5 Questions for Katherine Lin: Data Scientist in Training – KWHS

This story sits on the intersection of problem and alternative. First, the pandemic. While a time of disaster, it has additionally been a 12 months of unveiling numbers. Take, for example, all the information generated from this very distinctive second in our world’s historical past that may assist us replicate on numerous outcomes and higher put together for comparable crises sooner or later.

That information, partially, helped Katherine Lin flip but another COVID-related disappointment into a chance. Lin, at the moment a senior at Byram Hills High School in New York, was getting ready final spring to use to the Wharton Data Science Academy, a summer season program that introduces state-of-the-art machine studying and information science instruments to highschool college students. When that program was canceled as a result of pandemic, Katherine reached out to Program Leader Linda Zhao, a Wharton professor of statistics, to discover potential mentorship prospects.

That outreach impressed an immersive information science expertise for Katherine that started together with her learning statistical machine studying fashions and R programming language via Zhao’s on-line “Modern Data Mining” courses, then transferring to working nearly alongside Zhao to conduct complete information analysis on COVID-19 dying charges and its affect on counties with totally different socio-economic traits, and eventually presenting her findings in February 2021 through the distant Women in Data Science @ Penn Conference.

This 12 months’s theme – This is What a Data Scientist Looks Like – emphasised the depth, breadth, and variety of knowledge science, together with one significantly well-researched scholar from Byram Hills High School.

Wharton Global Youth caught up with Katherine to discover her information discoveries. “My biggest takeaway from this entire experience is that I want to go into a career where I can do research in data science just because this experience was so rewarding,” says Katherine, who’s headed to MIT within the fall. “I was able to get results that meant something and were really relevant. I want to continue that. I want to be able to help people while pursuing my passion for computers and data science.”

Curious about her analysis challenge and college collaboration, we requested Katherine for all the small print. We provide you with 5 questions for Katherine Lin:

Wharton Global Youth: How a lot do you know about information science (a area that makes use of scientific strategies, algorithms and extra to extract data and insights from structured and unstructured information) whenever you first approached Professor Zhao?

Katherine: I took AP Computer Science my sophomore 12 months and now I’m a instructing assistant in that class. I’ve some Python [programming language] and likelihood expertise. I needed to be taught quite a bit, so Professor Zhao despatched me her class lectures, which was actually useful. The lectures have been arrange with each machine studying and R so I might be taught each on the similar time. It had examples with R code and examples with actual information units, the place I might see the totally different machine studying units in motion. That helped me acquire a very good understanding of how every of the machine-learning strategies labored. We additionally had quick Zoom conferences for me to ask her questions. It took a few months.

Wharton Global Youth: What did your analysis course of contain?

Katherine: After I completed studying, I used to be actually excited to only get going and begin the evaluation. I discovered that there’s a lot of preparation that goes into it first. I spent a whole lot of time data-wrangling and cleansing, however as soon as we felt prepared to maneuver on to the following step, then Professor Zhao helped me via every of the machine studying strategies, writing the code, working it, discovering the outcomes. That was my favourite half, with the ability to see the outcomes. Finally got here the writeup. This was undoubtedly probably the most difficult half for me — placing every part we had collectively into one cohesive report and discovering new methods to show our information. I additionally had probably the most steering from Professor Zhao at this level. She gave me a whole lot of recommendation and assist on easy methods to format it and write all of it up.

Wharton Global Youth: What have been a few of your key analysis findings offered in your report, entitled “COVID-19 Impact on Counties with Different Social-Economic Characteristics?”

Katherine: We tried to search out the essential elements affecting the COVID-19 dying price — for instance, is one racial group affected extra? And do revenue stage and schooling stage play an essential function? There have been a whole lot of media experiences about how sure teams have been being affected disproportionately [by the pandemic]. I wasn’t positive in the event that they have been fully dependable. After seeing this information, it’s undoubtedly true. Some teams do require extra assist and extra assets needs to be allotted to assist these teams, particularly throughout this pandemic, but additionally typically throughout occasions of disaster. Funneling extra assets into these teams might assist the U.S. total. (For extra report particulars, watch Katherine’s Women in Data Science presentation, together with analysis from different college students, within the video on the finish of this text).

Wharton Global Youth: Do you recall a second throughout your analysis the place all of it got here collectively for you?

Katherine: I had simply completed one kind of machine studying technique and I used to be going onto a Random Forest and it was bringing again actually good outcomes. I received to drag aside the totally different variables and see what was occurring. I had this second once I thought, ‘Oh my God, I can see what is affecting the spread of COVID-19 and I can see all the stuff that was hidden before and now it’s on the market within the open!’

Wharton Global Youth: What would you want different highschool college students to grasp about information analytics?

Katherine: I wouldn’t say that my analysis was probably the most technically advanced, however simply the truth that I did it and had this expertise was the largest factor. Data is all over the place. With a robust base in analytical considering and an curiosity in problem-solving, I might simply leap proper in. E-mail potential mentors or method summer season applications or take a extra exploratory method information units on Kaggle. You don’t essentially have to investigate them utilizing all these sophisticated strategies, however you will get a primary understanding of how information works so post-high faculty you may go deeper and research it in faculty.

Table of Contents

Conversation Starters

Katherine Lin pursued a chance through the pandemic. Describe a chance that you just embraced prior to now 12 months, research-related or in any other case. Share your experiences within the remark part of this text.

How are information and decision-making related, and why is that this particularly highly effective throughout occasions of sudden disaster, just like the pandemic?

After ending this text, discover the assets on the Women in Data Science @ Penn Conference web site, which you will discover linked within the article, in addition to within the Related Links tab. Review one other presentation from the convention and share what you discovered about information science along with your classmates.


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