Data Analysis Workshop Series: partnering with the CDSS Data Science Discovery Consultants

With the increase in data science across all disciplines, most undergraduates will encounter basic data science concepts and be expected to analyze data at some point during their time at UC Berkeley. To address this growing need, the Library Data Services Program began partnering with the Data Science Discovery Consultants in the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) on the Introduction to Data Analysis Support workshop series in Fall 2020. The Data Science Discovery Consultants are a group of undergraduates majoring in computer science, math, data science, and related fields who are hired as student employees. They receive training to offer consultation services across a wide range of topics, including Python, R, SQL, and Tableau, and they have existing partnerships with other groups on campus to provide instruction around data as a part of their program. Through the partnership, Data Science Discovery Consultants work with librarians to develop as instructors and gain experience constructing workshops and teaching technical skills. The end result is the creation of a peer-to-peer learning environment for novice undergraduate learners who want to begin working with data. The peer-to-peer learning model lowers the barrier to learning for other undergraduates and enhances motivation and understanding.

The Data Science Discovery Consultants enthusiastically embraced the core values of the Carpentries, through which they empower each other and the audience, collaborate with their community, and create inclusive spaces that welcome and extend empathy and kindness to all learners. In Fall 2022, attendance for the workshop series was opened up to local community college students who may be interested in transferring to UC Berkeley. One of the workshops was taught in Spanish, to provide an environment in which native Spanish speakers could better connect with one another and the content. 

Diego Sotomayor, a former UC Berkeley Library student employee and current Data Science Discovery Consultant, taught the inaugural Introduction to Python in Spanish: Introducción al análisis de datos con Python. Diego comments that: 

Languages at events are no longer just a necessity but have gone to the next level of being essential to transmit any relevant information to the interested public. There are many people who only speak Spanish or another language other than English and intend to learn new topics through various platforms including workshops. However, because they are limited by only speaking a language that is not very popular, they get stuck in this desire to progress and learn. Implementing the workshop in different languages, not only in English but in Spanish and even others, is important to give the same opportunities and equal resources to people looking for opportunities.”

The UC Berkeley Library and the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society hope to further provide these offerings for prospective transfer students in Fall 2023. Many thanks to Elliott Smith, Lisa Ngo, Kristina Bush (now at Tufts University), and Misha Coleman in the Library. Anthony Suen is the Library’s staff partner in the Data Science Discovery Program and Kseniya Usovich assists with outreach.