On Wednesday at Spark Baltimore, a group of high school students gathered in a room with technologists for presentations offering a look at some recent work with data.
It was the kind of presentation that would typically provide insight for a coming career. But in this case, it was the students who had the floor, speaking to a panel of four experts and other attendees.
Sophomores Ana Basoco and Frank Tagaytay and juniors Jacky Le and Yao Zheng presented their work analyzing and visualizing data, as well as automating a Twitter bot. They also talked about attending the Bitcamp Hackathon at the University of Maryland College Park.
The four students from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute took part in the Code in the City program, which trained them in Python through Code in the Schools (CITS) and offered a chance to apply these skills toward work at the City of Baltimore’s Department of General Services (DGS). It’s the second year of a partnership between the computer science education organization and city government.
Working with CITS instructor and recent UMBC computer science grad Tez Fraser,the program includes three 10-week sessions. After Python training during the first two sessions, the students worked with DGS’s Business Process Improvement Office team members on projects during the third — specifically data analysis of work orders for DGS’ facilities maintenance to identify trends that could help the department’s management, and visualizing that data.
The dataset had more than 87,000 items to analyze, Basoco said. She talked about how her team broke down the number of work orders over given periods of time.
Additionally, the group built on work that began last year to create a Twitter bot that sends info to the public. They made it fully automated, meaning they could send out tweets without needing to run the code.
“This is a super helpful addition, because this allows DGS to provide regular, important information to the public about operations even when the city is closed for holidays, weekends or any other hours outside of the regular work day,” said Melanie Shimano, a data automation and technology analyst at DGS.
One of the students will continue working with the department to fully implement the Twitter bot during the summer internship.
The industry panelists for the event included:
- Chichi Nyagah-nash, deputy director at DGS
- Maurice Benson, senior data scientist at Fearless
- Will Miller, lead game designer at Firaxis Games and VP of CITS’ board
- Giovanni Vincenti, a professor in the University of Baltimore Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies
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