margaret Baker, NC State
  • Matthew Jansen, UNC-Chapel Hill, Data Analysis Librarian, Digital Research Services

July 22

Panelists will respond to the broad question: “Where do we/data science go from here?”

  • Dr. Sunghwan Byun, NC State, College of Education
  • Brooke Andrade, National Humanities Center
  • Dr. Maria Antoniak, Cornell, data feminism
  • Maria Politi, University of Washington Ph.D. student (chemical engineering)