ASU grad student teaches 'big data' to high school girls
Graduate student Jessica Guo is passionate about science education. And she has lots of experience teaching coding and big data. Guo combined passion and experience to present a weeklong workshop on big data to students from Mesa Public Schools.
Twelve 11th- and 12th-grade girls spent their fall break learning a statistical computing program called “R,” which they used to analyze big data. The skills they learned will be valuable in future careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
“Programs like this one are narrowing the gap in girls’ participation and success in math and science,” said Monica Elser, education manager for ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.
According to Guo, the primary goal of the workshop was for girls to develop coding skills while learning to work with large, publicly available datasets.
“In my experience teaching grad students and undergrads, learning to code in R has a steep learning curve, so I was really impressed with this group of girls and their persistence,” said Guo.
“My hope is that these students use their newly developed coding skills as a springboard for achieving their STEM goals.”
“The workshop capitalized on a broad range of data and ASU resources to create something really special for these students,” Elser said.
ASU grad student Jessica Guo (center) looks over coding with senior Theresa Ruiz (right), 18, as Yazmin Flores, 17, also works on the pair's project in the “From Big Data to Big Ideas” workshop. Doctoral student Guo, who grew up in the Mesa Public Schools districe, received a NASA Space Grant fellowship to fund the weeklong project.Charlie Leight/ASU Now
Senior Angelica Pangan, 17, helps Danijela Covo (left), 16, with coding during the data workshop Oct. 16. More than a dozen juniors and seniors gave up part of their fall break to compile, organize and utilize weather data over a 29-year period.Charlie Leight/ASU Now
Sixteen-year-old Diana Kwiatkowski discusses New Mexico air temperatures during Guo's workshop. In addition to long-term weather data from the Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research program in New Mexico, the students analyzed atmospheric CO2 data from Mauna Loa in Hawaii and precipitation data from the Flood Control District of Maricopa County in Arizona.Charlie Leight/ASU Now
Seventeen-year-old Madeline Moore, shows the coding she and her partner, Diana Kwiatkowski, did on their analysis of air temperatures in New Mexico during the workshop.Charlie Leight/ASU Now
ASU grad student Jessica Guo applauds two students' report during the “From Big Data to Big Ideas” workshop Oct. 16.Charlie Leight/ASU Now
The students analyzed atmospheric CO2 data from Mauna Loa in Hawaii, precipitation data from the Flood Control District of Maricopa County in Arizona, and a long-term weather data set from the Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research program in New Mexico.
“Programs like this one are narrowing the gap in girls’ participation and success in math and science.”
— Monica Elser, education manager, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
ASU’s Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program was a partner on the workshop, which was part of Guo’s work with the ASU/NASA Space Grant, based in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Guo is a doctoral student studying biology in the School of Life Sciences.
Arizona State University is a member of the Arizona Space Grant Consortium, part of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, which funded Guo’s workshop.