Student Quotes


I thought it would be a bunch of number computing, but it actually thought me a lot about presenting data in a community of collaborators in an effective manner.

Isabela Agi Maluli, Chemistry and Psychology ’25
Hip Hop Pedagogies & Education for Citizenship in Brazil & the US

I have gained a lot of knowledge in the field of natural language processing, and I would like to learn more about NLP and ML.

Nikki Daga, Computer Science and Statistics ‘26
Machine Learning and Evaluating Technical Documentation

I learned a lot more about data wrangling, and using resources other than Duke to help me gain knowledge about R and general programming practices. It felt more like a real job than a class-based curriculum, with actual deadlines and meetings where we had deliverables. It made me learn what it could mean to be a data scientist in the workplace one day.

Avery Hodges, Statistical Science ‘23
Data Science for Operations and Planning at Durham Public Schools

I gained a lot of practical experience working on a research project that I’m interested in. I’ve learned that I enjoy doing this sort of work. I developed lots of python skills regarding running machine learning models, image processing, file management, and desktop app development. My mental image when thinking “data science” is having a lot of data in columns, running a regression on it, and visualizing that. Our project was more image-processing oriented, so it expanded my perception of what “data science” can mean. Other groups also were working on things that weren’t the typical model-patterns-in-data workflow.

Adam Kosinski, Computer Science ‘24
Innovations in Research Technology to Assess Forest Wildlife (Climate+)

Initially I thought data science would be a very rigid, monotonous “working with data” field. Going to all the talks opened my eyes to how data science can be applied to all sorts of tasks and fields, from pure data analysis to environmental monitoring! I learned how to work as a team on a CS / data science project. Also exposed to how data science can be applied to a variety of tasks and fields. Definitely gained connections and experience relating to data and computer sciences.

Eric Lee, Computer Science ‘26
ML for high complexity clinical HLA datasets

I was able to move a project that I had been working on in the semester closer to publication. I gained experience in independent work and motivating a team. I learned about many techniques that I was unaware of through the program talks, and I also now think of data scientists more as data communicators.

Julia Leeman, Neuroscience and Music ‘24
Auditory Imagery of Speech and Non-Speech Sounds

I had no idea what data science even was before this program, but I’ve gained a strong knowledge of R and a grasp of data science research processes.

Will Leiber, Linguistics ‘25
Mental Health and the Justice System in Durham County

I’ve learned so much about statistical analysis and dashboard development. Data+ gave me a great experience working with a team, and I learned so much about collaboration and leadership in working with others.

Cynthia Ma, Computer Science ‘26
Visualizing data to increase access to diapers

I have learned how to use a new software tool (MATLAB) to manipulate audio and video data, I have also learned how to work efficiently in a team, and the process of starting a data science project from scratch.

Damilola Oshunyinka, NCCU, Pharmaceutical Sciences ‘23
Strengthening Partnerships: Durham Schools & Local Universities

Collaborating in a group and learning to work with my project manager and project lead has been a great experience. This was one of my first times working on a project without a ton of structure, so it was very valuable to learn how to direct myself and where to look for help when stuck. Before Data+, I hadn’t considered the research part of Data Science but I have gained an appreciation for the background work that goes into Data Science, such as finding articles or other research to guide my own research. The panels also showed me that Data Science is a wide field and there are a large amount of professions that use Data Science in their everyday life.

Grady Purcell, Statistical Science ‘26
Using Deep Event-Level Data to Provide Quantitative Insights for Duke Women’s Soccer Team

I have gained valuable project group experience, working on a real project that affects real people. Not only have I gained many important technical skills but also important skills about working in a team and communicating findings, which I believe to be most important. I learned that the most important aspect of data science research is actually communicating your results. Discovering great findings is great, but totally useless if one does not know how to communicate those findings to a greater audience.

Dillan Sant, Statistics ‘25
Data Science for Operations and Planning at Durham Public Schools

As someone who hasn’t done data science or programming in the past, I have learned a lot about coding and computers in general, especially when using Python. The program made me realize that real data can often be messy, and it taught me how to communicate with my teammates and stakeholders to get the best results.

