McCourt School of Public Policy
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Research Award

Connecting Computer Science Undergraduates to Data Science and Public Policy

Lisa Singh, MDI Director and Professor of Computer Science, was awarded a $443K grant by the National Science Foundation to run a research experience for undergraduate students on Georgetown’s campus, titled “From Formal Computer Science Education to Real World Data Science Research to Policy Decision Making.”

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to engage female computer science students in computer science and interdisciplinary research around some of the social and public policy issues of our day – forced migration, misinformation, and gun violence.

Lisa Singh, Director of Massive Data Institute

This grant will fund an 8-week summer research experience for undergraduate (REU) students to come to Georgetown’s campus to work on computer science research with public policy implications. Computer science students often have limited opportunities to understand how to deploy and optimize algorithms, methods, and tools taught in classes to constraints specific to large-scale real world data sets. It is even more unusual to get the opportunity to understand how to build bridges that connect the results of applying these algorithms and methods on specific data sets to policy development and decision making. That will be the focus of this REU site. 

It will be housed in the Computer Science Department and the Massive Data Institute (MDI), leveraging the strengths of both. The strategic positioning of this REU in both the Department of Computer Science and MDI will allow students to participate in computer science research and be exposed to how their research connects to society. 

This REU Site will focus on recruiting women, particularly women of color, further highlighting Georgetown’s commitment to increasing diversity across the sciences. Professor Singh has worked on equity and diversity issues in computer science for years. For example, she was a member of the Gender Equity Taskforce and is one of the co-founders of the GU Women Coders initiative. This grant enables her to expose female computer science students from other universities to larger-scale interdisciplinary research.  

Applications for interested students will open on the computer science and MDI websites by the end of the month and will be accepted through February.