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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Maryland: Data Detectives Mix Learning and Fun at Statistics Summer Camp

This summer, a group of 29 rising sixth and seventh graders got to hone their statistical literacy skills at the University of Maryland School of Public Health supported Data Detectives Camp, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) summer camp that focuses on statistics. 

Now in its fourth year, the free day camp is organized by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Public Health, the Joint Programs in Survey Methodology in the University of Maryland’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the American Statistical Association, the CDC Museum, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Justice.

During the week-long camp, the kids learned how to ask the right questions, collect and analyze data and determine answers. They mastered pivot tables, percent distributions and how to best visualize and interpret data to solve a crime and find the favorite foods of kids in various states. 

On the final day, the kids presented posters visualizing their work in groups of three. A panel of camp volunteers judged the posters and a few were selected — for the first time in the camp’s history — to move on to the American Statistical Association’s national student poster competition next year. 

The camp was initially hosted in the SPH building, but the camp moved to the NCHS building due to construction in 2018. Even with the physical separation, the school’s connection to the camp remains strong. Dr. Xin He, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, has collaborated with the camp’s staff since the camp’s earliest days. He serves on the committee that reviews student applications and plays an integral role in creating and improving the camp’s curriculum.

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