Data4Justice Accelerator Program

Kickstart your social justice research agenda with QSIDE!

The QSIDE Institute is proud to announce the launch of the Data4Justice Accelerator, a training and professional development program aimed at propelling activists interested in building skills to drive data-driven social justice research and evaluation work.

Our 2022-2023 cohort is quickly kick-starting a broad range of data-driven social justice research questions. Meet the Data4Justice Accelerator Fellows.

What is the Data4Justice Accelerator?

The QSIDE Accelerator is a year-long program designed to help individuals build skills that will allow them to design and execute social justice research and evaluation projects. The program includes two phases. Phase one is a 7-week intensive phase in the summer of 2022, which will focus on learning the basic data science skills needed to find, procure, clean, and analyze data and applying those skills to a social justice research question defined by the participant. Phase two is ongoing throughout the 2023 academic year.

Participants will be placed in small cohorts, and will be required to provide regular updates on their progress through the data science curriculum, as well as updates on their social justice research project.

What will I learn?

As a participant in the Accelerator, you will learn the following skills:

  • How to write and refine an investigatable social justice research question;
  • How to identify potential data sources to investigate your question;
  • How to procure data (scraping, querying, etc.) and, if necessary, how to file FOIA (or similar) requests to force the release of data;
  • How to clean data;
  • Basic techniques to analyze data; and
  • How to apply the skills above to your own social justice research question.

Who should apply?

Anyone interested in learning how to conduct social justice data science research is welcome to apply. A basic understanding of statistics may prove useful, but is not required. Similarly, a basic understanding of various forms of power theory (such as, but not limited to, Critical Race Theory, QWYR theory, gender theory, and power based on physical and cognitive difference) may be useful, but is not required. This program assumes that individuals are coming from widely different and diverse backgrounds with widely different types of expertise and skillsets, and is designed with a beginner mindset. All who can commit to participating fully are welcome to apply; however, space is incredibly limited.

What are the obligations and the time commitment?

Participants agree to:

  • Participate fully in the 7-week summer 2022 intensive program, which will run from June 20, 2022 – July 26, 2022. This includes:
    • Performing assigned, self-paced learning activities each week that will range from 6-10 hours per week.
    • Posting at least once a week in the cohort Slack channel describing your progress on your social justice research work.
    • Attending a weekly 90-minute meeting of your cohort.
  • Continue your participation in the academic year 2023 cohort:
    • Continuing to explore new data science techniques to support your research project.
    • Posting at least once a month in the cohort Slack channel describing your progress on your social justice research work.
    • Attending a monthly 60-minute meeting of your cohort.

Meet the 2022-2023 Cohort!

Tania Allen
Tania is an Associate Professor of Art and Design at NC State University. She has a BA in History with a minor in fine arts / graphic design from Washington University in St. Louis and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Visual Communication from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She earned her Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University in 2010.

Along with Sara Queen, Tania is the co-director of the design research group co-lab, which focuses on critical mapping as a participatory design research tool. Currently, co-lab’s focus is on developing a methodology for critical mapping that simultaneously embraces cartography as a powerful analytic and synthetic research tool, while also challenging the assumptions that the mapping and visualization process embeds within it. Recent publications have included “Beyond the Map: Unpacking Critical Cartography in the Digital Humanities” in Visible Language (Fall 2015), co-authored with Sara Queen. She is also the author of Solving Critical Design Problems: Theory and Practice.

Oppressive Infrastructures: Race, Equity and Access in the Built Environment
The primary goal of this project is to use mapping and data visualization to study the way that confederate memorialization has impacted the lived experience of those living among them. Using the Southern Poverty Law Center’s dataset of confederate memorials in the US, this project will add attribute data to this data set, as well as update some of the memorials that have been removed from public spaces. It will also correlate socio-economic and demographic data to examine patterns of institutionalized racism that are both visible and invisible in the built environment and ask questions about how these symbols connect to more deep-seated infrastructures of oppression.

Antara Bhattacharyay
Antara Bhattacharyay is a second-year undergraduate student studying Mathematics and Music at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. She is interested in serving her community and committing to activism through her undergraduate studies and future career. In particular, she would like to find a way to apply mathematics and data analysis to pursue social justice issues.

