IronHacks Fellowship Fall 2018 center

RCODI Fellowship Fall 2018

Why should I become an RCODI undergraduate fellow for Fall 2018?

Our state has a serious workforce problem. There more than 200,000 unfilled jobs and many counties are not taking the right measures to develop the skills of their residents. Do you want to make a change to our state’s workforce problem using data visualization? Become an undergraduate RCODI fellow for Fall 2018 (with a guaranteed stipend for the first 8 weeks) and join a cohort of other 30 to 50 students who want to use their creativity, technical skills, and analytical mind to make an impact on governments!

Please review the following steps:

  1. Read the information about the fellowship below.
  2. Complete the registration form that is at the end of this page or direct link here

Apply here

How is the fellowship structured?

The Research Center for Open Digital Innovation (RCODI) is collaborating with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to launch a unique data analytics fellowship program focused on the area of workforce analytics. The fellowship is open for a cohort of undergraduate students enrolled at Purdue University (between 30 to 50 students will be admitted) that go through a two-stage program, including undergraduate research, in which they analyze, visualize and interactively display their results in web-based “app” to be used by policymakers for their decisions on workforce development in the state of Indiana.

The full program is structured in two phases. Phase 1 includes the 8-week program, in which undergraduate students explore open governmental data as well as workforce data available for the selected fellows only (e.g. skill-level, unfilled jobs, training opportunities). They will analyze, visualize the data, and make them actionable in an interactive web “app” using technologies like HTML, CSS, and D3.js (see cool data visualizations done in D3.js in Figure 1 below).

Figure 1: D3.js visualizations (

The goal is to develop an interactive app that is used by the governmental actors and agencies when making important workforce-related decisions. The first phase is set-up as hacking challenge run by RCODI, in which a cohort of 30 to 50 students go through a structured training and tutorial program, and then participate in 5 iterative hacking events, in which they use their creativity to develop novel and useful workforce apps. Depending on performance in the first 8 weeks, Phase 2 includes the opportunity for a longer-term fellowship follow-on for selected top students to deepen their analysis and advance their project further individually or in a small team setting.

The first phase lasts 8 weeks and is structured in distinct phases visualized in the figure below. It starts with pre-training sessions to familiarize participants with technologies (e.g. APIs, D3.js) needed, followed by a 5-stage iterative on-campus competition. During this training period, you will also be familiarized with the DWD data during sessions run by representatives of the state, and a team of data scientists. Fellows will have access to tutorials, live help sessions, a social coding environment, and community features. Automatic hosting of apps, code evaluations, and workflow support for usability judging provides additional assistance to the hackers in agile design and prototyping.

Figure 2: Process for phase 1 of the hacking program.

The training period will start on October 12-14th. The competition portion of the fellowship will take place over 5 weekends in October and November (see below). Students will develop their apps in our lab setting on weekends: October 19-21, October 26-28, November 2-4, November 9-11, November 16-18. Meeting times on weekends will be defined in coordination with fellows!

What can the candidate gain from the fellowship?

As part of the program, the candidates that are chosen to participate will receive a stipend, a certificate of participation, direct interaction with our state’s decisionmakers and other thought leaders in addition to a real working product that can be included in the candidate’s digital portfolio for future references. This is on top of the financial “base reward” of $100 for 8 weeks. This base stipend is independent of the performance of the participants. The final financial reward is allocated based on the participants standing in the cohort (below lowest 25% of the participants, better than the lower 25% quartile but worse than 50% of the participants, better than 50% of the fellows but worse than the upper 25%, in the upper 25% quartile). The top 25% can receive a final payment of $800 dollars. The reward depends on how well the fellows score at each stage of the competition in the area of analytics, information visualization, and novelty.

What happens during the first phase of the fellowship?

  • You will tackle a real-world challenge in the area of workforce analytics
  • You will prepare and analyze open data as well as ‘restricted’ data that are exclusively available for the fellows through the collaboration with DWD.
  • You will advance your skills in HTML, CSS, and D3.js during the training session
  • You will use analytical thinking and creativity when exploring, correlating, and visualizing the data in order to respond to the hacking challenge presented to you at the start of the hacking challenge.
  • You will create and test a web-based app that is novel in terms of data visualization (D3.js) and also interactive features. You will also test your prototype in the lab.
  • You will participate in and experience experimental lab studies using eye-tracking technologies and data science methods (A/B testing).
  • You will interact with a team of experts (professors, researchers, representatives of DWD, team members of the chief data scientists of Indiana).
  • You will have the opportunity to present your final outcomes in a presentation to a board of experts consisting of DWD, other policymakers, and Purdue researchers.
  • Your final study will be published as a short whitepaper including a demonstration of your prototype.

Sounds overwhelming? We will be here to support you: There are tutors, mentors, etc. who will help you in this program to ramp up fast. We will have a training period! There will be also free food on weekends and drinks!

Criteria for selection of candidates:

The candidate will need to present proof of the following requirements:

  1. Enrolled in a program requiring programming experience (computer science, computer graphics technology, engineering or related areas) or other evidence for prior programming experience
  2. Evidence with interest on learning and having experience in developing web applications using HTML/CSS/Javascript
  3. Problem-solving skills and the ability and willingness to learn new techniques quickly
  4. Interest in data visualization and data analysis
  5. Ideally also prior experience with Javascript and D3.js, learning and doing cool stuff!!!

What are the next steps to become part of the fellowship cohort for Fall 2018?

Interested students will need to submit an application here.

Once registration is open, submissions are time sensitive! The application deadline is Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 11:59pm.

You can also download the complete information here


The Research Center for Open Digital Innovation (RCODI) at Purdue University brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars and thinkers focused on the emerging phenomenon of open digital innovation. Open digital innovation encompasses completely new ways we create and use information and data-driven products and services. We design and evaluate data-driven applications and smart technologies to tackle societal challenges such as sustainability, safety, healthy living. Social coding platforms and virtual hacking communities serve as our virtual living labs. Our researchers use advance techniques of computational social science such as behavioral analytics and large-scale online experiments to develop new digital technologies that support humans in the role as citizens, workers, and policymakers in making smarter decisions. As user-inspired researchers, we intensively engage with industry partners, policymakers, and individual citizens. In 2016, RCODI launched Purdue IronHacks, a unique virtual multi-staged open data competition, in which students and innovators develop novel and useful apps to solve societal challenges. More Information about RCODI: and IronHacks: The program is funded by the Science of Science and Innovation Policy Program (SciSPI) of the National Science Foundation (NSF, Award No. #1462044). Dr. Sabine Brunswicker is the founder and director of RCODI, as well as Associate Professor for Digital Innovation at Purdue University. She also acts as a policy advisor in the USA and Europe and has been a keynote speaker at events like World Economic Forum. no-repeat;center top;;


My research interests include distributed digital innovation, AI, crowdsourcing, and open source software