True confession: I’m daunted by data analytics and coding. Well, I used to be. Maybe this is because I’ve always thought of myself as a language nerd. Among my circle of friends in college, I was the only one majoring in two languages—English and German. Actually, I started off pre-med, bouncing around from major to major until I finally committed to what I loved—and what I feared wouldn’t land me a job. But what I realized not too long after graduation is that my humanities education helped me focus on nuances, on the details that often go unnoticed, on the stories inherent in a seeming jumble of symbols on a page or screen.
Flash-forward several years to me as a grad student at Miami University. I was finally pursuing my other scholastic love duo—design and tech. Walking one day to King Library, I saw a sandwich board advertising a new Data Analytics Awareness Microcredential from the Center for Analytics & Data Science (CADS). Free to current students! And starting this week! Was this for me? I liked the “awareness” part. Yeah, I got this. I eagerly snapped a pic of the ad and signed up as soon as I got home.
Flash-forward again a few years, now to me as marketing director at Joot, a local tech startup that I was fortunate to discover at Miami’s Architecture, Design & Emerging Technology Fair. I’m lucky to have landed here, having walked a rather winding path to this exciting financial-services-plus-tech destination. One of the first opportunities I learned about after joining Joot is our partnership with OhioX, a nonprofit helping people from all walks of life participate in and contribute to the vast world of tech and innovation, right here in Ohio. Working on a few OhioX committees introduced me to Ohio Tech Day, a free event many months in the making and finally kicking off on September 24, 2021.
Here’s where things come full circle. As a self-proclaimed language nerd, I was given the chance, thanks to CADS, to get my Data Analytics Awareness Microcredential, which demystified data analytics and coding to the point where I could actually do this stuff—and even apply these skills in my daily work. I had to find a way to give back. So I partnered with Phillip DiSilvestri, Joot’s incredibly talented sales and marketing intern (and current Miami student), to develop a coding tutorial that empowers students to learn the fundamentals of data analytics and coding in order to find relevant scholarship opportunities. This tutorial replicates, on a small scale, the kind of engagement and access I enjoyed through the CADS microcredential program.
But the story’s not over yet. Our coding tutorial, which uses data from DataOhio, sparked several conversations with companies and schools interested in making the tutorial even more engaging and accessible to more people. With the tremendous help of Dolr, we’re expanding the tutorial into more programming languages—including Python, which the CADS microcredential introduced me to—and giving students more opportunities to share their work.
Our scholarship map coding tutorial is living proof that anyone can do data analytics and coding. And anyone can apply these highly valuable skills to do good—for ourselves and others who maybe, at first, didn’t think we could.
About the Author
Karen Mauk graduated from Miami University’s Graduate School with an MFA in Experience Design (2021) and a graduate certificate in Interactive Media Studies (2019). She also participated in Miami’s miniMBA (2021) and Data Analytics Awareness Microcredential (2020) programs.