Thursday, April 26, 2012

Obama Campaign Looking for Data People

I've been in touch with Obama campaign about data positions in the campaign. These are jobs.  Starting soon.  Around the country.  For a good cause (depending on your political persuasion). Many of you have exactly the skills they are looking for. From an email I received today:

First, let me tell you a bit more about the Field Tech Academy program. Over the course of the five week online training we’ll be teaching some intermediate Excel skills such as countif, sumif, vlookup, and how to work with pivot tables. We’ll also be teaching trainees on the basics of campaign data, such as how voter files work. Finally we’ll be teaching everyone how to use VoteBuilder which is an online tool we use to work with our voter and volunteer databases.
High-performing graduates of the Academy will be considered for data positions in the states. These positions will have a strong emphasis on training and support. Our data staff in the states are expected to train organizers on proper use of our campaign technologies (including VoteBuilder) and support them as they troubleshoot data management challenges they encounter. Staff may also be asked to help our state leadership team with some analysis and data support work. It’s exciting and very important work, but it’s work of a very specific nature. 
Below is the web page -- you can apply just by filling in this form.  The training is online over first few weeks of May.  This could be a historically important and adventurous post-graduate job!  If you apply, be sure not to undersell your skills!  Happy to talk with you about this if you'd like.

Intern with Nancy Pelosi Office FALL 2012


Internships Available with Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader
The District Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi seeks competent, passionate, personable college students and recent college graduates for the Internship program for the Fall Semester 2012. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's internship program offers the unique opportunity to learn about the functions of the House of Representatives, the Congresswoman's work in representing the City of San Francisco, and her role as the House Democratic Leader.
Skills required:
·        Excellent communication skills including written and verbal
·        Knowledge of and experience with various computer programs including Word, Excel and Outlook
·        Attention to detail and an ability to complete tasks efficiently and thoroughly
·        An interest in policy issues and government 

Selected Intern Duties:

·        Office administrative support which includes greeting constituents, answering phones, sorting mail, data entry, organizing press clips and assisting staff with front desk/reception duties
·        Assisting staff in planning press conferences and community events
·        Researching and drafting responses for office correspondence
While the internship is unpaid, Congresswoman Pelosi supports students requesting credit for their internship through their school or university. Applicants should be punctual, organized, and flexible as tasks and environments vary.  
Please complete the online internship application and fax a writing sample to 415-861-1670. Online application:
Location: San Francisco Federal Building 90 7th Street, Suite 2-800, San Francisco, CA.
Times: Flexible, based on intern’s availability - Monday-Friday, 10:00a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Job/Internship GISetc. Paid


Natural Resources Intern (paid), Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

This is a temporary part-time position (24-40 hours/week) which will extend up to a total of 1,000 hours over a 6-10 month period. Under direct supervision of the Senior Resource Management Specialist, this position works on a broad range of topics including invasive plant control, wildlife management, and ecological restoration. Assignments may vary on a daily basis depending on current priorities. Some tasks will be simple and repetitive (filing, data entry, initial telephone contacts, purchasing) and others will be complex and challenging (GPS mapping of natural features in the field, preparing GIS maps with multiple layers, managing weed database, assisting with planting and restoration projects, monitoring, managing consultants, working with volunteers, public education, writing technical summaries and recommendations for detailed resource management issues). Work duties provide exposure to the broad range of issues, tools, and working conditions in the field of natural lands management. The upcoming assignment will require someone with experience in GPS field mapping and with GIS software, the ability to survey areas that may have steep slopes and poison oak, and good communication skills with the public.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ask Professionals about Careers -- FREE!

Another startup you might wish you had thought of..., but that you can take advantage of, in any case.

CareerVillage: Students ask career questions & Professionals compete to answer

We're a non-profit organization working to empower students with the information they need to make informed career decisions. Academic research shows that by empowering students with career information, they can come to well-informed decisions about their future careers which will support them through high school and college. There are no pre-requisites for asking or answering questions - just a good attitude and a helpful mindset! Join us! 

For students

Here you can ask and  answer  questions,  comment and vote for other Villagers' questions and answers. Both questions and answers can be revised and improved. Questions can be tagged with the relevant keywords to simplify future access and organize the accumulated material. 

Sample Questions


What does a typical work day for a forensic scientist look like?

