01/19/2019 R for Data Analysis TechShop Recap

Written by volunteer writer Amy Freeman

Darina in a techshop

Having a collection of data is one thing. Knowing what to do with that data is another thing entirely. R is a software environment and programming language that allows for the manipulation of data and data analysis.

Darina Chudnovskaya (pictured above), a data analyst who studies epidemiology, used R throughout her graduate program to learn about statistical techniques and data management. Working at a hospital in Philadelphia, she uses R at work for data management. She also uses the program for outside programs.

The goal of her work is “to translate findings into interventions for better health outcomes in the population.”

Recently, Darina had the opportunity to teach an R for Data Analysis TechShop in Villanova. The TechShop introduced middle-school aged girls to R, giving them a chance to load and plot data into the program.

Before jumping in to lead the TechShop, Darina had given a short talk on text analysis using R, but noted that she hadn’t had prior experience teaching an introductory program to the language. The TechShop went over the basics of the program, including coding terminology, loading and plotting data, Helping out at a Techshop and the basics of managing and cleaning data.

The TechShop was a learning experience for Darina and the girls who attended. Darina notes that her “teaching skills were sharpened” by the workshop and that she “learned to read the audience.”

Her favorite part of the program was watching the girls accomplish tasks in R, such as plotting or loading data. To give the girls a more hands-on experience with the program, she hopes to mix in more coding exercises between lecture segments in future workshops.

She recommends that others who teach the R for Data Analysis workshop in the future do the same so that the girls who attend have the opportunity to really dive in and try out R.

All in all, Darina had enjoyed teaching the workshop and was happy to be able to participate. She’s thankful to the TechGirlz team for having her.

Interested in leading a TechShop? Browse our TechShopz in a Box to learn more about available topics and be on the lookout for this soon to be published workshop!