New Missouri Data Fellow Program Launches

Students working with data at Data Fest
Tiffany Smith
News Source: 
College of Arts & Science
Truman School of Public Affairs

The Department of Economics and the Truman School of Public Affairs within the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri are pleased to announce the Missouri Data Fellows program.

It is an answer to the current data crisis that many states — including Missouri — are facing. There is simply too much available data and not enough qualified data analysts.  

This innovative Data Fellows program, supported by a three-year grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will place quantitatively trained MU graduate students pursuing master’s degrees in economics or public affairs at state agencies in Jefferson City, Mo.

The first cohort of three fellows is slated to start in Fall 2019. Students will receive scholarships and a stipend while they are in the 18-month program.

Professor Cory KoedelCory Koedel, associate professor of economics and public policy, is the program leader and PI of the $477,747 grant from the Kauffman Foundation. Professors Mike Podgursky and Mark Ehlert in the economics department and Bradley Curs, associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and the Truman School, were also involved in establishing the program.

Patterned on a successful program at Harvard University, the data fellows will work with MU academic mentors and research staff in the agencies to improve Missouri’s state data infrastructure and enhance the capacity for data-driven policy decisions. Students will earn academic credits in an apprenticeship-style model while working at the state agencies, in addition to taking core classes in their master’s programs at MU.

“This is a great partnership,” says Professor Koedel. “Our students have the skill set and the organizations have the data. Students will get valuable career training and the agencies and the state of Missouri will get valuable data analysis.”

Agency chiefs at the three organizations where the first cohort of fellows will work — the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Missouri Department of Higher Education, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development — have expressed enthusiastic support for the new program.

“We are excited to work with our University of Missouri partners to make the Data Fellows Program a success,” says DESE Commissioner Margie Vandeven.

“The program is important to MU beyond its benefits to the students,” says Shawn Ni, professor and chair of the economics department. “By building the infrastructure that connects data of different state agencies, the program will enhance our ability in conducting policy relevant scholarly research and providing policy analysis for the state government.”

The program received support from the College of Arts and Science and MU. 


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