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Big Data Mini-Symposium

October 31, 2019 @ 10:30 AM12:00 PM EDT

Big Data Mini Symposium

Part of Big Data Month at GVSU

Big Data Month at Grand Valley State University provides a forum for the humanities, research, and industry to exchange ideas around data and data science.

As part of this annual event, we invite you to join us at the Johnson Center for four presentations from experts who will share their insights in academic research, digital humanities, and industry open-source trends. See topics below.


  • Dr. Imran Mazid, Grand Valley State University
  • Adriana Paz, Johnson Center for Philanthropy
  • Dr. Jamie DeLeeuw, Johnson Center for Philanthropy
  • Matt Schultz, Educopia Institute

Cost: Free!
Water, coffee, and tea will be provided.

Register now

Presentation Topics:

Big Data and Politics

Big data transformed the practices of political communication. Political campaigns are more focused on harnessing the power of big data to develop strategic decisions. The presentation focuses on the interconnections between political listening, data-driven decisions, scale, and election results. The current research of big data and politics will be explored. The discussion will delve into the analytic framework for social media-centric opinion mining, sentiment analysis, and electoral forecasts.
Presented by: Dr. Imran Mazid, Assistant Professor in the School of Communications at GVSU

Machines Learn But Don’t Understand: Record Matching with Machine Learning

Machine Learning is a fantastic technology with powerful uses for single, specific tasks, but it is not general-purpose artificial intelligence. Computers can learn to do something but still don’t understand it. This presentation will provide an overview of record-matching processes optimized through machine learning algorithms, highlighting the need of proper human intervention and discernment for adequate learning. Machine learning is subject to the garbage-in-garbage-out concept and it is also affected by human bias.
Presented by: Adriana Paz, Senior Database Administrator at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy

Factory Farming and Its Impact on Water Pollution and Climate Change

Factory farming is a primary contributor of human-induced climate change and contaminates our water supply, undermining public health. What is factory farming? How is big data used to determine its impact? What air, water, and animal welfare regulations apply to this practice? This presentation will provide a brief overview of these questions, and suggestions for action.
Presented by: Dr. Jamie DeLeeuw, Research Manager at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy

Toward an Indigenous Data Activism

This presentation will begin to scratch the surface and put forward the contours for developing a social justice and activist strategy for engaging research and analysis of data that has inherent impacts on Native American and other indigenous communities.
Presented by: Matt Schultz, Director of Curation and Digital Preservation at the Educopia Institute

Photo: Dr. Imran Mazid
Imran Mazid, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University. His research and teaching agenda focus on the impact of digital technologies and applied data analytics on integrated strategic communications. He conducts theory-driven research that has applied and transformative implications. Recent research projects employed computational social science approaches to examine digital audience behavior. More specifically, he investigated the use of social media analytics for data mining, data visualization, social network analysis, sentiment analysis, and campaign design. His research goal is to translate data-driven consumer insights into business intelligence to formulate strategic decisions.
Photo: Adriana Paz
Adriana Paz, M.S. C.I.S. is the senior database administrator at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy. She is responsible for database development and administration as well as oversight of data system security. Paz is a member of both the Big Data Advisory Council and the Latino/a Faculty and Staff Association at GVSU. She is also an affiliated research faculty member of the GVSU College of Engineering & Computing. Learn more about Adriana.
Photo: Jamie DeLeeuw, Ph.D.
Jamie DeLeeuw, Ph.D. is a research manager for the Johnson Center for Philanthropy. Jamie designs, implements, and manages community-based research projects, including those centered on collective impact initiatives that aim to highlight and reduce racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic disparities. Dr. DeLeeuw has conducted research on effective institutional practices in higher education, the role of environment and technology in teaching, child behavior problems, religious ideology, and attitudes towards animals. Learn more about Jamie.
Photo: Matt Schultz
Matt Schultz is the Director of Curation and Digital Preservation at the Educopia Institute, and former Curation and Digital Preservation Librarian at GVSU Libraries. Though raised in a settler background, Schultz is a proud citizen of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, one of Michigan’s 12 federally recognized tribes. Schultz currently serves on the GVSU Native American Advisory Council, the Grand Rapids Cultural Relations Commission, the Norton Mounds Project, and the Ottawa County Parks Greenway Initiative. He is actively reconnecting with his Native heritage and working with his many mentors from the state’s tribal communities and their allies to educate himself and advance tribal sovereignty.


October 31, 2019
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
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Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University


Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
201 Front Ave SW, Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49504 United States
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