I am an aspiring forensic scientist and was wondering what a typical day would like. How many hours do they work? Do they work odd hours? What processes do they go through every day? That sort of information would be helpful.
Apr 13 at 15:26 JaredChung ♦♦616

What is the day-to-day experience of someone working in education?

I already know the basics about teaching a class and grading paper, but would like to know more. I am also hoping to hear from a principal, since that is my probable career choice, but would appreciate any information from anyone in education.
Apr 10 at 11:16 JohnattanG31

How much time do social workers spend on average

Depending upon the aspect of social work that one may take up, how much time on average is spent?
Apr 06 at 11:23 myhrvold721

What does a Social Worker do on a Daily basis?

I am aware of a Social Workers main objectives and the amount of years you have to attend college. Also I know that I can have a bachelors dagree in Social work but have a masters degree in Psychology.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Post Graduation Opportunities: Teaching/Tutoring in Massachusetts

MatchCorps: Merrimack Valley is a full-time, 10.5-month urban education math tutoring fellowship in two high schools in the Merrimack Valley in New England. We are hiring 50 smart, idealistic, relentless people to work during the 2012-2013 school year. Each Fellow works during the school day with two students at a time for five periods a day, and will have a personal caseload of 12 students all year long. Fellows not only will drive student achievement by providing individualized instruction, but will also build personal and meaningful relationships with urban students and their families during this pioneer year of service.


Fellows will receive a modest living stipend ($1428 per month, for 10 ½ months); full health benefits; a transportation reimbursement of $60/month; free registration for the Massachusetts Educator Licensure Tests in High School Math and Communication ($250); and the lifelong appreciation of the 12 students they serve, and their families.  Fellows who have a verified Spanish oral proficiency will receive a $1000 bonus.  We do not provide housing, but we will present viable options for your consideration.

More details in the FAQ.

“The mission of Match Tutors is to help schools and districts across the nation to create effective, relationship-based, yearlong tutoring opportunities for recent college graduates, undergraduates and others to help ensure that high need students gain skills and knowledge to propel them to college success and, in so doing, to establish professional tutoring as the most significant intervention tool that any school can have—thereby transforming the direction of public education.” 

JOB: Applied Research Youth Development


Even if this is not the right job at the right time for you, its description provides some insight into one of the skill set packages one can take away from an undergraduate social science degree.

The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development is a laboratory within the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University. The Institute has the mandate and goal to be a center of excellence for the conduct and dissemination of top-tier scholarship and for the education and professional development of graduate and undergraduate students interested in and passionate about enhancing the lives of diverse children, families, and communities through the application of developmental science.

The Research Data Analyst will manage logistics for the quantitative and qualitative aspects of various projects. The participant characteristics that are required for the sample to be studied in these projects are complex.  There is data collection from various groups, all who have particular demographic characteristics.  Thus, this staff member needs at least a Bachelor's degree in developmental science and training in sample design and recruitment methods, sample maintenance, and data management.  He/she will, first, design the sampling frame for all to-be-tested groups and in particular, design the plan for obtaining matched groups for propensity score matching procedures.  He/she will monitor actual sample recruitment to maintain the scientific rigor of the sampling design and matching.  As such, he/she will recruit participants and manage the site information for all data collection facets. This person will coordinate permissions and IRB approvals, and oversee the logistics of data collection.  This person will also clean the quantitative data as well as assist with coding of the qualitative data.  The person will need to monitor and make adjustments to the sample participants characteristics in order to maintain the validity of the sample design and matching procedures.

Basic Requirements:
  • Bachelors Degree in Psychology, Child Development, Human Developmental, Sociology or related field plus one (1) year of experience;
  • Microsoft Office, SPSS, Access;
  • Frequent travel to out of state locations required;
  • Experience working on a longitudinal research project; excellent communications skills; proactive, organized and efficient; commitment to this research.
  • Should be extremely well organized, able to develop and implement protocol(s) to maintain maximum sample participation for all waves of the longitudinal study. 
  • Strong writing ability. 
  • Collaborative colleague possessing creative problem solving skills and able to supervise a graduate student and undergraduate students. 
  • Must have excellent attention to detail, ability to multitask, and be able to work both independently and collaboratively.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Masters Degree in Psychology, Child Development, Human Developmental, Sociology or related field preferred.
  • Experience managing large longitudinal data files a plus. 
Special Work Schedule Requirements: Frequent travel to site locations will be required.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Can Colleges Manufacture Motivation?

from The Chronicle of Higher Education 

By Dan Berrett
Vancouver, British Columbia

Motivation is often thought to be a fixed, inborn personality trait whose presence or absence helps explain why some students succeed while others fail to graduate.