Bo Schaffer, Neuroscience ‘26
Developing Impact Assessment Tools for Neurotechnologies

I enjoyed hearing the other groups presentations that seemed they were solving big issues. The talks with alumni from different major and paths was helpful, good to know there are different uses for data science. breakfast was delicious on Wednesdays, and I liked that there was care put into cultivating ‘soft’ skills like presentations – Paul had a nice speech about that on the first day, that a data scientist that can’t present results to non-technical people are not useful.



Through the program, I not only developed my technical skills with regards to programming and data visualization, but I also learned a lot more about finance and the intersections of finance and data science. This program really incited my love for programming and problem-solving with data, and has made me even more interested in studying statistical science and data science at Duke. Finally, I learned how to effectively collaborate and communicate with a team in a virtual environment.

Helen Chen, Statistics ‘23
AI in the Investment Office

I didn’t really know how data science research applied to social science, but Data+ showed me that it can be a really successful avenue for discovery and change.

Nick Datto, Neuroscience, Computer Science, and Cultural Anthropology ‘23
Race and Housing in Durham over the Course of the 20th Century

I have gained so much knowledge and confidence! And it is not limited to the area of technology, although I have learned to code in R, navigate PACE, and so much more. I have better discovered the benefit of working with a team and received motivation and mentors by seeing female-identifying students, like myself, succeed. Hearing their success stories via panels or team meetings has given me so much more confidence as a young woman wanting to pursue a career in STEM.

Sydney Hunt, Engineering ‘23
Predicting Blindness in Duke’s Glaucoma Patient Population

I learned a lot about data science and using code to manipulate data. I learned how to properly use a terminal, deep learning/machine learning, pandas, and many other skills. Also, I gained collaboration skills when it comes to developing code.

Pavani Jairam, Physics ‘23
Finding Space Junk with the World’s Biggest Telescopes

I had expected it to be very analytical, but I was surprised at the creativity that was also required. I enjoyed this aspect a lot.

Amber Potter, Computer Science ‘23
Predicting Baseball Players’ Athletic Performance Utilizing Baseline Assessments of Vision

I definitely gained a lot of experience in R and in Tableau, but I also learned a ton about the fields of data science and public health. We had several interviews with community partners that helped me learn a lot about the different types of careers in data science, environmental advocacy, and environmental health.

Leah Roffman, Environmental Science ‘23
Piloting an Environmental Public Health Tracking Tool for North Carolina

Beyond solid technical machine learning skills, I’ve received a greater appreciation for data science as a tool to understand everything–from aircraft maintenance to the humanities. Before, I’d never expected that conducting humanities research would teach me how to wield and utilize the most cutting-edge research in machine learning and natural language processing. My team is using new package libraries and research papers written by lead researchers this year to conduct our analysis of ancient texts. In Data+, New meets Old.

Albert Sun, Computer Science and Public Policy ‘23
For love of greed: tracing the early history of consumer culture


I’ve learned to work through the entire process of a data science project, from assembling data sources all the way through presenting our findings. I’ve also developed insight into working in a team with people of different backgrounds and interests, which enabled us to contribute to the project in different ways. I’ve taken various lessons and hard skills that will carry with me into my future academic and professional endeavors.

Benjamin Chen, Computer Science, Economics ‘22
Protecting American Investors? Financial Advice from before the New Deal to the Birth of the Internet

I have gained a significant amount of knowledge of the cybersecurity industry and attack methods due to the nature of the background research I had to do for my project. In addition, I was able to apply my knowledge of statistical analysis to real data and learn new techniques to arrange data such as time series analysis.

Matthew Feder, Computer Science ‘22
Applying Security Orchestration, Automation & Response (SOAR) to security threat hunting with Duke’s ITSO

I learned there’s much more to it then looking at data. It’s also a way of thinking and organizing what you have analyzed to help others who aren’t able to look at data in such a way to understand it. It’s also a bit of storytelling in a way.

