Open Data STEAM Summer Camp


 group picture of 3 rows of students at the Open Data STEAM Summer CAMP 2018 hosted by USDA and GWU Data Science

2018 Open Data STEAM summer camp participants.

Vulcan Enterprises LLC and Patriots Technology Training Center are teaming up using USDA Data sets to design and deliver a tuition-free “summer camp” in 2019 for high-school students (ages 14-17) in the Washington Metro Area. The camp focuses on using Open Data related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math (STEAM).

Located on the campus of George Washington University, this two-week-long (August 5 – 16) project-based summer camp will introduce participants to the use of data for making important decisions, in the context of the USDA’s work with food, water, forestry and urban agriculture. There will be a special focus on effective and compelling ways to visualize data. Students will explore, analyze and reconfigure quantitative and qualitative data, using fundamental graphical principles to present their project-related findings.

On-site faculty provide ready guidance on the kinds of questions that can be addressed with data, on the challenges of gathering data through interviews and surveys and on the techniques for presenting compelling arguments based on data. All students will get to work extensively with Excel, Tableau, Illustrator and ESRI’s Collector application for creating GIS maps.

Questions? Contact Joyce Hunter at [email protected].


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Sampling of Focus Areas

In the past, student projects harnessed actual USDA-provided data sets as well as original research to focus on issues of urban agriculture, urban forestry and food nutrition. These are some of the topics that may be covered during the camp.


Urban Forestry

Student teams used open data to map the trees planted in Washington, D.C., and then to analyze the benefits of those trees in helping to prevent flood and storm damage, boosting energy savings through moderation of local temperatures and reducing pollution.


Urban Agriculture

Teams looked at the ways in which community gardens impact “food deserts” in local neighborhoods, as well as how they substantially reduce the distance food has to travel from farm to table, that, in turn, helps to reduce both pollution and the loss of food nutrient value.


Food Safety and Sustainability

Teams focused on healthy eating and also on identifying what can easily be done in the home to present food-borne illness as well as on the policy approaches that are most effective in assuring the safe operation of restaurants and food trucks.


Water and Disaster

Working closely with World Agricultural Outlook Board data, the Foreign Agricultural Service and other USDA agencies, students will evaluate market analysis data and provide short- and long-term projections of U.S. and world agricultural production, consumption and trade.


Application Form

Applications must be submitted by July 26, 2019.

Experience in coding *
Research Interest Area
Choose one or more topics you're interested in *
Essay Question Submission (300-500 words) *
In a 300-500 word essay, describe: A. Why do you want to attend the Open Data STEAM Summer Camp? B. How have you used data in the past to help make decisions? C. What do you know about the US Department of Agriculture?
Files must be less than 50 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg png txt rtf html odf pdf doc docx ppt pptx xls xlsx xml.


The STEAM Summer Camp Experience

Local high school students learned how to analyze and collect data during a two-week camp held at GW. (Logan Werlinger/ GW Today

Data Science Camp for High School Students Focuses on Agriculture

Local students spent two weeks learning how to collect and analyze open source data related to farming, forestry and nutrition.