Recent research, including papers presented here at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, a forthcoming book, and a well-regarded longitudinal survey of three cohorts of 17,000 students at 49 institutions, have taken a different view. Motivation, these researchers argue, is far more malleable, and colleges wield significant power in instilling—and discouraging—it in their students.

"Motivation is an outcome of college," said Daniel F. Chambliss, professor of sociology at Hamilton College, whose book How College Works will be published by Harvard University Press. "It energizes people to want to learn more and go out in the world and grab it by the throat."

Mr. Chambliss came to this conclusion after conducting nine years of longitudinal research on 100 randomly selected students who entered Hamilton in 2001. He and his co-author, Christopher G. Takacs, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, interviewed students in person every year while they were on campus and every other year by telephone after they graduated. They also collected other data, including transcripts, and submitted the students' writing for evaluation by outside experts.

A pattern emerged, with motivation cropping up repeatedly during interviews, Mr. Chambliss said. Not every student or graduate used the word "motivation," but many described the same idea: There was an identifiable moment in which a faculty member created a spark in them; students became energized or excited by a topic, an idea, or a discipline. In those moments, he said, a faculty member conveyed to the student that he or she could perform on the collegiate level.

"What struck us was that this was the result of being at the college, not simply a given input, the way lots of people seem to treat it," Mr. Chambliss said. "Colleges and universities are like a museum. They're filled with all this beautiful art, but someone has to turn on the light. If no one turns on the light, nothing else matters."

Read more here:


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Organizing Training and Summer Work Possibilty

This may be of interest to some.  The organizer has called a few times, hoping, especially, to get some Mills students involved.  You've probably heard of UNITE HERE in connection with local labor organizing.  I worked with them when we were trying to form a graduate student union at Yale.  One of my colleagues from that effort,   Ivana Krajcinovic, is an organizing coordinator locally and is the source of that "reach out."

The first item below is an organizer training this week.  The second is about paid summer internships.

Coming Soon: Open Government (Data)


This big, collaborative effort is, in spirit at least, the great, great grandchild of projects I worked on in New Haven in the early 1990s ("New Haven On Line" (remnants on Way Back Machine) and "the Regional Data Cooperative: (evolved into DataHaven).  It is part of a project/movement called "Open Government" that encourages governments to make their data/information available in standard formats to encourage entrepreneurs and activists to develop applications that visualize, search, or mine this data to improve public discourse in a democratic society.
The Data Transparency Coalition
"Too often, the U.S. government does not publish crucial data online - or, when it does publish data, fails to use formats that make the data useful.

"The Data Transparency Coalition brings together technology companies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals to support the publication of federal data online in consistent, machine-readable formats. Federal data reform starts with the DATA Act, which will open the government's spending information to illuminate waste and fraud. But it won't end there. Other types of federal information need reform, too."

They have a blog, too.

See also:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's Out There, Episode 103.

A listing from Methods Mall, a one-stop shop for NSF-sponsored training opportunities in research methods for cultural anthropologists. This year, there are four training programs targeted at faculty and graduate students in anthropology.

The University of Florida is now offering online courses on research methods in anthropology. The first two courses, offered in May-June of 2012, are Text Analysis in Cultural Anthropology (taught by Clarence Gravlee and Amber Wutich) and Geospatial Analysis in Cultural Anthropology (taught by Eduardo Brondizio and Tracy Van Holt).

For more information and to enroll, go here: Or contact Russ Bernard at

Each five-week, online course, carries three university credits at the graduate level. The courses are for professionals in anthropology and for students of anthropology who are looking to strengthen their skills in research methods. The emphasis in each course is on skills for collecting and analyzing the many kinds of data with which anthropologists work.  The cost for each course is $2,500.00, plus a $33.63 fee per course.

Courses in this online program were developed with support from the National Science Foundation’s Program in Cultural Anthropology. More courses are planned for 2013 and 2014.

H. Russell Bernard 
Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus
University of Florida

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tomorrow's Social Science Today? By Techies?

