Introduction to The Data Science Club

August 18, 2021

Article by Koriann South. Edited by Vivek Gupta.

When and why did the club start?

The Data Science Center is a passion project that has been in the works for several years. Prof. Jeff Phillips and others spent months trying for a data science center to help students interested in Data Science, which was still a fringe issue at the University when the center was founded. An official club was also a part of this pet project. Finally, in summer 2020, a group of six students — Grad student Vivek Gupta and Undergrads Serena Aeschilman, Todd Derrick, Tajen Freeman, Pranav Rajan, and Koriann South — joined together to make an official club. We spent that summer hosting Data Science guest lectures, and the club received official recognition in the autumn, when we began sponsoring more activities.

What’s the club’s goal?

The Data Science Club’s aim is to teach data science and machine learning to students of various skill levels (first year undergrad to senior Ph.D.) through tutorials, industry presentations, and hands-on experience. We want to make normally intimidating topics (like Deep Learning) more approachable through club activities.

What are the prerequisites to join?

Any student, regardless of major, year, or past experience, is welcome to join our activities. Similarly, any student with the time and desire to be a club coordinator can apply.

How often do you meet, and what do you do at meetings?

During the autumn and spring semesters, the Data Science Club meets around every two weeks. We like to mix technical events with social/skill-building activities. Workshops that we create ourselves or technical presentations from professors or industry experts are the most common kind of technical events. (You can check out prior workshops here and talks on our webpage here.). The types of social/skill-building activities vary, and might range from tea parties to GitHub tutorials.

Get on your soapbox: Why is this club important? Why should people join?

This club is significant to us because it lowers the data science entrance hurdle. Through the club, we have learned more about Data Science than we could have studied in a class, and we have been able to pass that information on to others in a way that we believe is easy to grasp for those who are just getting started with Data Science.

For many people, data science appears to be too difficult and frightening to understand or learn. We want to simplify the process. We want to contribute to the creation of a community in which we can all learn from and support one another. Learning does not have to be difficult or complicated just because the subject matter is.

We believe that anybody interested in Data Science should join the Data Science club, especially those who are intimidated by the topic or don’t know where to begin.

If people are interested, how can they join or find out more?

If you’re interested in attending one of our events, please join our Discord server and visit our website. If you want to be a coordinator, complete all of the steps above and submit an email to with your name. Do sign up for our seminar mailing list.

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