For the second consecutive year, Bethel Park High School students captured first and second places at the Big Data Jam, sponsored by Pittsburgh Dataworks, a nonprofit organization formed in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and leading local and global firms to establish Pittsburgh as a leader in the growing field of big data and data analytics.
This year’s competition featured 140 students from seven area schools, working in teams to perform data analysis on a project of their choice.
Winning the competition with their project, “Online Degrees vs. Brick and Mortar Colleges: Return on Investment,” were sophomores Aubree Stewart, Tammy Stugan and Sabrina Tatalias, and freshman Alyssa George. They were prepared for the competition by Bethel Park High School marketing teacher Emily Smoller.
Finishing in second place for their project, “Concussions and the National Football League,” were seniors Noah Friday, Travis Glaser and Justin Nath, and juniors Tarush Bahl, Cassidy DeLeo and Maggie Wolf. They were prepared for the competition by Bethel Park High School gifted program coordinator Christine Robb.
All of the winning students received Fitbit devices for being among the top five teams.
The competition is designed to encourage students to learn about the impact big data will have on their lives and to better understand all of the new career options that big data creates in nearly every industry.
According to Pittsburgh Dataworks President Saman Haqqi, Pittsburgh is the first city in the nation to offer pre-college students the opportunity to learn about big data. Participating students were able to attend seminars with data scientists and take a field trip to a company that uses big data and analytics to further their strategic initiatives, to inspire the students as they began their research using big data.
Once students selected their topics, they participated in data analysis exercises and utilized data visualization tools to create a presentation board in advance of the competition, where they delivered an oral presentation and shared their visual presentation with a panel of local judges who work in the big data field.
This is the third year this competition has been offered. Since its inception, Bethel Park students have captured two first-place, three second-place and one third-place awards.