iSci Students Conquer In The Capital

Frances Lorenz Alun Stokes Geetha Jeyapragasan and Katarina SackaThird-year Integrated Science students Frances Lorenz, Alun Stokes, Geetha Jeyapragasan and Katarina Sacka (from left to right) beat out 88 teams of engineering students from across Canada to win the CANDEV Data Challenge in Ottawa earlier this month.

The team of Integrated Science students proposed a solution to reorganize the Canadian School of Public Service course catalogue using data analytics and machine learning. The students presented to a pair of judges, won their category and then competed in round two against the top teams from the challenge's other categories.

It was the first time the students competed in the challenge. "We thought it would be a great opportunity to try out data science," says Katarina. "We all have some background in math and statistics and while data science is different from math, it's in a related field."

Associate professor Chad Harvey says he's proud yet not surprised by what Frances, Alun, Geetha, and Katarina accomplished at the national challenge. "All four students showed an affinity for data and analysis since their early days in the iSci program. They excelled on a second-year research project on plant-animal interactions where they stepped up to my challenge of using statistical analysis on their ecological data."

The CANDEV Data Challenge presented by Statistics Canada brings together teams of university and college students for 24 hours of intensive problem-solving. Students tackle data challenges involving business cases put forward by government departments related to data management. The challenge gives students opportunities to network and make connections with the Government of Canada staff.
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