Increasing Access to Spatial Data Science for Women and Diverse Groups

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Angela Li fell in love with everything spatial in R after she won a College Research Fellowship through the Center. She founded R-Ladies Chicago and is now working at CSDS as the R Spatial Advocate to make the spatial ecosystem in R accessible to the world.

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Description

Mansueto Institute - Increasing Access to Spatial Data Science for Women and Diverse Groups

Data scientist, spatial thinker and community builder Angela Li, a newly minted graduate of UChicago with a dual B.A. in Economics and Public Policy Studies, first fell in love with coding and spatial analytics in R after she won a College Research Fellowship as an undergraduate through the Center for Spatial Data Science. She founded R-Ladies Chicago and became the R Spatial Advocate at CSDS, making the spatial ecosystem in R accessible to the world. Last year, Angela taught about 250 UChicago students spatial data science through short courses, 50-75% of whom were women. She is now pursuing her PhD at Princeton University in the field.


Angela’s story is just one of many who have been inspired to pursue spatial data science after joining the research community at Center for Spatial Data Science, affiliated with the University of Chicago’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation. Geospatial data and technology are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, and currently, there are not enough spatial data scientists to fill available positions. Yet existing opportunities to learn spatial data science skills often fail to onboard women and underrepresented groups. There is no consensus yet on how to best teach spatial computational thinking in universities.

The University of Chicago’s Center for Spatial Data Science has been pioneering innovative ways to teach students spatial methods through coding in R, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, Python, and other technical languages. These training opportunities help diverse groups of women and young people discover their capacity for coding and spatial analytics and keep them engaged through pathways for continued learning. The trainings target different skill levels and range from weekly working groups and 1:1 support to 1-day workshops, software carpentry bootcamps, YouthMapper mapathons, conference workshops, monthly meetups at a new Chicago chapter of R-Ladies, Unconferences, and new university courses in Geographic Information Sciences. The demand for all of these offerings has been overwhelming; courses are often booked immediately.

By giving to our campaign, your donation will allow the Center for Spatial Data Science to continue to expand trainings to UChicago students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds through the next academic year.

Donations are applied to...

Research assistantships for underrepresented students in spatial data science.

Why are donations necessary?

We have more applicants for research assistantships than we have funds to support students.