Community Development and Engagement (CDE) projects are active partnerships with the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub that incubate community-building activities in at least one of the Hub’s five Priority Areas [Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (AMM), Digital Agriculture (DA), Smart & Resilient Communities (SRC), Water Quality (WQ), and Big Data in Health (BDH)] and/or one of the Hub’s Crosscutting Theme Areas [Data Science Education and Workforce Development (DSEWD), and Cyberinfrastructure and Data Sharing (CDS)].

The projects below were established through four rounds of CDE proposals in 2020–2023, launching during fall 2020 and throughout 2021, 2022, and 2023-2024.

Data Infrastructure Design Guide for Community Resource Directory Information

PI: Greg Bloom, Open Referral Initiative
Partner(s): Open Referral Initiative; Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): SRC, BDH, and CDS
Project description: This project will develop a participatory research and design guidebook that helps stakeholders in health, human, and social service sectors work together to develop equitable, locally appropriate strategies for the establishment of shared data infrastructure and governance processes for information about the resources available to people in need in their communities.

Water Data Internship Program

PI: Taylor Davis, Elevate Rapid City
Partner(s): Elevate Rapid City; Western Dakota Regional Water System; Black Hills State University; South Dakota School of Mines & Technology; Western Dakota Technical College
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): SRC, WQ, and DSEWD
Project description: This project will be a three-way partnership among education, industry, and economic development to provide high-quality, career-enhancing internships for local underrepresented students at four institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the Rapid City, South Dakota region, focused on data collection and analysis to plan for water infrastructure development in western South Dakota. The aim is to bolster the workforce as well as water quality for western South Dakota.

St. Louis Regional Circular Index

PI: Patrick Arnold, 10 Billion Strong/CircularSTL
Partner(s): 10 Billion Strong/CircularSTL; earthday365; Race to Zero Waste; Washington University in St. Louis Office of Sustainability; Cortex Innovation Community; Community Innovation and Action Center (CIAC) at the University of Missouri–St. Louis
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): SRC
Project description: This project will design and implement a program to build a circular-city dashboard for the St. Louis region. The goal is to promote resilience in the region by creating a data-driven St. Louis circular-economy strategy, using a customized set of relevant circular-economy indicators. This project will include community meetings to help develop the circular-city dashboard and regional circularity strategy document, and a final symposium to enable community members to understand the index and build a shared vision for taking specific steps to improve community resilience with circular-economy models.

Open-Source Community Development for Next-Gen Web Technologies in Hydrological Research and Education

PI: Ibrahim Demir, The University of Iowa College of Engineering Hydroinformatics Lab
Partner(s): The University of Iowa College of Engineering Hydroinformatics Lab
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): WQ, DSEWD, and CDS
Project description: This project will foster a sustainable open-source hydrological community of practice centered on HydroSuite, a comprehensive suite of software libraries, tools, and platforms underpinned by cutting-edge web technologies, to support hydrological education, research, and operations in the Midwest area. This will be done by creating a comprehensive framework of web-based libraries using client computational resources. The project aims to provide the community with knowledge in the fields of efficient and effective hydrological data management, modeling and analysis via parallel and distributed computing, and geospatial visualization to support use cases and stakeholders in research, education, and decision-making in water resources management.

Master Irrigator Program in Kansas: Creating a peer-to-peer network for co-learning and data sharing across the agricultural supply chain

PI: Susan Metzger, Kansas State University
Partner(s): Kansas State University; Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 3; Kansas Water Office; Irrigation Innovation Consortium; National Sorghum Producers; Climate Smart Sorghum Initiative; Garden City Co-op, Inc.; The Garden City Company; Circle Land and Cattle Corp.; Hy-Plains Feedyard, LLC
Master Irrigator Lite Workshop: Impact Report
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): DA and SRC
Project description: This project, through an introductory Master Irrigator short course, aims to enable a full launch of a Master Irrigator Program in Kansas in the future. Course topics will be geared toward producer success and community resilience in a climate of mitigating aquifer decline and reduced allocations due to voluntary or mandatory conservation programs. The future Kansas Master Irrigator Program will provide technical assistance to farmers, allowing them to work with their peers to confidently embrace more advanced technologies and improve their farm practices to be more efficient in the context of local action plans and other resource concerns. The program will also include intentional co-learning of producers and processors across the beef and dairy supply chain.

