DataSENSE: The Next Generation of Scientists

Climate change is one of the most complex issues that humankind is facing. Discovering new ways to understand and measure its profound impact on our land, water, and air is needed now, and in the years and decades to come. It is urgent that next generation of data scientists and engineers are ready to tackle this complex issue.

Helping to fill this need is Michigan Tech's Data Science-Enabled Sensing of the Environment for Climate Adaptation (DataSENSE) program. The just-funded project aims to inspire, educate, and prepare a talented cadre of Ph.D. students who wish to become experts in data science-enabled sensing of the environment. Awarded in August 2023, the grant is sponsored by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship (NRT) grant. The goal of the program is to deliver an integrative, culturally-responsive, and equity minded training, research, and mentoring experiences for graduate students.

Read a National Science Foundation press release about the expansion of the NSF Research Traineeship program.

Leadership Building

DataSENSE students will have leadership opportunities through organizing aspects of the training activities, advancing professional skills in scientific communication, and career development training to grow skills in leadership, negotiation, team building, networking, and project management. Students will gain interdisciplinary knowledge through breadth, and also to gain a deeper knowledge specialization. 

Courses and Certificates

DataSENSE faculty will design new courses and graduate certificates to compliment existing curricula to so students can grow a comprehensive breadth of knowledge. Research and training experiences will be built around three knowledge pillars: sensors and sensing technologies; computational analysis; and application domain knowledge.

Integrated Training Elements

  • Interdisciplinary curricula
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Summer experiences
  • Research seminars
  • Research symposia
  • Career development training
  • Outreach opportunities
  • Near-peer mentoring

A Community of Scholarship and Expertise

DataSENSE training activities will foster a community of scholarship with supportive peers and faculty. Activities will align with evidence-based retention efforts, including cohort building, research seminar series, faculty training, implementation of culturally responsive pedagogy, and faculty and near-peer mentoring. DataSENSE faculty have expertise in data science, machine learning, computer vision, geological engineering, environmental engineering, sensing technology, atmospheric science, and forestry science. They teach and conduct research in six Ph.D. programs in three colleges: the College of Computing, the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (CFRES), and the College of Engineering (CoE).