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What is DataFest?
DataFest is a competition sponsored by the American Statistical Association (ASA) where teams of up to four students participate in a weekend-long data analysis session. Teams are given large and complex sets of data from real-world organizations and businesses, and the teams’ results may have an impact on research, policies, or decisions in those institutions. Over the course of two days, teams work around the clock to create a thoughtful analysis to present to the judges and their peers. Analyses should communicate the teams’ insights, but must also frame those insights in a way that can be easily understood by experts and novices alike.  Students from engineering, math, computer science, statistics, social science, and other fields have participated in the event.

Why should you participate?
DataFest is an opportunity to:

  • work with a data set from an actual business or research study
  • develop marketable experience cleaning and analyzing data
  • sharpen your data analysis skills
  • interpret real-world statistics
  • engage in critical thinking
  • participate in group work
  • get creative with data
  • win prizes and have fun

In addition to honing your data analysis and teamworking skills, ASA DataFest is a great opportunity to gain experience that can translate to the workplace. Including the DataFest experience on your resume conveys a level of comfort with statistics and an ability to engage in critical thinking.

How do you register?
Because DataFest teams are working with confidential data, the registration process is very important. Each member of your team will need to complete the DataFest Entry Form, including a non-disclosure agreement.

How do you find a team?
Many students will organize teams on their own, but if you’re interested in participating and haven’t found teammates yet, we can add you to a group that’s looking for additional members. Please complete the DataFest Team Formation Questionnaire.

I submitted my entry form/team formation questionnaire. What should I do next?
First, mark your calendar for the orientation meeting at 3:00pm on Friday, April 8th and for the awards ceremony at 12:00pm on April 10th. (Both will be held virtually). Next, you can join the Discord channel to get announcements and the latest news.  We will send you an email with more information sometime around April 6 (with some sneak-peak previews of the data context). At the orientation at 3:00 pm on April 8th, we will go over the rules and make the data available. Then the competition begins!

ASA DataFest at PLU is organized by Assistant Professor of Mathematics N. Justice, Resident Instructor of Mathematics Nick Paterno, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis Craig Chamberlain, Assistant Professor of Business Catherine Ha, Associate Professor of Computer Science Renzhi Cao, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jeff Caley, and Natural Sciences Administrative & Communications Assistant Christine Nicolai.