Data for Community Resilience: Increasing local data management and sharing through Data Science Skills Workshops

PI: Christopher Seeger, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development (CED) unit
Partner(s): Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development (CED) unit; 25 participants representing a diverse group of agencies such as county Extension, Regional Council of Governments, city government, county public health, economic development/chamber, Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), local food organizations, and others
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): SRC and DSEWD
Project description: This project aims to develop a data science workshop focused on data management skills for local stakeholders. The objective is to develop a pilot program that prioritizes increasing (1) local capacity for data literacy, (2) technical skills to access data, and (3) the ability to share local data. This project will expand the Iowa State University Community Indicators Program’s ability to share more granular datasets through curated meaningful products to help communities address place-based issues. This, in combination with increasing stakeholders’ data science skills (manage, analyze, and share local data), will enable authentic local community development to create more resilient communities.

Household Energy Burden Data Analytics, Visualization, and Crowdsourcing Platform for Local Decision-Makers

PI: Diba Malekpour Koupaei, University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research
Partner(s): University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research; Michigan State University
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): SRC
Project description: This project brings a new methodology to use assessed home value as a proxy variable to calculate household income and, using the traditional 6% energy burden threshold for determining energy poverty status, establish localized energy budgets for households in each census block in the area. The resulting household income and energy budget statistics will subsequently be incorporated and analyzed in a public-facing geographic information system (GIS)-based mapping interface. This household energy burden platform is intended to be used by local agencies and decision-makers in the Twin Cities metro area to support future efforts to identify and address energy poverty. The platform will also be used as an anonymous crowdsourcing tool to collect income and energy expenditure data at the household level. The household-level collected data will then be used to validate and enhance the energy budget and household income estimates.

Colors of Climate Change—A Data Storytelling Series for Ohio

PI: Ruth Chang, Midstory
Partner(s): Midstory; The University of Toledo; Bowling Green State University; City of Toledo Water Resources Department; City of Toledo Mayor’s Office
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): DA, SRC, and WQ
Project description: This project will produce an interactive multimedia, six-part data storytelling series that explores, visualizes, and raises awareness of the current state of climate change in Ohio, with a particular emphasis on the disproportionate impact on underserved and minority communities. The project will also create a comprehensive, interactive public exhibition to bring the community and regional stakeholders together.

Sense South Bend: A Citizen Science Framework for Public Health in a Changing Climate

PI: Denise Linn Riedl, The City of South Bend, Indiana
Partner(s): The City of South Bend, Indiana; Holy Cross College; University of Notre Dame
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): SRC, BDH, and CDS
Project description: As part of a larger project to deploy a network of environmental sensors throughout the city, which will provide real-time, citywide data on air quality and urban heat, the City of South Bend will partner with MBDH to empower university students to build research and engagement skills. A graduate-level Environmental Health Fellow and an undergraduate Environmental Health Intern will participate in research, mentorship, and experiential learning around public engagement and the use of environmental health data. Undergraduate research teams at Holy Cross College will also be supported to analyze the environmental determinants of air quality and urban heat in South Bend and the health impacts of air quality on residents. Public outreach events, developed by integrating this research and the best practices created by the Environmental Health Fellow, will engage the community in the publication and use of the City’s sensor data.

Data Science Workshop for Underrepresented High School Students

PI: John Daniels, Central Michigan University (CMU)
Partner(s): Central Michigan University; local and tribal high schools
Data Science Workshop for Underrepresented High School Students Project: Testimonials
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): DSEWD
Project description: This project is developing a week-long hands-on data science skills workshop for high school students in rural Michigan, with community health topics as the curricular focus. The goal is to raise awareness of data science as a career path for students who are uncertain about college attendance. This is a partnership with multiple units at CMU and with six school districts.

Midwest Climate Asset Map Needs Assessment

PI: Heather Navarro, Midwest Climate Collaborative
Partner(s): Midwest Climate Collaborative; Washington University in St. Louis; Northland College (WI)
Midwest Climate Asset Map Prototype Project Report, Poster, and Testimonials:
Project Report; Poster; Testimonials
Network Developed from this Project: Midwest Climate Resource Network (CRN)
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): DSEWD
Project description: This project develops a needs assessment survey and focus group activities to understand the data needs of climate researchers and practitioners in the 12-state Midwest region shared by MBDH and the Midwest Climate Collaborative (MCC). The information will be used to create a prototype of an asset map resource. This project includes a mentored student intern and cross-sector partners.

