Students for Urban Data Systems

at Carnegie Mellon University

SUDS Summer Spotlight

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Hard to believe there’s only one month left of summer… Curious where in the world it’s taken SUDS members? Read below to find out a few of cool things our crew has been up to:

Krista Kinnard, MS Public Policy & Management-Data Analytics, 2017
Krista Kinnard
1) Where are you working/researching/interning?
LMI, Washington D.C.

2) What does your work station look like? (e.g. Google pod, classic cubicle, etc)
Traditional cube with many “team rooms” available for collaboration and brainstorming.

3) How would you describe your main responsibilities/projects in two sentences (or one long one, with lots of commas)?
I work predominantly with insurance provider compliance with Affordable Care Act regulations. We receive data from all insurance providers on the exchanges (both federal and state) and evaluate them to ensure they are providing adequate coverage to individuals seeking health insurance through healthcare.gov. One interesting project I am working on is using Python (mostly the Pandas library) to weed through all of the individual physicians listed on the exchange through these insurance providers and identifying the languages they speak in their practices. Eventually, I will be creating a map of these languages and organizing the data in such a way that it can be included in a larger database for individuals choosing insurance plans on the exchange to be able to access physicians in their insurance network that speak their language.

4) What’s one insight about data/policy you’ve gained from your work so far?​
You can spend your entire life cleaning data

5) What’s your favorite summer after-work activity?
Exploring D.C.!

Lauren Renaud, MS Public Policy & Management-Data Analytics, 2017
Lauren Post
1) Where are you working/researching/interning?
Larimer Consensus Group in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh, just past East Liberty

2) What does your work station look like? (e.g. Google pod, classic cubicle, etc)
We’re located in the ECCO Center, a green building on Larimer Ave. The main room when you walk in has a long desk running around the edge of the room. I sit there with my laptop.

3) How would you describe your main responsibilities/projects in two sentences (or one long one, with lots of commas)?
Building maps, web tools, and analysis that will inform smart growth development and a single family housing strategy.

4) What’s one insight about data/policy you’ve gained from your work so far?
You learn so much more by having to do it every day. I’ve been jumping between ArcGIS, CartoDB, and R to clean and visualize our data. There’s not necessarily one “best” tool for the job, just use what you know and figure it out as you go.

5) What’s your favorite summer after-work activity?
Exploring Pittsburgh in the summer by bike

Justin Cole, MS Public Policy & Management-Data Analytics, 2017
1782364
1) Where are you working/researching/interning?
MetroLab Network; Washington, DC

2) What does your work station look like? (e.g. Google pod, classic cubicle, etc)
Most of the time a windowless office, but occasionally the eclectic confines of one of DC’s great coffee shops.

3) How would you describe your main responsibilities/projects in two sentences (or one long one, with lots of commas)?
I’m working with representatives from government, philanthropy, and higher education to develop strategies for long-term funding and programming of a smart cities network. The network is committed to an RD&D model to partner research and development from universities with rapid deployment in metro areas to solve some of the nation’s biggest urban challenges.

4) What’s one insight about data/policy you’ve gained from your work so far?
It’s difficult for cities to be the first to try a new data-driven approach or adopt a new policy that changes the way things have already been done; yet there’s an incredible network of public leaders out there working to share best practices and help all cities push new ideas forward.

5) What’s your favorite summer after-work activity?
Going for a run on the National Mall (even with the heat and humidity of DC’s swampy summers).

 

Want to share your summer experience? Answer the questions above and email us!

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