Data for Impact Summer Institute

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The Data for Impact Summer Institute is a eight-week project-centric program for highly motivated students focused on Data Science, Research, Analytics, Visualization, and Execution. The Institute begins with a one-week workshop series, taught by Lehigh faculty, that will get students up to speed on the core knowledge of data statistics, applications, analysis and visualization. For the remaining seven weeks, student teams will work on a wide array of interdisciplinary data-centric projects with meaningful outcomes. Projects may address compelling social, economic, population health, or community-related topics with aspirations for contributing to real sustainable impact. These projects will be faculty-guided and inquiry-driven, and prepare students to engage with faculty research while empowering them to pursue their own ideas and data-related career pathways. Project teams have the opportunity to advance their work into the academic year through the multi-year Creative Inquiry project framework.

The Data for Impact Summer Institute is offered by the Office of Creative Inquiry, the Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise, and the Institute for Data, Intelligent Systems, and Computation (I-DISC). The D4I Summer Institute specifically welcomes applications from rising sophomores and juniors but is open to all Lehigh students. 

Data for Impact Summer Institute 2020
The Data for Impact Summer Institute debuted this past summer. Eighty-six students participated in 15 different projects this year. Programs and Faculty mentors are listed below. Applications will be available mid-March 2021 for next year's cohort.

Students: What’s in it for me?

  • Develop / strengthen skill sets in data science, analysis and visualization: a growing field for all disciplines that opens new career pathways;

  • Experience working with interdisciplinary teams and driving research forward collaboratively with student, faculty, and external partners;

  • Opportunities to work collaboratively with other self-selected, motivated students from across the university on ambitious data-centric projects;

  • Applying principles of data science to high-impact, real-world projects / applying knowledge to practical execution;
  • Learning fast, learning big, learning to fail and reiterate, and learning on the go;

  • Prepare your resume to join faculty research endeavors, pursue your own ideas for new ventures, and qualify for new internship and career opportunities.

Program Structure

  • The program begins mid June and ends early August, lasting eight weeks.

  • There is a one-week workshop series, followed by immersive project work (Mandatory). Additional pre-program workshops may be offered for students with no or very limited experience working with data.

  • Weekly Check-Ins from Teams (Mandatory)

  • Weekly Seminar by Industry/Academic Experts (Mandatory)

  • Pop-up classes by Lehigh folks and external subject matter experts will be offered every week. Faculty can make specific workshops mandatory for their own teams.

  • Presenting at the Virtual Summer Expo (Mandatory)

Information for Students

How do students apply?

Applications available mid-March 2021.

When are student applications due?

Students must submit their completed applications by 11:59 EDT on Saturday, May 23rd to be guaranteed full consideration for the program.

Is there a cost to the D4I Summer Institute?

No! The Institute is tuition-free. More information can be given on that during the application and interview process.

Why should I become a D4I Fellow?

See above for program benefits - mostly, though, you want to do this because you are a motivated, intelligent, outcomes-focused individual who wants to continue to develop your skill sets and mindsets along your career pathway, and because COVID-19 has made summer internships and other opportunities difficult to come by.

Information for Faculty

I have a project idea. What next?

Given the short time frame, we are expecting initial information including a project title, lead faculty mentor, other faculty involved, and a short summary by May 18 if possible. After initial conversations and confirmation, and in order to facilitate the selection of students, we will request (before the program commences on June 15) a brief (1-2 page) project concept that responds to the following prompts (bullet points are completely fine):

1. Demographics
      a. Project Title
      b. Lead Faculty Member
      c. Partnering Faculty
      d. Ideal Student Profile
      e. Specific Resources Necessary

2. Dream and Impact
      a. What is the ultimate, or hoped-for, dream of the project? How might you pursue this dream?
      b. What is the topic/question/possibility/mode of inquiry you will employ?
      c. What is the project’s potential for impact? What might your impact look like? What disciplines, fields, or spheres will your work influence?

3. Project Scope
      a. What would make this project a potential game-changer? 
      b. What is the new intellectual/creative pathway you are taking?
      c. How is this project collaborative? What communities of practice are you contributing to, and calibrating against?

What are the criteria for D4I projects?

Projects should be data intensive and involve creative inquiry, defined as pursuing a novel intellectual or creative pathway. Projects should meet the 4 C's: Creative Inquiry; Convergence (of disciplines, methodologies, epistemologies, etc.); Commitment to Impact; and, Community (i.e. interdisciplinary). Continuity (the 5th C) is optional, but can come with additional resources and support.

What's in it for faculty project mentors?

Faculty project mentors can:

  • Advance a research project that aligns with their research and impact agenda;

  • Work with a highly self-selected student cohort to work on the project in the Summer, and more importantly, through the academic year;

  • Have access to project funding through the Creative Inquiry / Mountaintop infrastructure through the academic year.

What are the ways in which interested faculty can participate without mentoring a project?

We are looking for faculty who are interested in one of the following roles:

  1. Helping teach the bootcamp portion of the D4I Summer Institute;
  2. Contribute content that would benefit project teams in the Institute as they advance their work forward;
  3. Offer one-off guest workshops and seminars, or help connect us with industry folks whom we should invite to deliver workshops.

Data for Impact Summer Institute 2020 Projects (Click the image for additional information)