2021 FDR Fellows Reflects Growth in Multiple Fields
Baylor faculty and graduate students constantly conduct research and gather data in their own unique fields of study. However, one special group of fifteen faculty and doctoral candidates stands out for their membership in the 2021 Fundamentals of Data Research Fellowship cohort.
This fellowship works with faculty and doctoral candidates from a variety of academic departments across Baylor to integrate data research methods into their existing research projects. Each fellow works intensively throughout the summer months to develop skills working with data and the program culminates with each members' presentation of their research in the fall.
"This highly-competitive fellowship program, which began five years ago for five graduate students in all disciplines and expanded to include ten faculty in humanities disciplines, was designed to support and expand the expertise of our campus researchers and educators in the methods and tools of data and digital scholarship," said Sha Towers, associate dean for research and engagement.
A doctoral candidate in the department of Higher Education & Leadership, Rachel Abouras, conducted research on faculty members' experience teaching college in prison. With the knowledge that she learned from the fellowship, she was then able to utilize data tools that allowed for unique visualization of her research.
Stephen Sloan, Director of the Institute for Oral History & Associate Professor of History, used his research to work with BUTANE (Baylor University Transcript Analysis and Exploration). An open-source web application written using the Python programming language, Using a data tool called Python, Sloane's project focuses on the abilities of BUTANE to perform data text data mining and visualizations that helped produce a clear presentation of interview transcripts data.
Presentations took place on September 10 and were a large success. This year's research was highly varied and the presentations were open for any faculty to come witness the hard work of each Baylor data fellow.
"The turnout for the 2021 FDR Fellows was incredible," said Joshua Been, director of data & digital scholarship. "I was delighted to see faculty from all areas of the University at the presentations."
Programs like the Fundamentals of Data Research Fellowship help further Baylor's plans to become an R1/Tier1 institution as highlighted in Baylor's strategic vision, Illuminate. Data literacy plays an important role in both the analysis and representation of research data.