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UCSD Data Science Student Provides Guidance for High School DataJam Team through West Hub Internship

By Henry Lemersal, San Diego Supercomputer Center Intern

Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and the West Big Data Innovation Hub, Minchan Kim, a UC San Diego undergraduate data science student, has become an invaluable member of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego’s DataJam team. Kim said that the DataJam program, led by Pittsburgh DataWorks and affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh, has allowed him to use his data science lessons from UC San Diego classes to provide valuable lessons via outreach to high school students on this year’s DataJam team.

Minchan Kim, a UC San Diego data science undergraduate student uses zoom to explain how to compare datasets to remote secondary students that are participating with this year’s SDSC’s DataJam team.

Credit: Minchan Kim, UC San Diego

“We are ecstatic about the sessions that Minchan has been sharing with our 2023 DataJam team, which consists of students from the Pala Band of Mission Indians Learning Center and the Torrey Pines High School,” said Kimberly Mann Bruch, DataJam mentor and science writer at SDSC. “The students came up with the idea of comparing datasets of coastal bluebirds with inland bluebirds and Minchan has been teaching the team how to filter datasets that we acquired via our partnerships with the San Diego Audubon Society and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.”

Specifically, Kim downloaded the needed information from, which graciously provided the DataJam team with open access to the datasets, and has been working with the students via Zoom to show them how to filter data using tools ranging from the simple Google Sheets method to the more complex use of the statistical analysis program known as R.

“I have always wished that I was exposed to this world when I was younger so I could start learning earlier, and with this program, I hope to introduce and help spread the world of data science as early as possible,” said Kim. “As it is my first year as a DataJam mentor, I am really excited to see how these skills may be represented in a multitude of projects varying different subjects – starting with the bluebird project.”

In addition to the DataJam’s statistical analysis work, the team is also deploying two bluebird boxes – one in inland San Diego County and another in coastal San Diego County.

Credit: Kimberly Mann Bruch, UC San Diego

So far, he has educated plenty of students about how to compare and employ datasets for practical purposes – including Amara Sanchez, DataJam team lead for students at the Pala Band of Mission Indians Learning Center.

“It’s been really fun to learn from Minchan about how to compare data as I really like math and this gives me a chance to see real-life uses,” said Sanchez, a seventh grader at Sullivan Middle School in Bonsall. “I am excited to see how our team does in the DataJam Grand Finale that will be taking place later this spring and thank Minchan for helping us with not only our data, but also preparing our poster for that.”

If you’re interested in watching the SDSC DataJam’s Grand Finale in late April via Zoom, contact Bruch at


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