Jessica Ho, Math and Neuroscience ‘22
Predicting Baseball Players’ Athletic Performance Utilizing Baseline Assessments of Vision

My coding skills and machine learning knowledge had a huge leap. I learned how to better work in a team as well.

Noah Lanier, Psychology ‘22
Human Activity Recognition using Physiological Data from Wearables

What I have discovered is that a majority of data research is about communication. How you interact with your teammates and superiors is just as important, if not more important, than being a genius in your field.

Andrew Scofield, Computer Science ’22, Birmingham-Southern College
For love of greed: tracing the early history of consumer culture

Data+ absolutely changed my perception of data science research. Learning data science has been more intuitive than expected. There are also resources all over the Internet in addition to team members that are able to provide assistance when one is facing difficulty with an aspect of a project. Data science is also able to be applied to many more scenarios than I expected; I look forward to continuing data science research in the future.

Malik Scott, Global Health ‘22
Predicting Baseball Players’ Athletic Performance Utilizing Baseline Assessments of Vision


It was difficult at first to jump into Data+, but doing this has benefited me a few ways. Having to learn Python on my own, in a very short amount of time, with almost no prior coding experience (I didn’t even know what a package was) and quickly turning around and using those skills taught me that I am capable of flexibility and learning on the job. Coding also requires an immense amount of problem solving and independence. Although my mentors are fantastic, it’s up to me to figure out where I want to take the project and how I want to do it. Data+ has been a really invaluable exercise in teamwork.

Ellen Mines, Biology and Philosophy ‘21
Computational Tools to Improve Healthy and Pleasurable Eating in Young Children

Since I’ve never participated in research before, especially not research this independently oriented, the main thing I feel I’ve gained from this experience is confidence. I feel like I have a much better understanding of my own capabilities, and I honestly feel much less intimidated by the idea of pursuing research, not just in Data Science.

Donald Pepka, Math, Political Science, and Creative Writing ‘21
For love of greed: tracing the early history of consumer culture

My group has been focused on cybersecurity and automation methods to prevent and seek out attackers to keep Duke websites and accounts from being compromised. I have learned a lot about cybersecurity, a field that I otherwise might not have pursued. It has been a very interesting and enlightening experience so far and I am excited to continue learning from the Duke OIT staff.

John Taylor, Computer Science ‘21
Applying Security Orchestration, Automation & Response (SOAR) to security threat hunting with Duke’s ITSO

I learned a number of hard skills in terms of coding languages as well as some soft skills along the lines of working with a team and coordinating with a client.

Benjamin Williams, ECE ‘21
ABOUT-US – A BOundary Update Tool for Utility Services

2020 and Earlier

I’ve learned how interdisciplinary data science is, and how a team of people with many different academic trajectories can work together on the same project, something that I don’t think happens very often in other areas.


I’ve gained a lot of valuable insight into the career fields of environmental health and epidemiology. I’ve also learned a lot about project workflow and how to work through the different phases of a long term project with a team. In addition, my skills in R coding and Tableau have improved a ton.


I learned about team communication and organizational skills, time management, and I think I have a greater appreciation for how socio-cultural analysis from a humanities perspective can work in tandem with STEM based modes of collecting information/data.

Lucia Jones, Environmental Studies Brown University, ’20
When Black Stories Go Global: Analyzing the Translation of African-American Literature and Film

Working remotely has made coordination much more difficult. However, we really have been embracing GitHub and box to overcome these challenges. I have learned a lot about RNNs and the applications of GRUs and LSTM’s and how to implement such layers, in addition to learning how to use pytorch as previously I only used tensor flow.

Nathan Warren, MIDS, ’20
Human Activity Recognition using Physiological Data from Wearables

I gained concrete skills in R and Tableau, the ability to collaborate in a virtual environment, and a better understanding of what data science actually means. I also got a glimpse into the public health field and got to learn what many different public health careers might actually entail.

Anna Zolotor, Undeclared, ’20
Piloting an Environmental Public Health Tracking Tool for North Carolina