DSSG Sherpas

We are looking for experienced data science professionals to mentor 2017 Summer FL-DSSG Fellows. Please read the FAQs before submitting your application.

  2017 Sherpa Application  

FL-DSSG sherpa application is developed based on DSSG at Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington.


Sherpa Application FAQs

The ability to affect change and do good in one’s community increasingly depends on having the right information at the right time to make the right decisions about things that are most important. Often, the information available to meet these needs are not well organized, not well understood, and not packaged in a way that helps those working in the community do their best.

Data Science for Social Good projects connect community expertise, data processing methods, computing power, and effective data visualization to help community organizations make data-based decisions to deal with wicked problems.

The FL-DSSG Program is a summer internship program that will match data science expertise with real-world problems. The FL-DSSG program will work with community organizations who are trying to affect change in their communities and who have data management, analysis, and display projects that have the potential to shift understanding around a community issue, influence planning, revise practices, or see efforts in supporting community initiatives more focused or renewed.

The term “Sherpa” originates as a reference to people living in the eastern mountains of Nepal, who given their daily experience with mountain paths, serve as guides for those who are less familiar with the treacherous terrain. The term has come to mean anyone who has “gone before” others and who are willing to serve as guides for those with less experience. DSSG Sherpas will mentor DSSG students during the summer internship program. DSSG Sherpas typically will possess a terminal degree in their chosen field (e.g., Computer Science, Statistics, Quantitative Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, etc.) and/or have 5 or more years of industry or leadership experience. DSSG Sherpas will help students solve problems related to data science and social good projects, advise student teams on work plans, and provide technical guidance on project tasks. During the project time period (last week of May to second week of August), DSSG Sherpas will meet regularly (at least weekly) with student teams to support the completion of the data science project and meet regularly (at least biweekly) with DSSG Program Directors.

DSSG projects attempt to address a wicked problem - a vexing, persistent social or cultural issue that is complex in nature, interconnected with other problems, has policy implications, and requires many people working together to affect change. Projects could address wicked problems in one of several areas, including education, the environment, government services, health care, healthy living, safety/security, smart urban development, social & economic inequality, and sustainability.

Project partners will have organizational leaders who are committed to solving these wicked, real-world problems and who are supportive of using evidence to make important decisions around social good initiatives. Project partners will provide a dedicated staff person in the organization who is willing to work weekly with data science students and mentors on the data science project. DSSG Sherpas will facilitate this regular communication and help project teams achieve their objectives in the data science project.

DSSG Sherpas will mentor student teams composed of 3-5 graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines, which might include students in computing, information science, psychology, sociology, biology, business, health, or the humanities. DSSG Sherpas will provide their data science and community-based expertise in mentoring the students. Students must apply to the program and have requisite baseline skills in order to be selected for the program. Students must also demonstrate professional behavior and be familiar with working on complex projects in teams. DSSG Sherpas will primarily provide their expertise and wisdom directly related to the project. Sherpas also will provide advice to students looking for careers in fields related to data science.

DSSG Sherpas benefit from the energy and enthusiasm of the student mentees and from the creative solutions explored as part of the DSSG projects. DSSG Sherpas are encouraged to build professional relationships with students and Project Partner staff to share mutual professional interests and ideas.

  • The FL-DSSG Program Directors will recruit potential mentors depending on the nature of the projects that will be the focus of the work over the summer internship program.
  • The FL-DSSG Program and the DSSG Sherpas will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the program scope and time commitments. The timeframe for signing the MOU is in March.
  • Students are recruited during January-April and student teams with DSSG Sherpas will be announced by May.
  • Complete the DSSG Sherpa application at   2017 Sherpa Application   before April 14, 2017.
  • FL-DSSG Program Directors will select several applicants for an interview.
  • The final DSSG Sherpa selection will be communicated by April 28, 2017.