Student Data Analysis Contest

Give your nonprofit, agency or news organization valuable data-driven insights by sponsoring a project at our student data analysis contest. 

The San Diego Regional Data Library, the SDSU Society for Statisticians and Actuaries and Teradata are organizing a data analysis contest to aid nonprofits, journalists and government agencies in making better use of data, develop a broader regional capacity for data analysis, and introduce students interested in data analysis to future employers.

Contestant teams will have one week in early March 2015 to answer a set of data-driven questions and visualize the results for one of four projects. Each project will be provided by a nonprofit, government agency or news organization.

The contest will be announced in early January, primarily to college students. For a month before the contest begins, the San Diego Regional Data Library will run a special session of its Practical Data Program to train contestants on using data, Python, R, and IPython to analyze data.

The contest will be judged based on both the work submitted by the teams after the end of the week and the teams’ presentations’ at an evening event the following week.

We are recruiting sponsoring organizations to participate in the contest as:

  • Project Sponsors
  • Prize sponsors
  • Judges
  • Team Mentors

Project Sponsors. Project sponsors are nonprofits, news organizations or government agencies that will describe a compelling problem that the Library staff can turn into a suitable contest. Projects should address an important social issue such as:

  • Hunger
  • Homelessness
  • Health
  • Transportation
  • Education

Project sponsors will provide a staff member for the kick off event, to present the project to contestants and answer questions the contestants may have. Project sponsors don’t need to provide financial support, although they may sponsor additional prize money for their project to encourage more contestants to select that project.

Project sponsors will get:

  • Valuable data-driven insights to core operational issues.
  • Introductions to skilled analysts who can volunteer for additional data work.
  • Promotion in contest marketing materials.

Prize Sponsors. While the main prizes are covered by our sponsor, Teradata, other organizations can sponsor a side prize of their choosing. The side prizes can be awarded for anything the sponsor wants, such as:

  • Best visualization
  • Most compelling explanation of a social issue
  • Best statistical work

Project sponsors may offer a side prize for their project to encourage more contestants to choose it, or encourage a particular focus on the project.

Mentors. Because the contestants will be students, it will be very valuable to have data analysis professionals work with the teams. Mentors can either work with the teams over the course of the week of the contest, for a commitment of about 10 hours or less, or be available for consulting at one or both of the weekend events, a commitment of about 4 hours.

Judges. Prize Sponsors can provide a judge for the main prizes or for their side prize. We are also recruiting judges from the project sponsors and journalists.

Participating in the Contest

If you are interested in being involved in the contest, as a project sponsor, mentor or contestant, contact Eric Busboom at, or (619) 363-2607. Or, subscribe to our email list for future announcements.