Students for Urban Data Systems

at Carnegie Mellon University

October 1, 2017
by SUDS Admin

Infographic Workshop: Thursday, October 5

Infographic Design Workshop with Jessica Bellamy

On Thursday, October 5, Jessica Bellamy will lead interested students in a workshop on Infographic Design. Jessica is an Infographic Designer and Adobe Creative Resident for 2017. With her guidance, we will explore and apply principles of conscious and responsible design to a real-world infographic project.


Jessica will cover the following topics:

  • Icon drafting
  • Infographic composition
  • Power dynamics in design
  • Data framing
  • Asset v. deficit mapping
  • Access to information
  • Grassroots design strategies

Chris Worley, Jessica Bellamy, and Ali Siegel after the Infographic Workshop

Chris Worley, Jessica Bellamy, and Ali Siegel at the Infographic Workshop

Infographics are easily digestible visualizations of complex data. As our access to larger volumes of data increases, our ability to communicate findings to policymakers, people with resources, and low-opportunity communities becomes more important.

If you’re interested, make sure you’re registered on EventBrite! The event will be on Thursday, October 5 from 12:00-1:15pm in Hamburg Hall, Room 2003.

October 1, 2017
by SUDS Admin

Census Data Workshop: Monday, October 2

Navigating U.S. Census Data Workshop with Eileen Patten 

Eileen Patten presenting at the Census event

Eileen Patten presenting at the Census event

Monday, October 2, join us for a workshop on accessing and using U.S. Census Bureau population and business data to assess your community, explore a topic of interest to you, or just learn more about the United States. U.S. Census data is a treasure trove of information about our country that spans many decades and many topic areas. Did you know you can use the American Community Survey to figure out how many homes in the U.S. have flush toilets? Or the American Time use Survey to find out how many hours Americans spend mowing their lawns?


This workshop will be led by the SUDS Speaker Series Chair, Eileen Patten. She is a second year Master of Science in Public Policy and Management student, specializing in Data Analytics. Before coming to Heinz, Eileen used census data to perform analysis on topics like gender and racial wage gaps, Latino and Asian populations in the U.S., and teen birth rates while working for the “fact tank” Pew Research Center.

Eileen will introduce several tools and surveys, including:

  • Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-USA): IPUMS-USA collects, preserves, and harmonizes U.S. census microdata and provides easy access to this data with enhanced documentation. Data includes decennial censuses from 1790 to 2010 and American Community Surveys (ACS) from 2000 to the present. Eileen will be working through the IPUMS online tabulator and dataset downloading. You can sign up for an IPUMS account if you want to follow along!
  • American FactFinder: This is the Census Bureau’s main tool for distributing information collected by their programs. Data from the Decennial Census, the Economic Census, the American Community Survey, the American Housing Survey, and many more.
  • QuickFacts: This “is an easy to use application that provides tables, maps, and charts of frequently requested statistics from many Census Bureau censuses, surveys, and programs”. (QuickFacts)

If you’re interested, make sure you’re registered on EventBrite! The event will be on Monday, October 2 from 4:30-6:00pm in Hamburg Hall, Room 2008.

September 28, 2017
by SUDS Admin

Welcome to a new semester with SUDS!

Wei, Ben K, Michael, Ben S, Chris, Vrishali, Akanksha, Eileen, Shouvik, Ali

Subscribe to keep up to date with SUDS

About Us

Let us reintroduce ourselves – Students for Urban Data Systems (SUDS) is a group of intellectually curious students at CMU dedicated to solving real life problems. We believe data analysis, data visualization, and machine learning skills are key to understanding and responding to issues in today’s data-heavy world. Unfortunately, many community organizations are not always equipped to do this type of data manipulation and analysis. That’s where we come in.

SUDS partners with organizations in Pittsburgh and Allegheny Country that are dedicated to social good, and we lend our skills to their mission. In sum, we connect our members with opportunities to do good with data.

Who We Are

In 2015, a small group of students recognized an opportunity to combine the skills they were learning in class with their ambition for contributing to the welfare of community organizations. That idea was the seed for SUDS. In two short years, we have grown from the original group of five students to a network of 50+ regular members, with hundreds of students participating in our activities in the past two years.

Obviously, our founders tapped into something that excited students across the CMU community. Today, students from all academic disciplines and skill levels participate in SUDS projects, workshops, hack nights, and speaker series.

What Makes Us Unique

We prize enthusiasm and effort before skill set. Our projects help members develop their skills, including data analysis (Python, R), data visualization (R Shiny, GIS, JS), machine learning, and project management. One of the most important parts of the SUDS experience is our mentorship. We learn from each other and help each other grow. Finally, we are open to all. There is no pay to play with SUDS. It’s as simple as this: our members are the folks that show up. You can keep up to date with projects, workshops, and events in the SUDS community by subscribing to our mailing list and community discussion board: