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The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Students use data from Clinton Foundation

Bella '17 and Elizabeth '17 work on their coding project. Sora Lee Contributing Photographer
Bella ’17 and Elizabeth ’17 work on their coding project. Sora Lee Contributing Photographer

Seniors Elizabeth ’17 and Bella ’17 are working on a class project, using data sets from the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings Campaign to highlight the challenges women and girls face in all aspects of society. Mathematics instructor Darren Kessner,who also teaches the Advanced Computer Science course introduced the project to Elizabeth and Bella, who had taken AP Computer Science last year.

They will present their project in a display as part of the STEM Gallery at Marlborough to share their graphs with the school community. This project allows them to learn more about computer science, and merge it with current events.

“It’s different from what we’ve done in the past, but hopefully it will enlighten people and make them more aware of the conditions [of people] that are not as fortunate,” Elizabeth said.

The No Ceilings Campaign, which advocates for women’s equal access to education and resources, is collecting data sets and sharing them through progress reports and data visualizations. Elizabeth and Bella are taking data sets from different countries about issues like access for women to water  and telephone servers. The students will then convert these data into graphs to check for possible correlations. They are comparing four to five developing countries with the U.S. or other developed European countries to evaluate relative availability of resources.

“It’s really interesting that we’re looking at [the issues] now in the midst of the election because a lot of it is coming to light,” Elizabeth said.

Last year in AP Computer Science Bella and Elizabeth worked in the Java programming language. For this project, they learned to work in Python, which allows them to express concepts in fewer lines of code. Elizabeth said that the new language has presented some challenges, though it has not been too difficult for them to adjust.

They said their biggest challenge has been to fill in the graph when they have empty data sets in a country. They must rely on the computer to recognize these gaps and estimate the resulting lines on their graphs.

“It’s very much an independent project, rather than Dr. Kessner telling us what to do,” Elizabeth said.

Bella said she is enjoying combining these studies and hopes to pursue studies related to this project later on.

“I want to study computer science as well as political science, sociology, or international relations. So, at least for me, it’s really cool firsthand to see what I want to pursue later,” she said. 

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