May 18, 2018

Fellowship Helps I School Students Harness ‘Data for Good’

By University Development and Alumni Relations

To many, the term “data science” suggests businesses using our data to make more money, like when Amazon recommends items to add to your cart. But big data can do more than fuel bigger profits.

Graduate student Marcus DeMaster is exploring how data science can enhance the fields of healthcare and biological sciences. Based in Portland and enrolled in the School of Information’s Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) online program, he is becoming more data-savvy — and receiving a boost from a generous Cal alumnus.

“I want to encourage students to take their I School education and big data knowledge and do something that benefits us all in the long run,”
— Jack Larson

DeMaster earned the Jack Larson “Data for Good” Fellowship, created to help MIDS students use data science to improve human life or benefit society. Six students will receive the fellowship over two years.

“I want to encourage students to take their I School education and big data knowledge and do something that benefits us all in the long run,” says Larson ’73, who studied business at Cal before launching a successful career in on-site and online post-secondary education.

The Larson fellowship doesn’t just provide financial support — it’s a vote of confidence in the power of big data to enact big change. “The fellowship validated my research on using Twitter to reach out to those who believe flu shots are unsafe or ineffective,” says DeMaster, who also works as a healthcare analyst. “It encouraged me to pursue that direction in other MIDS projects and at my job.”

Originally published in The Promise of Berkeley, May 2018, by University Development and Alumni Relations.

Last updated:

July 17, 2018