Feb 18, 2019 | Atlanta, GA
Adriana Alvarado Garcia, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Literature, Media, and Communication’s (LMC) Digital Media program, recently attended the inaugural workshop of the United Nations (UN) Global Pulse Data Fellows initiative. LMC is a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
Alvarado was selected to join the first cohort of the UN Data Fellows, who work to promote awareness of the opportunities big data presents for sustainable development and humanitarian action.
The Data Fellows initiative began with an exercise where Ph.D. candidates with specific expertise in AI, data science, computational social science or data and design are matched to work with one of 40 UN departments on a specific subject area.
Alvarado was chosen to work with the Accelerator Labs, a project of the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP) designed with the goal of becoming the world’s largest and fastest learning network around development challenges.
The fellows, UN Global Pulse, and the UN agencies they will be working with, met in New York at the UN Headquarters for the three-day workshop to facilitate in-person introductions and agree on the topic of their project.
“The focus of the UN project is to provide a methodology that helps the staff at the Accelerator Labs of the UNDP to identify uncommon digital sources of information across social media, online communities and other digital platforms,” Alvarado says.
“The ultimate purpose of this project is to inform the development of tools that will enable the integration and use of crowdsourced data to inform collective action. By examining how data and community practices of citizens may contribute to the work of the Accelerator Labs, we are focusing on helping communities to transition from individual to systemic practices.”
By leveraging the UN’s varied geographic and intellectual projects, Data Fellows are provided an outlet to effect social change outside of the classroom.
“I think this is a unique opportunity for me to continue doing my research and have an impact beyond academia,” said Alvarado.