Understanding the Impact of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Programs in U.S. Universities to Improve Campus Climate
DEI programs promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, with the broader goal of addressing existing discrimination and biases, although sometimes this remains just in name. In this project, I will evaluate the impact of DEI efforts on undergraduate students in several U.S. universities through the analysis of campus climate surveys, bias-incident reporting, and anti-bias/unconscious bias training data. Building upon this research, I will additionally propose measures to improve DEI initiatives, ultimately detailing a method to enact meaningful change in campus communities across the nation.

Spencer Brooks
Spencer is a researcher and educator with interests in natural language processing, human-centered computing, and education as a practice of freedom. He holds a B.A. in mathematics from Williams College. As a member of the QSIDE SToPA Lab in 2021-2, he created visualizations and analysis tools for representing latent structure in a large set of police records. Spencer is currently a middle and high school curricular support tutor, and he intends to pursue a Ph.D in computer science.

The SToPA Toolbox
This project’s purpose is to build bridges between data scientists and small-town community members and organizers. Project deliverables will include analysis tools (e.g. data visualization and data management tools) that community members can use in their organizing work and user manual on the process of collaboration for future researchers and organizers to draw from and critique.

Daniel Bullman
Daniel is a public health graduate student who works with justice impacted individuals to build webs of support particularly in higher education. He is a certified community health worker and peer recovery specialist and has been previously recognized by the City of Indianapolis and the Ball State University Alumni Association for his work addressing placemaking, healthcare access, and food insecurity in Central Indiana. Daniel received his BS in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University and is an MPH student with Georgia Southern University where he co-chairs the Maternal and Child Health Research Group and serves as an Inclusive Excellence Ambassador and College of Public Health Recruiting and Retention Committee. He currently teaches for Temple University’s Inside Out Program and serves as the volunteer management coordinator for From Prison Cells to PhD, a Baltimore based non profit committed to educational and health equity for justice impacted families through tutoring and mentorship; and sits on the board of directors for the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Public Health Education (InSOPHE).

Continuity of Care for Justice Impacted Households
In many jurisdictions, formerly incarcerated individuals and their families are left with little information or guidance on their medical needs or treatments during incarceration. The use of community health workers with lived experience can ease the transition between prison healthcare to community settings.

Christopher Dunstan
Hi everyone, my name is Christopher Dunstan. I’m a PhD student at NC state studying geospatial analytics(GIS +Data Science). My project is on studying the spread of different dance trends and styles in order to credit pioneers. This work is inspired by the #BlackTikTokStrike that happened last summer. I’m also into contrition and dancing myself. Other things I’m into include esports/sports, anime and manga, mixing and music production! I’m a huge Baltimore Club/Jersey Club fan and I’m releasing my first EP soon. 

Using Data Science to Credit Dancers
Social media enables the dispersion of new dances freely and so rapidly that the originators often do not receive credit for their new dances. By studying the spread of dance trends on social media, pioneers can be properly accredited for their work. 

Alanna Hoyer-Leitzel
I’m Dr. Alanna Hoyer-Leitzel, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. My PhD is in applied mathematics, and specifically dynamical systems. My usual focus is on resilience and disturbance in models of biological or ecological systems or in classical Hamiltonian models of n-vortex problems, using tools like bifurcation theory, numerical continuation and simulation, and algebraic geometry.

I will be working in the StoPA group. I’m very interested in the ways police in small towns contribute to incarceration or other interactions with the criminal justice systems, particularly in how that correlates to the percentage of the town budget spent on policing and “public safety.”

Owen Koppe
Owen (he/him) is a sophomore at the University of Utah where he is pursuing a triple major in Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, and Economics. He is currently a Community Engagement and Equity Data Analytics Intern at the Salt Lake City Public Lands Department. In this role he is working to ensure Salt Lake City provides equitable access to outdoor space. Owen is interested in how data can be used to guide and optimize public policy. He was previously a QSIDE fellow and he is passionate about interdisciplinary approaches to social justice issues.

