Kyle Shaffer, a first-year MSIS student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS), will spend his summer putting skills learned at SILS in practice. Shaffer recently accepted a fellowship to the “Data Science for Social Good” (DSSG) summer program hosted by Georgia Tech and the City of Atlanta.
“I'm excited to gain experience applying the methods learned through many of my SILS courses, and to collaborate with mentors and other members of the program,” said Shaffer. “Foremost, though, I'm excited and extremely grateful to have the opportunity to sharpen these skills on projects that are aimed at high social impact with the potential for improving people's lives in very concrete ways,”
In this program, Shaffer will help nonprofits and city organizations solve problems by using a combination of data science and social science skills to create tools for the organizations to use. The 10 week program begins in May, 2014.
“The ‘social’ part of Data Science for Social Good is something that immediately made this program stand out and something I care deeply about,” Shaffer said. “I feel really lucky that I get to work on projects that are deeply intellectually interesting to me while also helping people in the process.”
Shaffer is currently working with Dr. Jaime Arguello, assistant professor at SILS, on detecting unresolved issues in Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) discussion threads. He is also interested in information retrieval and text-mining.
“I’m proud and excited that Kyle will have this unique opportunity to further develop his data-mining skills while working for a noble cause," said Arguello. "This is also an opportunity for SILS to learn about the types of data-science jobs available to our students in the non-profit sector.”