Startup Plus Grad Student Internship Proves to be a Winning Combination

Combine young companies led by bright entrepreneurs with talented graduate students eager to use their skills and something good is bound to happen.

A case in point is, an Austin, Texas-based startup dedicated to making data (such as U.S. Census data) more accessible and usable; and Jonathan Ortiz, a graduate student in the data analytics program at the University of Texas at Austin.

Ortiz and came together through DataStart, a South Big Data Hub program that provides funding to startups to support summer interns. The program gives the startups technical talent to work on important data-related problems and offers promising graduate students the change to work on real industry problems and explore the job market. All summer, Ortiz has worked with to develop a more intuitive and usable data set for the Census’ American Community Survey, the premier source of information about the changing demographics of the U.S.

It’s been a fruitful relationship for both Ortiz and his host company—so much so that it recently received some media attention. Read more about how Ortiz has been working with in this article in GCN.

Ortiz is one of six graduate students in the southern U.S. who will be winding up a DataStart internship in the next few weeks. We look forward to hearing more success stories on Sept. 27, when the six interns and representatives of the startups they worked with gather in Durham, NC to formally wrap up the first year of the program.

August Opportunities & Events

The following opportunities and events went out to all of our mailing list subscribers:

Get Involved

South Hub Working Groups:

Data Sharing and Infrastructure Working Group

The South Big Data Hub Community Engagement Working Group will be meeting for the second time in August. If you would like to participate, please fill out the doodle poll by Monday, August 8th: The Data Sharing and Infrastructure working group is developing a vision for shared cyberinfrastructure, services, and resources across the Hub, and is initiating an asset mapping and needs assessment effort. Initial calls will be open. The first working group call provided presentations by Reagan Moore (UNC RENCI) on the NSF DataNet Federation Consortium, Jason Coposky (UNC RENCI) on the iRODS consortium, Mike Conway (UNC RENCI) on NSF-sponsored CyVerse, Len Fishman on Data.World, and Victor Hazlewood on JICS and XSEDE. For the notes from the first meeting held on July 13th, please visit: To join the working group, please contact Lea Shanley at

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South Hub Goes to Washington!

Left to right: Lea Shanley, Srinivas Aluru, Fen Zhao, Renata Rawlings-Goss, Dan Stazione, Stan Ahalt, Melvin Greer

Representatives of the South Hub including Principal Investigators Srinivas Aluru and Stan Ahalt, and Co-Executive Directors Renata Rawlings-Goss and Lea Shanley met in Washington, D.C. for congressional briefings to educate staff on the importance and impact of data science, as well as on the activities of the South Big Data Hub.   Continue reading

South Hub Sponsors a Fall Workshop Series

The South Hub is sponsoring several workshops this fall, and registration for these events is now open. Participants come from academic research institutions across the 16 states that comprise the South Big Data Innovation Hub and industrial partners across the country. Some workshops will have limits concerning attendees due to space, and there are also a limited number of travel awards available. View more about all of these workshops by visiting   Continue reading

South Big Data Hub DataStart fellow reflects on lessons learned

By Jonathan Ortiz, DataStart Fellow,, Austin, Texas

Jonathan Ortiz trying his hand at the slackline.

As the summer semester passes its halfway point, I take a moment to reflect on just what an amazing summer it has been and think ahead to what is in store for the second half. I am a Data Analytics and Big Data student at The University of Texas at Austin, and this summer I have had the exciting opportunity to work with, an Austin data startup, through a DataStart fellowship managed by the South Big Data Hub with support from the Computing Community Consortium and the National Science Foundation. is a data platform that helps people work together to solve important problems faster. I believe, as the good folks at believe, that the barriers that divide data and people are artifacts from a less-connected era. In a time when more and more open data is created every day, only a tiny fraction—less than 1%—of all the data that gets collected and stored is ever analyzed, according to an IDC report.   Continue reading

Four STPF Alumni Lead the Big Data Charge

Regional big data hubs aim to foster partnerships and strategies to tackle local and national challenges.

By Joy Metcalf (original posting at AAAS)

Late last year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) granted $5 million dollars to establish four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs covering all 50 states with more than 250 universities, corporations, foundations, and cities committing support. The hubs’ role: To develop big data partnerships and strategies to address challenges the United States faces on a regional and national level.

Four of the five Hub leads enjoy the DC outdoors (From left to right: Lee, Shanley, Baston, Rawlings-Goss). | RC Barcus

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Opportunities List July 2016

The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) 2016 summer meeting “Big Data: Frontiers in Earth Sciences” is coming to Durham, NC from July 29-22. As part of this event, the South Big Data Hub and ESIP will co-host an exhibit of data visualizations on Wednesday, July 20 from 5:30-7:00 PM at the 21c Hotel, showcasing the diversity, creativity, and impact of the research done by the Earth and data science communities through visualizations and graphical presentations of research results.

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The Recap: South Big Data Hub Education and Workforce Working Group Call

Members discuss the importance of the 21st century workforce using data science across industry, academia and government

Members of the South Big Data Hub Education (SBDH) Education and Workforce Working Group began a conversation this week around identification of core learning needs for data science, including the retention of students in the STEM pipeline and the recruitment of new and diverse students to the field of data science.

Leveraging the SBDH community, 28 members from nine Southeastern states shared their knowledge of current data science training opportunities in an open forum and delved into ideas for connecting and expanding upon those initiatives.   Continue reading

Data Matters summer short courses to focus on data issues in business and research

Business managers, data analytics specialists, academic researchers, data center administrators and anyone else who grapples with big data are the target audience for an annual weeklong short course series on data issues sponsored by the National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS), the Odum Institute for Social Science Research at UNC Chapel Hill, and the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI).

18977365440_851ba165b3_z (1)Data Matters, a summer workshop series on all things data, will be held June 20-24 at the Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill, NC. The workshop series will feature two-day courses on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday and Friday, and one-day courses on Wednesday.

Topics to be covered include strategies for managing big data, data management and analysis tools, data mining and machine learning, data visualization, and predictive analysis. Instructors will include experts from Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, RENCI, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and RTI International.

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