If you generate the data, the analysts will come.  And more and more of the technologies of everyday life generate data, lots of it. "Big data" takes big tools and big tools cost big bucks.  The science of big data is mostly social science but, for the most part, it's not being done by social scientists.  What's left out when social scientists leave themselves out of the conversation? And what happens to the funding for non-big-data social science when resource-hungry projects like this emerge?  And what will be the effect on the epistemological status of non-big-data social science?

from the New York Times...
Berkeley Group Digs In to Challenge of Making Sense of All That Data

"It comes in “torrents” and “floods” and threatens to “engulf” everything that stands in its path.

No, it is not a tsunami, it is Big Data, the incomprehensibly large amount of raw, often real-time data that keeps piling up faster and faster from scientific research, social media, smartphones — virtually any activity that leaves a digital trace.

The sheer size of the pile (measured in petabytes, one million gigabytes, or even exabytes, one billion gigabytes) combined with its complexity has threatened to overwhelm just about everybody, including the scientists who specialize in wrangling it. “It’s easier to collect data,” said Michael Franklin, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, “and harder to make sense of it.”

Friday, April 6, 2012

Summer Pre-Law Opportunity Program at UCDavis

The KING HALL OUTREACH PROGRAM at UCDavis, aimed at first-generation college students OR students who come from an economically disadvantaged background AND who are currently sophomores or have two years before graduating, is currently accepting applications. It's a 3-4 week intensive law school preparation program that includes a $1400 stipend.

Deadline to apply is April 15, 2012.

Priority consideration is given to applications received by April 7.  There are no application or tuition fees to participate in this 2-year program.  For complete eligibility criteria, program description, instructions and application click here.

Program Description

  • Your KHOP commitment involves two academic years and two consecutive summers: one four-week session each summer before your junior and senior year where you are "in residence" at UC Davis. During the two summer sessions, you will:
  • Take classes in writing, logic, and LSAT prep. These classes focus on building and strengthening your academic skills;
  • Attend presentations about law school preparation and the legal profession by law professors, attorney and admission professionals;
  • Participate in Moot Court and Mock Trial; and
  • Meet with tutors and admission professionals who can help shape your academic and career decisions.

It doesn’t stop there! During the academic year, you will have the opportunity to receive pre-law advising, take practice LSATs under test conditions and receive access to additional pre-law resources from the Outreach library.


Students must be first-generation college students OR come from an economically disadvantaged background and...
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher as calculated on a 4.33 scale and following LSAC guidelines;
  • Are a current college sophomore in good standing or will be transferring to a 4-year college for Fall 2012 within three hours of Sacramento (Junior students are highly encouraged to consider applying to Pre-Law Boot Camp in the Fall for participation in Spring 2013);
  • Intend to go to law school, but no earlier than for Fall 2014 enrollment.
  • Higher consideration given to students previously identified by enrollment in Trio (Upward Bound, PUENTE, EOP, etc.) or other college outreach programs such as STEP.

NOTE: There is no fee to apply!  If selected to participate in KHOP, you are not allowed to take outside classes or work.  We understand that many students depend on financial aid and/or a job in the summer. Students who successfully complete the summer program may receive up to a $1400 stipend.

Have questions and can’t make it to an info session? Come to a program Q&A drop-in day!
If you have any questions regarding the application or the program, please contact us by phone at 530.754.7776 or by email,

UC Davis School of Law
Admission Outreach Office
400 Mrak Hall Dr.
Davis, CA 95616

Follow your dream, become a lawyer…

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maybe Taking Statistics Next Fall is a Good Idea

From Science 6 April 2012:

Popular media and science publications sound the drum: “Big Data” will drive our future, from translating genomic information into new therapies, to harnessing the Web to untangle complex social interactions, to detecting infectious disease outbreaks. Statistics is the science of learning from data, and of measuring, controlling, and communicating uncertainty; and it thereby provides the navigation essential for controlling the course of scientific and societal advances. This field will become ever more critical as academia, businesses, and governments rely increasingly on data-driven decisions, expanding the demand for statistics expertise."