Analysis of Equity and Data Driven Action in Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands
Salt Lake City is divided into an east and west side, the east side is home to predominantly white and high socioeconomic status individuals while the west side is where most minority groups and people of lower socio-economic status reside. Initial analysis has found that members of minority groups are 3.76 times more likely to have to travel across town to visit their favorite park. This project will analyze Salt Lake City Public Lands Department resource distribution to not only determine what resources are being inequitably distributed but also take data driven action to correct inequalities in park access.

Camila Maldonado
Camila is an international student from Paraguay in her third year at Smith College where she is pursuing a double major in Data Science and Education. She is looking forward to building a career where she can combine both her passion towards the social sciences and the use of data for the common good. She is interested in Organizational Psychology and DEI practices in the workplace. Currently she is working at a software company as a People Analytics Intern. 

Inclusion in the Workplace
What does inclusion really mean in the workplace? The number of companies focusing their resources on Diversity Equity and inclusion has risen significantly in the past years. Different strategies have been used to make sure that employees are recognized and that they feel like they “belong” at their workplace. Yet, sometimes these strategies oversee what really matters which is what it means to belong somewhere. With this project, I would like to mainly focus on aspects such as accent, holidays, looks, and other practices that many employees have disclosed to adapt in order to fit in and how this has made them feel. 

Shivani Manivasagan
Hello! I’m Shivani, a sophomore at Harvey Mudd College. I’m pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Environment, Economics, & Politics, and hope to dedicate my career towards mitigating climate change at the intersections of technology and policy. At Harvey Mudd, I am a vice president of our social justice themed Living Learning Community, am involved with our student government, and also serve as an editor-in-chief of our student newspaper, The Muddraker. I care deeply about making a positive impact on society and I hope that I can achieve this through whatever undertakings I pursue!

Climate Change Impacts and Inequality
This project hopes to identify the types of communities most severely impacted by climate change in the US. After identifying the locations most affected by various climate impacts (such as coastal flooding and heatwaves) in the next 50 years, we can analyze the demographics of these places to see any trends.

Vanessa Maybruck
Vanessa Maybruck is an incoming Applied Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder. She recently graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with dual bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Secondary Education: Mathematics and a minor in Biochemistry. Maybruck is interested in mathematical modeling and data science approaches to the study of complex biological and social systems. Her published work includes a paper on diffusiophoresis as a microfluidic separation technique and a paper on inflow and infiltration in a sanitary sewer system. Recently, she has become interested in applying computational and biological principles to the pursuit of social justice, and she is broadly interested in educational, workplace, environmental, and healthcare equity. Her past service has encompassed advocacy for women in mathematics and people with disabilities, which she hopes to continue in graduate school. Maybruck aspires to be an applied mathematics professor, researcher, and lifelong advocate/activist.

Gender Differences after Calculus
Studies show that women and girls are 1.5 times more likely to leave STEM fields after taking calculus compared to men and boys, and several factors may play into this, including confidence, interest, implicit bias, feelings of belonging, and future plans (Ellis, Fosdick, and Rasmussen, 2016). In this project, I will take a data science approach to examine each of these areas through an intersectional lens and will consider multiple gender identities to help determine which of these factors may most significantly contribute to gender imbalances in STEM fields.

Katherine O’Brien
Katherine O’Brien is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Middlebury College where she teaches courses on Public Science and Data visualization. She researches the efficacy of STEM learning in both formal and informal environments, including how faculty can work across disciplines to provide creative and impactful learning experiences. She is the science director for the Columbus Science Pub and the co-founder of the Middlebury Science Cafe along with Alex Lyford.

Identifying connections and disconnections between minority entrepreneurs and support organizations in Columbus, Ohio
This project will identify social media accounts of entrepreneurs in Columbus, extract their friends and followers, conduct social network analysis to understand the landscape of networks and fractures among entrepreneurs and support resources in the region.  Understanding these connections and disconnections is crucial because, while the public sector and economic development agencies try to provide support for entrepreneurs, information related to those support resources will be skewed to mainstream entrepreneurs, who are already better connected to local support resources.

