NYC Open Data Week at Berkeley College Reveals New Ways to Use Data for Impact and Finding Solutions

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New York, NY, March 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Students, faculty and New York residents learned about how they can access and use available data to get answers to their questions, solve problems and create visualizations that can support decision-making.  During the session Data for Good Tableau Viz Showcase, a discussion leveraging data for social impact held at Berkeley College on March 6, 2019, Faraz Ahmed, Data Scientist, New York City Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, gave the opening remarks, and Tanu Javeri, Senior Global SEO Strategist for IBM, delivered the keynote address. Darshan Desai, PhD, Management, Berkeley College Larry L. Luing School of Business® organized the program at Berkeley College in Midtown Manhattan as part of Open Data Week, organized and produced by the New York City Open Data Program and BetaNYC. The weeklong observance celebrates New York City’s Open Data Law and raises awareness of the City’s free data resource. 

“Data visualization is now recognized as a business skill,” Dr. Desai said. “This skill is not just earmarked for data scientists, but for all disciplines dealing with the challenge of making sense of a wide variety of data.” 

Mr. Ahmed provided a brief demonstration about how to use the NYC Open Data portal, which includes more than 2,300 datasets available free to all. New Yorkers can access a tremendous range of data that can be as specific as finding out the names of licensed dogs or the average response time for fixing potholes in a certain neighborhood, he said. 

“I like to think of open data as a civic tool anyone can engage with. Open data enables the understanding of how your government works, and this kind of data-driven civics education has the potential to improve our democracy,” Mr. Ahmed said.

“Having the data is not enough,” Ms. Javeri added. “What can we conclude from it? It can be utilized, but it has to be effective.” 

She noted that so much data collection goes on now through our day-to-day actions, that it influences not only advertising, but also all of our decision-making. “A huge opportunity lies with data today,” Ms. Javeri said. “Everything has to do with making decisions.”  She explained that as the industry is maturing, there are different niches for employment related to business intelligence such as data mining, business analytics with specializations, data analysts, data scientists, text mining and AI for advanced personalized marketing. According to LinkedIn, she said, data scientist is the No. 1 most promising job, with a 56 percent increase over last year. 

Ms. Javeri acknowledged that while there are challenges with managing data – including its accuracy, where it is stored, and so forth – data drives business. “Data today is like what oil used to be in terms of driving business decisions,” she said. 

Four Berkeley College students and one alumna presented examples about how their projects answered questions and used data to address civic issues and business opportunities.

Berkeley College alumna Kallie McGrath of Brooklyn, NY, Student Success Advocate, AmeriCorps VISTA, New York Cares, presented a Tableau visualization that she and her classmates collaboratively developed. They created a Business 4 Peace index and visualized it for Business for Peace Foundation to help international organizations realize the risk factors and opportunities in more than 140 countries throughout the world.

Berkeley College student Daniyel Bingham of Manhattan, NY, Procurement Manager at MBNY Media, Inc., chose to create an interactive Poll Locator map, using free NYC Open Data and Tableau. With the Poll Locator map, a New York City resident could use their handheld phone to locate specific polling places, along with all relevant information about how to find them, including street names, handicapped entrances, and so forth. Mr. Bingham wanted to make a difference when it comes to voting.

Jenny Tomasgard of Hornindal, Norway, will graduate from Berkeley College this semester with a BBA in Fashion Merchandising and Management. She is a Sourcing and Production Intern at iApparel NY, and recently accepted an offer for a full-time position to continue working there. Ms. Tomasgard was a student-collaborator on the project Breaking Barriers for Sustainable Growth in Dr. Desai’s class, and shared in the presentation of this project at an international conference on sustainable development, held at Columbia University on September 26-28, 2018.

“You may feel like you want to give up (when the process is repetitive) … but when you get it, it is so rewarding, you want to keep going,” Ms. Tomasgard said. The work provides greater understanding about why some countries that have great resources available do not achieve economic growth, and sheds light on where business opportunities exist.

Berkeley College student Danielle Komondorea of New Windsor, NY, used NYC Open Data to determine what types of filming in New York City require licenses and where filming could take place. She learned that under some circumstances, for example, if you are a student or using a hand-held device, no permit is required. In certain areas, various permits are required, and one has to pay, but the license provides help with safety on the street, parking facilities, and other related services.

Berkeley College student Sofia Rios of Manhattan, NY, chose to work on a project titled “The Value of Happiness.”  She wanted to see the comparison of the happiest countries with other factors such as gross domestic product per capita. The United States ranked No. 14 out of the top 20 countries, but by 2020, she learned that depression would be the most common illness. Ms. Rios believes that if you have a happy environment for employees, that company will be more profitable.  “How you use the data defines the future,” she said.

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,000 students – including more than 350 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ. 

Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are four campuses – Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For six consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is

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Clockwise from top left: Professor Darshan Desai, PhD, Management, Berkeley College Larry L. Luing School of Business®; Faraz Ahmed, Data Scientist, NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, and opening remarks presenter; Tanu Javeri, Senior Global SEO Strategist for IBM, and keynote speaker; Berkeley College students Daniyel Bingham, Jenny Tomasgard, Danielle Komondorea and Sofia Rios; and Berkeley College alumna Kallie McGrath.  

Students, faculty and New York residents learned about how they can access and use available data to get answers to their questions, solve problems and increase business growth during the session, Data for Good Tableau Viz Showcase, a discussion leveraging data for social impact held at Berkeley College on March 6, 2019, during NYC Open Data Week.

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