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A group of Community Data Fellows work at laptops around a large study table

The Community Data Fellows program is a core piece of the Data Science Institute’s community-centered data science. The Institute is dedicated to assisting community-based organizations in fulfilling their data needs and expanding their reach and impact. The Community Data Fellows program operates in collaboration with civic organizations on global, national, and local levels, committed to tackling cross-sector challenges together.

In Spring 2023, we joined government departments and community organizations serving diverse communities and focused on equity, education, healthcare, environment, youth development, and poverty. Through this program, these community-based organizations gained access to the resources and knowledge they needed to leverage their data and make informed decisions for driving positive change.

A group of Community Data Fellows work at laptops around a large study tableThe Community Data Fellows program, which recruits new fellows every quarter, offers  students the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world projects. Duration of projects ranges from a few weeks to months, depending on the project’s scope. The Community Data program’s goal is to establish mutually-beneficial relationships with a network of community partners for long-term collaboration. Spring 2023 Fellows worked closely with organizations like the International Rescue Committee, the Chicago Public Library, the State of Illinois Office of Equity & Inclusion, and local Chicago non-profits including Southside Blooms and Plan4Success. Students were empowered to manage the consulting engagement from start to finish, which involved scoping the project, developing tools and mechanisms tailored to the client’s needs, receiving regular feedback, and delivering a sustainable and effective final product. Our Community Data projects provide fellows with hands-on experience, helping them hone their skills and gain expertise in consulting and collaborating with a community service lens.

The Community Data Fellows program is a crucial part of the Data Science Institute’s mission to drive social impact and advance data-driven solutions. By participating in the program, students gain an understanding of how data can be leveraged to create sustainable social impact and develop the skills necessary to make meaningful contributions to society.