Driving toward data justice

As an individual with a mixed-race background who has lived in 4 totally different cities, Amelia Dogan describes her adolescence as “rising up in a number of in-betweens.” Now an MIT senior, she continues to hyperlink totally different views collectively, working on the intersection of city planning, pc science, and social justice.

Dogan was born in Canada however spent her highschool years in Philadelphia, the place she developed a robust affinity for town.  

“I like Philadelphia to dying,” says Dogan. “It’s my favourite place on the planet. The power within the metropolis is superb — I’m so unhappy I wasn’t there for the Tremendous Bowl this yr — however it’s a metropolis with actually huge disparities. That drives me to do the analysis that I do and shapes the issues that I care about.”

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Dogan is double-majoring in city science and planning with pc science and in American research. She selected the previous after taking part within the pre-orientation program supplied by the Division of City Research and Planning, which gives an introduction to each the division and town of Boston. She adopted that up with a UROP analysis challenge with the West Philadelphia Panorama Venture, placing collectively historic census information on housing and race to seek out patterns to be used in neighborhood advocacy.

After taking WGS.231 (Writing About Race), a course supplied by the Program in Girls’s and Gender Research, her first yr at MIT, Dogan realized there was a number of crosstalk between city planning, pc science, and the social sciences.

“There’s a number of essential social concept that I need to have background in to make me a greater planner or a greater pc scientist,” says Dogan. “There’s additionally a number of points round equity and participation in pc science, and a number of pc scientists try to reinvent the wheel when there’s already actually good, essential social science analysis and concept behind this.”

Knowledge science and feminism

Dogan’s first yr at MIT was interrupted by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, however there was a silver lining. An inflow of funding to maintain college students engaged whereas attending faculty nearly enabled her to affix the Knowledge + Feminism Lab to work on a case research analyzing three locations in Philadelphia with historic names that had been renamed after activist efforts.

In her first yr at MIT, Dogan labored a number of UROPs to hone her personal expertise and discover the most effective analysis match. In addition to the West Philadelphia Land Venture, she labored on two tasks inside the MIT Sloan Faculty of Administration. The primary concerned looking for connections between entrepreneurship and immigration amongst Fortune 500 founders. The second concerned interviewing warehouse staff and writing a report on their high quality of life.

Dogan has now spent three years within the Knowledge + Feminism Lab underneath Affiliate Professor Catherine D’Ignazio, the place she is especially occupied with how expertise can be utilized by marginalized communities to invert historic energy imbalances. A key idea within the lab’s work is that of counterdata, that are produced by civil society teams or people with a purpose to counter lacking information or to problem current official information.

Most lately, she accomplished a SuperUROP challenge investigating how femicide information activist organizations use social media. She analyzed 600 social media posts by organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada. The work constructed off the lab’s better physique of labor with these teams, which Dogan has contributed to by annotating information articles for machine-learning fashions.

“Catherine works quite a bit on the intersection of knowledge points and feminism. It simply appeared like the best match for me,” says Dogan. “She’s my educational advisor, she’s my analysis advisor, and can be a very good mentor.”

Advocating for the scholar expertise

Exterior of the classroom, Dogan is a robust advocate for enhancing the scholar expertise, significantly when it intersects with identification. An govt board member of the Asian American Initiative (AAI), she additionally sits on the scholar advisory council for the Workplace of Minority Training.

“Doing that institutional advocacy has been essential to me, as a result of it’s for issues that I anticipated coming into school and had not are available in ready to struggle for,” says Dogan. As a excessive schooler, she participated in packages run by the College of Pennsylvania’s Pan-Asian American Neighborhood Home and was shocked to seek out that MIT didn’t have an equal group.

“Constructing neighborhood primarily based upon identification is one thing that I’ve been actually captivated with,” says Dogan. “For the previous two years, I’ve been working with AAI on a listing of suggestions for MIT. I’ve talked to alums from the ’90s who had been part of an Asian American caucus who had been asking for a similar issues.”

She additionally holds a management position with MIXED @ MIT, a pupil group targeted on creating house for mixed-heritage college students to discover and focus on their identities.

Following commencement, Dogan plans to pursue a PhD in data science on the College of Washington. Her breadth of expertise has given her a variety of packages to select from. Regardless of the place she goes subsequent, Dogan needs to pursue a profession the place she will proceed to make a tangible influence.

“I’d like to be doing community-engaged analysis round information justice, utilizing citizen science and counterdata for coverage and social change,” she says.


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