ADSA 2021 Year in Review

As we reflect back on a tumultuous year worldwide, we find ourselves grateful for our enduring and supportive community. Despite the hardships, ADSA had a strong growth year in 2021!

A quick glance by the numbers:

  • We added 396 new Twitter followers, for a total following of 1,156.
  • We added 109 members to our Slack community, now 701 members strong.
  • We added 181 new mailing list recipients to a total of 618.
  • We had 243 visits to our LinkedIn page.
  • We had 9,293 visits to our homepage.
  • Our Jobs Board had 217 submissions and 5,479 clicks.
  • Our Events Calendar had 128 Submissions and 4,650 clicks.




In January we welcomed a new ADSA staff member: Community and Communications Assistant Tiana Curry. Over the past year, Tiana supported our Career Development Network (CDN) activities, including development of an intake form for our new CDN Directory (more on this below), and she continues to lead our social media presence. We have her to thank for so many of the new signups! We also expanded our Data Science Community Newsletter (DSCN) writing staff, adding Catherine Cramer to the team.


In June, we officially launched our Institutional, Lab, and Individual memberships. By the end of 2021, we welcomed 40 Founding Institutions! Beyond R1 universities, our institution members include Minority Serving Institutions, the American Statistical Association, a small research institute (International Computer Science Institute), and a university outside the US (University of Amsterdam). Stay tuned for the 2022 ADSA Founding Members Book containing overviews of data science programs at these universities. Release date scheduled for February 2022.


ADSA welcomed three new Advisory Board members in 2021: Talitha Washington, Nairanjana (Jan) Dasgupta, and Philip E. Bourne. In Q2, the board nominated a new Chair: H.V. Jagadish, taking the place of Josh Greenberg. A heartfelt thank you for Josh’s support and service over the years. We now look forward to working more closely with Jag as we chart a path forward for our growing community!

Our full Advisory Board:

  • Philip E. Bourne, University of Virginia
  • Nairanjana (Jan) Dasgupta, Washington State University
  • Josh Greenberg (previous Chair), Sloan Foundation
  • H.V. Jagadish (Chair), University of Michigan
  • Julia Kempe, New York University
  • Justin Kitzes, University of Pittsburgh
  • Talitha Washington, Atlanta University Center Consortium

As part of our ongoing efforts to support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in data science, ADSA partnered with the Environmental Data Science Inclusion Network (EDSIN), the Carpentries, the Atlanta University Center Consortium Data Science Initiative, and the Native BioData Consortium, on a submission to NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program. We were thrilled to receive the funds to support a series of mini-workshops with members of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). Together with our grant partners at the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement and Sara Bolduc Planning and Evaluation, we hope to collectively identify assets and collaborative activities that support student success in environmental data science at Minority Serving Institutions.

We also launched a new quarterly meet-up: the Data Science Leaders Community Calls. The goal of these calls is to promote conversations among heads of data science institutes beyond our once yearly Leadership Summit. Topics in 2021 included: data science accreditation, a draft Recommendations for Research Administration, and the new 30.7001 CIP code for Data Science educational programs and STEM-OPT eligibility for students. The new code is missing from the current Department of Homeland Security’s STEM OPT list. Together with key members in our community, ADSA drafted a letter to DHS requesting the CIP code 30.7001 be added to the STEM-OPT list. The letter was signed by 84 individuals representing 49 different institutions and sent to DHS on August 3rd.

Speaking of writing, this year we turned our Community Blog over to the Career Development Network (CDN). Check out their musings and helpful hints on learning Github Classrooms, accessibility in data science, and more. Our Data Science Community Newsletter writers also invested their time contributing deep dives for our new series From the Desk. Here they explore timely topics in greater detail, bringing you nuances and insights that wouldn’t fit in the short-form pieces found in the Newsletter. In 2021, they covered federated learning, the state of AI in real estate, the 6th IPCC report, and so much more!

The CDN launched a Career Panel Series, where data science professionals from various fields talk about their jobs: how they got them, what they do every day, and how the job expectations are different in different domains. So far, we’ve heard from data scientists who work at a university (jointly hosted with US-RSE), in biomedicine, and in the financial sector. More to come in 2022!

In mid-2020, the CDN ran a second Call for Proposals for seed grants and made the awards in early 2021. Summaries of the proposed projects, in addition to past awards, are available on our website.

2021 Seed Grant Award Winners

  • Caselet+: Inclusive Data Science Problem Solving Skills Building at Scale
    Lujie (Karen) Chen & Shimei Pan
    Department of Information Systems, University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • Data Science By Design: Best Practices of Visual Storytelling
    Ciera Martinez, Berkeley Institute of Data Science, UC Berkeley
    Sara Stoudt, Statistical & Data Sciences Program, Smith College
    Valeri Vasquez, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley
  • An Inaugural Data Science Summit at UC Santa Barbara
    Alexander Franks, Department of Probability and Statistics, UCSB
    Allison Horst, Environmental Science and Management, UCSB
    Michael Beyeler, Computer Science and Psychological & Brain Sciences, UCSB

It’s now easier than ever to join this group of early- to mid-career data scientists who support each other through peer mentoring, community, and sharing. Check them out and become a member with our new directory form.


In 2021, we learned a lot more about the readers of the Data Science Community Newsletter. Managing Editor Laura Norén designed, administered and analyzed the results from a reader survey. The survey ran in mid-April, the results are summarized with color commentary on our website: who they are and what they want, with charts. 📊

We hosted several speakers as part of our Special Interest Groups. Discussion topics included re-thinking the GRE, the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis community, NYU’s ReproZip, and IBM’s AI Fairness 360 Open Source Toolkit.

Our Working Groups have been hard at work behind the scenes to create some incredible resources for our community. The Data Science Ethos Lifecycle is a data science lifecycle model that incorporates ethical considerations at each stage of the research process. We partnered with EDSIN community members to incorporate a new case study in the Ethos tool from Crowd The Tap, on access to safe drinking water. The Standardization and Transparency in Data Science working group is focused on developing a framework for comparing data science Master degree programs. Open Datasets for Data Science Education working group has been developing a corpus of open data sets for teaching and training. And our special project Rapid Response Data Science has scoped a really cool ethnographic study to help inform critical changes to academic culture to facilitate more coordinated and agile participation of data scientists in future response to disaster scenarios, including future pandemics. This project came out of a featured panel discussion at our 2020 Annual meeting, that then led to an invited position paper in the Harvard Data Science Review in early 2021.

Want to learn more?

Interested in contributing your time or resources to a project?


And then there were our Annual meetings… Like so many, we made the pivot to virtual in 2021. Rather than trap everyone in front of a Zoom conference for 3 full days, we opted to move some content to virtual presentations with discussion offered throughout Fall and Winter 2021-2022. We’ve had engaging participation from so many of you - thank you for joining us! We have many more sessions coming up, including several Data Science Conversations with these contributing schools and universities. Please check out our Virtual Meeting schedule and sign up for any that pique your interest - all of them are FREE! In addition, we are about to roll out our ADSA Research Minutes. These are weekly snippets of data science research from around our community, with links to recorded talks that were originally part of the 2021 meeting. Stay up to date on these and all the news in the ADSA Community by signing up for our Monthly Newsletter.

And finally, we hope to see most of you at our abbreviated annual meeting in March. The ADSA Spring Meeting will be held in-person (hopefully) in sunny Irvine, CA on March 7-9.

Thank you for being a part of our community. We look forward to working with you in 2022!