Graduate Studies


DataJam is an opportunity for CSUN students to learn more about data science and apply their skills to manipulate, analyze, and visualize data in a team-based competition. Our theme, Resilient LA, is based on the city and county priority to increase resilience in response to the climate crisis. The City of Los Angeles was selected as an inaugural member of the 100 Resilient Cities Network in 2013. This global network, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, helps member cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century. Read the mayor's strategic plan for a Resilient LA here.

At the launch on September 27th, students will be encouraged to learn more about resilience by attending sessions presented by faculty who are conducting research in these areas. The following Friday, October 4th, students will have opportunities to learn more about data science applications through another series of workshops. Schedule details are provided below. Please use the RSVP links provided for each day.

Participation is voluntary. Faculty and staff are welcome to attend all sessions and workshops. CSUN students who opt to compete must register for the Canvas course. Students will present their work on Friday, October 18th (schedule to be determined). 

Join us for DataJam 2019!


Canvas Course

Students are encouraged to enroll in the Canvas course, DataJam 2019, as an introduction to data science, to access resources, and stay informed about the competition. 

Students can self-enroll in the course by following this URL: Alternatively, students can sign up at and use the following join code: NGX4GG.

New to data science? Review Professor Wayne Smith's presentation, "Introduction to Data Science."

Student Team Information

All CSUN students interested in participating must enroll for the DataJam 2019 course on Canvas. The course provides an overview of data science with tutorials on data visualization, mapping and geospatial data, statistical analysis, and using open data. Resources are also provided on resilience topics. Datasets that must be used in competition will be available through the Canvas site immediately following the launch on September 27th. 

Students interested in competing in DataJam 2019 will form teams of at least two and no more than five CSUN students. Teams must register by Monday, October 7th using this form.

September 27th - Launch Schedule

The launch of DataJam 2019 will take place on Friday, September 27th, in the USU Lake View Terrace room. Please RSVP for each session you plan to attend.

Start TimeUSU Lakeview TerraceUSU Flintridge
11:30 am check-in / 12:00 startLunch, Welcome; Sherrie Hixon: Resilience Overview (25 mins) 
12:30 pm break-out sessionsDr. Kerry Nickols: Climate Change (50 mins)Dr. Regan Maas: Disadvantaged Community Modeling (50 mins)
1:30 pm break-out sessionsDr. Kunpeng Li: Big Data in Operations Management (20 mins) 
2:00 pm break-out sessionsDr. David McCarty-Caplan: Teachers & Guns: Using Data to Inform Social Policy and Prevent Community Violence (50 mins)Dr. Steve Graves: Fast Food Access and Childhood Fitness in LA (50 mins)
3:00 pm break-out sessionsNairee Bedikian: Portfolium; Sherrie Hixon: Canvas course; Erika Reyes: Student team networking (50 mins)Dr. Natale Zappia: Open Garden: Utilizing Technology to Reimagine Urban Food Systems (20 mins)
4:00  program ends 

October 4th - Data Science Workshops

We are excited to welcome John Peach, Sr. Data Scientist at Amazon Alexa, as our Keynote Speaker! Don't miss this unique opportunity to hear from a leader in this exciting and transforming field!

Workshops will focus on data science topics student teams need to be successful in data analysis and related software programs. Please RSVP for each session you plan to attend.

Start TimeUSU Lakeview TerraceUSU Flintridge
10:30 am break-out sessionsDr. Andrew Ainsworth: Intro to R (50 mins)Dr. Adriano Zambom: Statistical Significance: P-values: How and When to Use Them (50 mins)
11:30 am lunch, keynote @ 12:00 pmJohn Peach, Amazon Alexa (60 mins) 
1:10 pm break-out sessions

Dr. Wayne Smith: The Critical Contributions of Arts, Humanities, and Other Non-STEM Majors to an Analytics Team (30 mins)

Dr. Amir Gharehgozli: Data Analytics in Oceanic Transportation (20 mins)

Dr. Mori Jamshidian: Using Statistical Software to De-emphasize Standardization and the Central Limit Theorem in Teaching Statistical Inference (50 mins)
2:05 pm break-out sessionsDr. Katya Mkrtchyan: Automated Quantification of Mosquitoes (20 mins)Dr. Dongling Huang: Tutorial for Azure ML Studio with Business Applications (80 mins)
2:30 pm break-out sessionsDr. Akash Gupta: Introduction to Data Analytics (50 mins)Dr. Huang (continues)
3:30 pmOpen Q&A (30 mins) 

October 18th - Competition Day

The schedule for teams presenting in DataJam 2019 is confirmed.