"The melding of science and statistics has often propelled major breakthroughs. Last year's Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe. That discovery was facilitated by sophisticated statistical methods, establishing that the finding was not an artifact of imprecise measurement or miscalculations. Statistical methods also allowed the trial demonstrating that zidovudine reduces the risk of HIV transmission from infected pregnant women to their infants to be stopped early, benefiting countless children. Statistical principles have been the foundation for field trials that have improved agricultural quality and for the randomized clinical trial, the gold standard for comparing treatments and the backbone of the drug regulatory system.
"Statistics often informs policy development. For example, in the United States, billions of dollars are allocated to school districts based on county-specific estimates of income and poverty, derived by combining data using statistical methods. In evaluating pollutants, statistical modeling isolates true associations with illnesses and deaths. Big Data payoffs can be enormous, but there are many pitfalls. Take the promise of personalized medicine: Achieving this goal will require the integration of vast landscapes of genomic, clinical, and related data from legions of patients. The potential for false discovery looms large. New statistical methods will be needed to address some of these issues. Similar challenges arise from the haystacks of information on social network, time-use, economic, and other activities that can be mined to benefit science, business, and society. Close collaboration with statisticians is the best way to ensure that critical issues are identified and solutions found.
"A dramatic increase in the number of statisticians is required to fill the nation's needs for expertise in data science. A 2011 report by a private consulting firm projected a necessary increase of nearly 200,000 professionals (a 50% increase) by 2018.* Graduates specializing in statistics are equipped with skills that allow them to pursue diverse careers, and there has been a surge in applications for graduate education in these fields. But available places are limited; for example, the ratio of qualified applicants to slots in the Johns Hopkins Biostatistics program exceeds 10 to 1. Resources must be found to expand the number and size of graduate programs.
"No amount of statistical intervention can circumvent flawed subject-matter models or salvage valid conclusions from poorly designed studies, and even sound statistical analysis may fail to yield straightforward answers. The future demands that scientists, policy-makers, and the public be able to interpret increasingly complex information and recognize both the benefits and pitfalls of statistical analysis. It is a good sign that the new U.S. Common Core K-12 Mathematics Standards introduce statistics as a key component in precollege education, requiring that students be skilled in describing data, developing statistical models, making inferences, and evaluating the consequences of decisions. Embedding statistics in science and society will pave the route to a data-informed future, and statisticians must lead this charge."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Another Example of Contemporary Research Work

The ad below is not relevant to most of us since it is for a post-doctoral position -- a research job taken by new PhDs for one or more years before taking up normal university teaching/research positions. But "post-doc" position ads are a good window on cutting edge research topics.  

This one describes a project that's representative of a new area in social science: computational modeling of culture and knowledge by a scholar who uses GIS, remote sensing, Ecological surveys, content analysis, text analysis, social network analysis, consensus analysis, fuzzy sets and qualitative comparison analysis, and statistics in her work.

The East Carolina University has a post-doctoral research associate position opening for recent Ph.D.’s with experience in social network and text analysis. The ideal candidate will have prior training in social network analysis and excellent computational skills. The candidate should demonstrate an ability to work with academic software and be comfortable using multiple social network software analysis programs that may include Ora, UCINET, or Pajek. Experience with content analysis is a plus. In addition, training in environmental anthropology/sociology, human geography, or human-environment studies is desired.  Experience working with rural livelihoods in developing countries is a plus. The position involves analyzing data and preparing publications, as well as some management of undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants will work with Dr. Jeffrey C. Johnson and Dr. Tracy Van Holt. The position is located at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. The position is for one year with possible two-year extension dependent on funding and performance.
The project,A Structural Approach to the Incorporation Cultural Knowledge in Adaptive Adversary Models,” is developing culturally sensitive theories and flexible, robust and scalable computational techniques for modeling and predicting the adaptive behavior in regions of conflict. We use online data resources to model conflict. The initial domain of study will be Sudan. In particular, the research aims to (a) understand how socio-cultural, political, economic, and environmental factors can be modeled to understand conflict, (b) create and evaluate these models (c) incorporate these models into computational algorithms and tools. To this end the post-doctoral candidate will work with a multi-disciplinary team composed of decision scientists, computer scientist, anthropologists, political scientists & subject matter experts on the Sudan.  We have also assembled or gained access to data on historic events, actors, & socio-economic conditions. The project is funded by the Multi University Research Initiative (MURI) of the Office of Naval Research.
Applications including a CV and a description of past research and future research interests should be sent to Tracy Van Holt at ( with the subject heading MURI Post Doc.  Applicants might be later required to arrange for two letters of recommendation. Applications will be considered upon their reception.  Applications will be accepted immediately and the position will be open until filled.