Kaniqua Outlaw
Kaniqua (she/her) is pursuing a Master of Professional Science in Biomedical and Health Informatics (BMHI) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Behavior, as well as a graduate certificate in Ethnic and Rural Health Disparities in 2014, both from East Carolina University.
Kaniqua has worked in the field of HIV education, outreach, and research, and currently works to support COVID-19 testing strategies through community engaged approaches. Her research interests include learning how to challenge existing power structures and advance equity, particularly at the intersections of race, class, and LGBTQIA+ identities and developing and assessing the effectiveness of interventions that focus on healing trauma. Kaniqua believes that data is a powerful community asset and we should all commit to equity, fairness and access in how we collect, analyze, interpret and share data. She hopes to bridge the technical expertise from her BMHI program with her public health experience to support QSIDE’s mission to make meaningful change within the sphere of social justice.


Public access to criminal trial proceedings, though a constitutional right, can be inaccessible to exercise in practice; my objective is to contribute to the expansion of the scope and analysis of district and individual judge level data of JUSTFAIR (Judicial System Transparency through Federal Archive Inferred Records), and help identify factors that contribute to their criminal sentencing decisions. This free, public database, containing almost 600,000 records obtained between 2001 and 2018, promotes a pathway of transparency to demonstrate how defendant demographic characteristics are linked to information about their federal crimes, sentences and the identity of the sentencing judge.

Ryan Rowe
Ryan Rowe is a rising senior at Wellesley College, where she studies International Relations-Political Science and Computer Science. Ryan is interested in exploring the digital social landscape and using technology to foster, as well as understand, the connections between communities and the institutions that serve them.

Social Media’s Impact on Anti-Qualified Immunity Legislative Action
Qualified Immunity not only grants government officials immunity when they violate constitutional and civil rights, it ensures that abuses of power are allowed to continue based on the premise that those specific situations have never happened before. I want to research the influence of social media campaigns on lawmakers’ actions (or inaction) in regards to Qualified Immunity. I will monitor changes in police officer immunity by tracking legislation passages and court case outcomes that have occurred over the past 2 years. I will also analyze the progress of petitions, the engagement levels of anti-qi activist accounts, and the visibility/engagement of their posts across different demographics (ie students, professionals, legislators/elected officials). I hope to find a correlation between increased online protest/information sharing and increased action in government spaces.

Katie Spoon
Katie is a 2nd-year PhD student in Computer Science at University of Colorado Boulder and a Master’s student in Education Policy. Her research focuses on quantifying social inequalities, particularly by gender, race and socioeconomic status, in access to and retention within highly-educated jobs, such as those in academia, in the U.S.

Quantifying the gap between the U.S. education system and the American Dream
Access to compete for highly-educated jobs in the U.S. does not exist for everyone, as our primary, secondary, and higher education systems have been shown to worsen existing inequalities, especially by race and socioeconomic status. By combining education & employment information, and quantifying the gap between the U.S. education system and various ideal systems, we can identify where in these pathways interventions would be most useful.

Ronald Wells, Jr.
Ron Wells Jr. (he/him) is currently a PhD student in Public Health Education at the University of Toledo. Living in Toledo, OH, and originally from Chicago, Ron has experienced a non-linear career trajectory that has shaped his perspective on public health practice. After graduating the University of Toledo with a Bachelors in Exercise Science, Ron went on to work in education, community organizing, healthcare, and the arts, ultimately influencing his decision to pursue a Master of Public Health. Currently, he works for the Board of Lucas County Commissioners, adding county government to his fields of experience. Ron sees the need for the approaches to intersectional health interventions to be based on empirical evidence. Yet he understands the additional need for public health practitioners to understand institutional power hierarchies and political viability. Heavily influenced by belonging frameworks, Ron hopes to bridge data driven health interventions with institutional systems change and power redistribution.

Often, the constitutional right for the public to access criminal trail proceedings is obtructed by the sheer difficulty to actually obtain these records. JUSTFAIR is a database of federal criminal sentencing records which allows for enhanced transparency as well as an analysis that links demographic information of defendants with information about their federal crimes and sentencing circumstance.