Hackathon Challenges Students to Use Big Data to Promote Equity

COVID-19 hit vulnerable communities especially hard. To identify promising policy solutions for a more equitable recovery from the pandemic, Pardee RAND students worked with undergraduates from Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, and Spelman College in a three-week virtual hackathon sponsored by the Tech + Narrative Lab and RAND's NextGen Initiative. Participants analyzed a variety of datasets to determine how vulnerable populations fared during the pandemic and the extent to which policies, or a lack thereof, may have decreased or increased inequities.

“Young folks of color became active participants in the work of policy research to address issues that they and their communities care about,” said Osonde Osoba, hackathon organizer and codirector of the Tech + Narrative Lab at Pardee RAND. “This seems to be one more form of direct representation that can actually make our collective policy systems more responsive to the needs of underserved communities.”

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