Statistics students tackle big data questions at annual DC DataFest

Mason Engineering DataFest Team

Student from Mason Engineering's Department of Statistics at the 2018 DC DataFest. From left to right: Brooke Gipson, Alyssa McDonald, Evan Cypher, and Megan Maloney. Mariya Prokhorenko was also in the winning team.

Students from George Mason University’s American Statistical Association student chapter participated in the 2018 DC DataFest April 20-22. The weekend-long competition encourages undergraduate students from a wide variety of disciplines to find new and innovative ways of analyzing big data. 

Datafest is a student-led and student-run event that takes place every year. The American Statistical Association describes the event as "two days of intense data wrangling, analysis, and presentation design," after which each team presents its findings in a few minutes with no more than two slides.  Teams win prizes for Best in Show, Best Visualization, and Best Use of External Data.

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At a similar event later in the month, six master's students competed at The Data Challenge DC, and one of them was on the team that won for best visualization.

"We are proud of our statistics' student accomplishments," say, Ilhan Izmirli, faculty advisor to the student organization. "All of the presentations were first class."

Students say that DataFest gives them a chance to apply skills that they have learned in class and better understand the work of a data scientist. The competition teaches them what skills are most in-demand right now in the field of data science. 

The George Mason University student chapter of the American Statistical Association meets regularly during the academic year and welcomes students from all majors and programs. If you are interested in joining, visit the website.

The 2018 DC DataFest was hosted by Summit Consulting. George Mason University students competed against students from eleven other universities. Two Mason teams participated in the competition. The teams were:

Stat of the Art: 
Brooke Gipson
Evan Cypher
Megan Maloney
Alyssa McDonald
Mariya Prokhorenko
The Patriots:
Ray Koser
Anushka Prativadhi
Abhinav Kimar
Jesse Scearc