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2021-2022 Networking Groups

During 2021-2022, two data science research networking groups will meet around the topics described below. Groups will meet regularly via Zoom for the Fall quarter, and the format of participation will be revisited in January 2022.

Community-Engaged Data Analytics
Data offers an opportunity to elevate narratives by highlighting patterns, stories, locations, people, etc. that can shed light on problems and/or highlight potential solutions. Increasing one’s access to data and the ability to analyze data using computational methodologies empowers one to shape the narratives that drive our collective understanding and decision-making impacting our research communities. As analysis methods become more computational, we must reimagine how we invite and engage community members' inequitable participation in shaping the narratives.

Building upon the energy of the 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021 Chicago-themed groups and the NSF-funded Metropolitan Chicago Data-Science Corps Program, and in collaboration with community partners, the new “Community-Engaged Data Analytics” group will support faculty in finding solutions to barriers in conducting community-engaged work and assist faculty in building cross-discipline collaborations.

This group will be led by Nichole Pinkard from Learning Sciences in the School of Education and Social Policy and Michelle Birkett from Medical Social Sciences in the Feinberg School of Medicine.

Human-Material Interactions
The discovery and use of new materials — pigments, clay, bronze, linen, papyrus, rubber, and so on — has always driven human societies in unexpected new directions. In this group, we will explore how humans discover and interact with novel materials and use the insights gained to address pressing societal challenges and improve the quality of human life. Our group will focus on human-materials interactions from biomedical and sustainability perspectives and on the use of artistic, experimental, computational, and artificial intelligence approaches.

Some of the areas being considered for exploration are drug delivery vehicles, health monitoring devices, soft prosthetics, coatings for photovoltaics, composites for wind turbines, sustainable construction materials, new materials for robotics, and art creation. To fully explore these opportunities, our group hopes to bring together artists, chemists, engineers, and philosophers/historians of science.

This group will be led by Ange-Therese Akono from Civil and Environmental Engineering and Jeffrey Richards in Chemical and Biological Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering.