Apply by 12/4 to be Part of This Year’s Data for Public Good Cohort

Call for Participation

The Data for Public Good Project in partnership with the
COVID Tracking Project

Applications due by 5:00 PM EST on Friday, December 4, 2020.

For the third year, GC Digital Initiatives and the Mina Rees Library are accepting applications from Graduate Center students who have achieved an introductory fluency with the Python programming language to participate in a collaborative project designed to provide experience working with public-facing data and programming to produce a collaborative project for the public good.

This year we are partnering with The COVID Tracking Project (, a mostly volunteer organization of about 300 weekly active members supported by The Atlantic and dedicated to collecting and publishing the data required to understand the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Organizations that have used CTP’s data include: The Atlantic, The New York Times, CBS News, NPR, ProPublica, POLITICO, and more.

“Data for Public Good” fellows will begin working as volunteers for the COVID Tracking Project (CTP), supporting the project’s data entry work. Working with either the “Testing and Outcomes” or “Racial Data Tracker” team on data entry, fellows’ participation and involvement could expand based on their commitment, skills, and the CTP’s needs. In the second half of the spring semester, interested fellows will have an opportunity to work with project advisors from The Graduate Center to develop a separate collaborative project using the COVID Tracking Project dataset. (The CTP will not be supporting this part of the work.)

Why participate?

Students will benefit from hands-on experience working with an important, highly-visible, and public interest project, learning how teams collaborate to solve open-ended data problems. Through participation, fellows will become familiar with project management, project design, and collaborative coding. By the end of the semester, fellows will present their work to the GC community during the GC Digital Showcase. Fellows will receive a $250 financial aid award in Spring 2021.

What do I need to know?

Skills required for participation include: familiarity with Google sheets and basic Python programming, as some of CTP’s data ingestion tools are written in Python. The Data for Public Good project has the opportunity to grow based on the talents and skills fellows have to share. Additional desired skills may include but are not limited to: JavaScript, Tableau, ArcGIS or QGIS, social media, science communication, and/or R.

What is the commitment?

Fellows will be expected to: attend all scheduled meetings, set and meet weekly group and individual goals, and contribute productively to the COVID Tracking Project’s community of volunteers through active participation and engagement.

Fellows will be notified of their selection by December 12th and will be asked to participate in a 90- minute meeting and training session during the week of December 14th. We will begin data entry hours in the first week of January during the winter break. Please be aware of this when you apply, as we will be working together throughout January. You do not need to be located in NYC to participate.

Who is eligible? 

Applicants should be current Graduate Center students in good standing. To apply, complete the online application form, including the submission of a resume or c.v. It is preferable, though not required, that fellows be located inside the United States while working with CTP data entry, as some data cannot be accessed from outside the United States.

How do I apply?

Eligible GC students should complete the online application form by Friday, December 4, 2020 at 5:00 PM.

Questions about the application and program should be directed to Lisa Rhody, Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives ( or Stephen Zweibel, Digital Scholarship Librarian (

About the Author

Stephen Zweibel is Digital Scholarship Librarian at The Graduate Center.