The event will be held in the USU Pasadena room. If you plan to attend as a guest, please RSVP

9:30team check-ins 
9:45team 1Team Jammers
10:00team 2Avocabros
10:15team 3Data Men
10:30team 4Data Pirates
10:45team 5Googleplex
11:00team 6TeamData
11:15team 7Top Gnomes
11:30team 8PokeData
11:45team 9R.A.C.K.
12:00team 10Data Jam Fam
12:15team 11The Crystal Gems

Judging Criteria

Team presentations will be evaluated using the following criteria:

Data Visualization: Teams generate presentations that balance content (subject matter) and aesthetics (use of color, typography, etc.), and cohesion (unity) and coupling (sequence) of presentation material. Teams will: 1) choose the right visual for the purpose/goal of the presentation, 2) link the visuals to exploratory analysis and descriptive statistics, and 3) demonstrate how the visuals suggest further data collection, confirmatory analysis, or predictive modeling techniques.

Data Science: Teams have appropriately stated their objectives and/or hypothesis and used appropriate datasets to explore their hypothesis. Teams have used the appropriate type of analyses to answer their research question and support their interpretation of the results. Teams demonstrate an understanding of sampling, observed variables, distribution-based confirmatory tests, and mathematical calculations.

Reproducible Research: Teams present their investigation consistent with core research integrity that allows for other individuals to: 1) understand the methodological framework and analytic environment of the researcher; 2) access the original data in an open format; 3) replicate each step in the analytical process; 4) verify results using software applications that are freely licensed and readily available; and, 5) access scripts and results in a format that are malleable and publicly accessible.

Insights: Teams generate insights into the use of data and specify: 1) acknowledgement of the limitations of provided (endogenous) data; 2) identification of alternate sources (exogenous) of data that adds value to their hypothesis; 3) appropriate acquisition of other data; and, 4) integration of new data to create information that is more descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, or prescriptive than use of the original data alone. 

Resilience: Teams demonstrate an understanding of the breadth of resilience challenges faced by the LA region. Data is used to appropriately identify a unique resilience-related challenge for the LA region, justify the hypothesis, and support a compelling argument for the team's proposed solution and how it can apply to institutions and/or government agencies.

Judges Choice: Judges will award in this category at their complete discretion. Presentation stands out and exhibits exemplary work, potentially in a category outside of the defined criteria. Judges have complete freedom to award this category to any team for any reason. Potential criteria may include approaches to research, resilience, and/or data science that are considered "novel," "trans-disciplinary," "ethical," "innovative," "strategic," or other. 

DataJam Committee

Many thanks to our DataJam 2018 Committee!

  • Andrew Ainsworth (Psychology, CARE)
  • Elizabeth Altman (Oviatt Library)
  • Meeta Banerjee (Psychology)
  • Kyle Dewey (Computer Science)
  • Helen Heinrich (Information Technology)
  • Sherrie Hixon (Research & Graduate Studies)
  • Charissa Jefferson (Oviatt Library)
  • Crist Khachikian (Research & Graduate Studies)
  • Li Liu (Computer Science)
  • Erika Reyes (Research & Graduate Studies)
  • Chris Salvano (Oviatt Library)
  • Tim Tiemann (CSUN Innovation Incubator)
  • Dongling Huang (Marketing)
  • Adriano Zambom (Mathematics)

DataJam 2019 Awards!!!

Winning team presentations for DataJam 2019 will be announced at the competition on October 18th.

  • Best Data Visualization:

  • Best Data Science:
  • Best Reproducible Research:
  • Best Insights:
  • Best Resilience:
  • Judges Choice:

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's event!