Data Science @ St. Kate’s: By Women, For Women—A boot camp for middle school girls

PI: Monica Brown, St. Catherine University
Partner(s): St. Catherine University
Data Science @ St. Kate’s Boot Camp Project: Testimonials
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): DSEWD
Project description: The focus of this project is to assist in advancing the mission of increasing the number of young women studying data science at St. Kate’s, steeped within the liberal arts tradition. Building within St. Kate’s current framework, one goal is to develop a data visualization and data science/data analytics curriculum that is compelling and engaging to young individuals who identify as women, particularly young women of color, who choose to begin or continue their baccalaureate academic journey at St. Kate’s, with the possibility of meeting Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) requirements as well. The other goal of this project is to establish data science “boot camp” summer programming for middle school students to give the younger students, particularly those who have been historically marginalized, a chance to see themselves as students at St. Kate’s, in addition to engaging activities to ignite enthusiasm for and passion around coding and data science.

Tribal Community Development and Engagement for Digital Agriculture and Big Data

PI: Anita Frederick, Tribal Nations Research Group
Partner(s): Tribal Nations Research Group (TNRG); University of North Dakota (UND); Grand Farm/Emerging Prairie
Workshop Agenda and Video: Agenda; Video
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): DA and DSEWD
Project description: This project is focused on presenting a workshop to engage tribal stakeholders on issues related to Data Science Education and Workforce Development, especially in the context of Digital Agriculture. The workshop will draw in tribal college and government stakeholders from across Indian country, both regionally and nationally, and will focus on communicating the need for Data Science education and workforce development as well as the use of proper data management and Data Sovereignty standards as applied to Digital Agriculture research in tribal-governed areas. The project will also attempt to broaden participation by tribal stakeholders in nationwide initiatives that could help to address some of the economic, health, and other societal conditions that tribes face, as a component of a potential NSF Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) proposal.

Workshop on Data for Good for Education

PI: Karl Schmitt, Trinity Christian College
Partner(s): Trinity Christian College
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): DSEWD
Project description: This project is focused on presenting a workshop to provide targeted professional development of teaching faculty, specifically with pedagogies using data for social good, and facilitate the development, collaboration, and sharing of instructional materials related to data for social good. In addition, the project will create networking opportunities for students, faculty, schools, and social good organizations (nonprofits, government, etc.) with data science or analytics needs. The intent is for this to become an annual event.

Midwestern Consortium for Computational Pathology (MCCP)

PI: Dhabaleswar Panda, The Ohio State University
Partner(s): The Ohio State University (OSU); University of Michigan (UMich); University of Pittsburgh (Pitt); Case Western Reserve University (CWRU); Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC); Mayo Clinic
Videos and Slides: Videos; Slides
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): BDH, DSEWD, and CDS
Project description: The goal of this consortium is to foster a community of practice around computational pathology in the Midwest and beyond. The challenges posed by a shortage of pathologists, the sheer volume and velocity of data (huge data) that must be harvested and managed, and the strong demand for better and faster diagnostics have created an enormous opportunity for the application of innovative human-machine teaming, deep learning, machine learning, and AI technologies. This consortium brings together experts from pathology, data science, and computer science; from academia, government laboratories, and industry; and aims to position the Midwest at the cutting edge of this new age of digital pathology. The consortium held its first interdisciplinary community workshop in January 2021. Videos and Slides are available.

Midwest Carpentries Community (MCC)

PI: Sarah Stevens, Midwest Carpentries Community
Partner(s): University of Wisconsin; The Carpentries; small institutions & minority-serving institutions (MSIs)
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): DSEWD
Project description: The Midwest Carpentries Community (MCC) is focused on building hands-on data science instruction capacity within the region through sharing best practices, community outreach, and train-the-trainer sessions. The MBDH is also interested in curriculum development that aligns with the Hub’s priority domain areas. The MCC has a monthly community call that is open to all.

Building Data Science Education Capacity in Neuroscience at Small Institutions

PI: Franco Delogu, Lawrence Technological University
Partner(s): Lawrence Technological University (LTU); The University of Texas at Austin; minority-serving institutions (MSIs)
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): BDH and DSEWD
Project description: This project brings an established online neuroscience course to a broader audience of MSIs and small colleges and universities through instructor training and outreach. Community development and sustainability will be addressed through related collaborative proposal-development activities.

MBDH Learning Innovation Fellows Program

PI: Rebecca Hardin, University of Michigan
Partner(s): University of Michigan (UMich); Iowa State University (ISU); William & Mary; Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis Hub (QUBESHub)
Blog Posts and Videos: First cohort; Second cohort; Videos
Priority and/or Crosscutting Theme Area(s): DSEWD and CDS
Project description: This project brings together students and mentors to do small-team hands-on development of open learning modules in the Gala environment, in a context of sustainability and environmental science. Like the neuroscience project, this work builds capacity in data science education and curriculum development that can be leveraged by smaller institutions that don’t currently have resources to build them in-house.