During summer 2020, Data Analytics in Student Hands (DASH) will engage 20 undergraduate students in a full-time, 10-week, paid research experience through the George “Trey” Pharis Fellowship Program. Guided by faculty mentors and research staff, Pharis fellows will conduct research projects focused on the application of data science principles and techniques to improve understanding of social determinants of health (SDoH) within Houston communities. These projects will be completed in the context of ongoing work through the University of Houston Community Health Worker Initiative (CHWI) and faculty research in the use of hypergraph modeling and other data science visualizations. Through these connections, students will have opportunities to interact and learn directly from CHWs embedded in Houston’s Third Ward and East End communities and to contribute building blocks to ongoing faculty research projects. The 2020 Pharis Fellowship Program is sponsored by the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute.
Program Terms & Expectations
The Pharis Fellowship Program is a full-time research experience completed over a 10-week period during the summer of 2020. Fellows are expected to fully engage with program activities, including attending regularly scheduled learning and working sessions (e.g. seminars, brown bag lunches), attending a program orientation session during spring 2020, preparing at least one scholarly publication or presentation based on work conducted during the program (e.g. presenting a poster for Undergraduate Research Day), and participate in ongoing activities to document program participation (e.g. ePortfolios, program surveys). Participation in a Pharis Fellowship is generally not compatible with additional outside employment or summer coursework, but students interested in a Pharis Fellowship are encouraged to discuss specific circumstances with the program committee.
UPDATE: The 2020 Pharis Fellowship program will be conducted entirely online. Program expectations (e.g. full-time commitmen for 10-weeks) and support (e.g. stipends) remain unchanged.
Eligibility and Applications
All undergraduate students at University of Houston are eligible to apply regardless of major or college affiliation. Fellowships will be awarded to continuing UH undergraduates with at least a 3.0 GPA. Students graduating in spring or summer 2020 are not eligible. Applications for the 2020 Pharis Fellowship will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will continue until available positions are filled. Students are encouraged to submit applications before Friday, April 17, 2020 and will be contacted by the selection committee to provide additional information as need.
Hypergraphs are often used in machine learning and artificial intelligence to represent complex causal systems. They are an extension of the more common idea of a network graph – like the social networks familiar from online platforms like Facebook – but instead of just having single relations with others as friends, you can have many-layered and complex relations. It’s more like sets of overlapping Venn diagrams than a connect the dot.
Most importantly, you can use hypergraphs to represent the ways intentionally directed activities support the relationships, making the connections themselves stronger and not just doing something with one person at a time. This is extremely important in the world of community health, where it’s been very hard to show the value of community relationships. And if we can show how to place a value on the relationships, and what it means to demonstrate that community has been made stronger, we can help identify existing strengths in the community and model strategies and interventions with community strengths already in mind. In other words, we can do what we set out to do, and have our students drive the transformation through engagement and the hands-on use of data analytics.