2021 Challenge Winners

Winning entries also available on the University of Arizona Research Data Repository

Tintin Nguyen, First place, Undergraduate student: "The Probability of Coin Toss"

The Law of Large Numbers and the Central Limit Theorem are two of the most fundamental and elegant theorems in Probability Theory. However, these concepts are impractical to demonstrate because they require an immense number of trials to observe the long-term behaviors of random variables. Therefore, this case study runs computer simulations on coin tossing as an intuitive example to explain these statistical concepts. The visualizations provide insights into the theorems without mathematically rigorous proofs, making them accessible for introductory statistics learners.

Heidi Steiner, First Place, Graduate/professional student: "Trends in Affirmative Asylum Grantees in the United States"

Every year people come to the United States (US) seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will due to their race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the US or arriving at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee”. This visualization aims to understand population movement during the last 20 years. I use aggregated refugee and asylee data from the Department of Homeland Security. I show patterns in population movement vary over time based on political failures preceding movement.

Source code

Melanie Gin, Second Place, Undergraduate student: "Top Reason Books Were Challenged By Age Group Between 2010-2019"

The data pertains to children through young-adult books challenged in United States libraries and schools from 2010-2019—separated as “children” (2-10), “middle” (11-13), and “young-adult” (14-17). The graph provides some information about the reason(s) books are challenged. This data was obtained and modified from the Illinois Library Association (ILA), American Library Association (ALA), and the University of Toledo. Adult books taught in classes, such as The Great Gatsby, Beloved, etc., are not included. “Unsuitable for age group” acts as “other” category for “appropriate for older ages,” “dark themes,” “occult,” or reason not provided.

Elaine Rhee, Second Place, Graduate/professional student: "Golden State Warriors Passing Analysis (2020-2021)"

The graph presents the passing analysis of the Golden State Warriors (2020-2021). The data is from the official NBA website. Graph interpretation: The greater the size of the dots, the more a player interacted with the other players. The thicker the line, the more score was earned from the two players’ passes. Features of the graph: - Click on a player to highlight the player’s part of the graph. - Hover on the dots to see the list of players that a player interacted with. - Move around the dots wherever you want to customize the graph. - Zoom in or out.

Ashwin Raj, Third Place, Undergraduate student: "Clustering NBA Players Based on Offensive and Defense Skillset"

This project uses 2019 NBA Player data from basketball-reference to cluster NBA players into roles based on their offensive and defensive skillsets. Using 3-pointers made as the offensive metric and steals as the defensive metric, and then standardizing these metrics per 36 minutes, players were clustered as Low-Impact, Bench Defense, Bench Offense, Shooters, Two-Way, and Elite. Teams can use this data about their players to determine rotations, offensive & defensive strategy, and even potential trades. The cluster analysis was done using K-Means with k=6, and the interactive plot was created using GGPlot and Plotly.

Interactive graph

Source code

Kathryn Busby, Third Place, Graduate/professional student: "The Birds and the Bees: Can a plant prevent woodpecker predation on a native bee?"

Complex conditions drive organisms’ strategies, including interactions with antagonists. We examined a predator-prey interaction between native bees and their woodpecker predators that may be altered by the bees’ nest plant. In southeastern Arizona, carpenter bees build nests inside dried inflorescence stalks of plants such as sotol. Woodpeckers prey upon carpenter bee larvae inside these stalks, but sotol’s dense rosette of barbed leaves may protect larvae. We hypothesized that nests surrounded by leaves would be less accessible to woodpeckers, increasing predation on higher nests. This could drive nest placement. To test this hypothesis, we recorded locations of nests, rosettes, and predation.

Torin Hodge, Honorable Mention, Undergraduate student: "Unregulated Industrial Well Drilling in Rural Southeast Arizona"

The purpose of this visualization is to demonstrate the threat of unregulated groundwater pumping in rural Arizona. The data comes from publicly available well registry data provided by azwater.gov. My Grandmother has lived in the area near the sample data for thirty years and has growing concerns about her well running dry due to competition from neighboring cattle-feed growing operations, many of which are from out of state.

Source code

Christina Scarpitti, Honorable Mention, Graduate/professional student: "Resilient Energy: Community-Scale Microgrid Siting on the Island of Puerto Rico"

In the wake of hurricane Maria, after suffering the longest power outage in US history, the Governor of Puerto Rico endorsed a plan to transition the island to 100% renewable energy by 2050 - making Puerto Rico a unique testing ground for building back smarter and more resilient through community-scale solar microgrids. This report evaluates possible sites for piloting community-scale solar microgrid projects in Puerto Rico. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data is used to select a study area based on social and environmental vulnerability. A multi-criteria evaluation of buildings within the study area reveals various possible configurations for providing renewable, resilient energy to the service community.

2020 Challenge Winners

Winning entries also available on the University of Arizona Research Data Repository

Reagen Leimbach, First place, Undergraduate student: "Stacking of Galaxy Spectra"

Kelsey Gonzalez, First place, Graduate/professional student: "How has human mobility changed under the COVID-19 Pandemic?"

Jazmyn Winzer, Second place, Undergraduate student: "Botanical Gardens as Butterfly Hotspots in Urban Landscapes"

Miranda Rintoul, Second place, Graduate/professional student: "The Price of Fertility"

Rob Lucha, Third place, Undergraduate student: "Wage & Value"

Stephanie Martin, Third place, Graduate/professional student: "Vesuvius Past and Present: Modern emergency planning compared to ancient hazards"