Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
Feb 17–20, 2015 • San Jose, CA

Pro Bono Data Science in Action - Helping Teens in Crisis

Noelle Saldana (Heroku)
2:40pm–3:00pm Thursday, 02/19/2015
Data Science
Location: LL20 A
Average rating: ****.
(4.33, 3 ratings)

What happens when you pair an expert data science practitioner with a treasure trove of data from a fast-growing organization helping teens in crisis?

Crisis Text Line (CTL) is a free, 24/7 text line available nationwide that connects teens in crisis to specialists, and have handled over 3 million messages representing 67,000 conversations. CTL partnered with DataKind, a nonprofit tackling the world’s toughest challenges through data science, and Pivotal for Good, Pivotal’s philanthropic data science initiative. The resulting pro bono partnership analyzed structured data and text data collected by CTL to create an “intelligent switchboard” to route teens with identified issues more quickly to a counselor specializing in that issue.

In this session, Noelle Sio, Principal Data Scientist at Pivotal, and Bob Filbin, Chief Data Scientist at Crisis Text Line, discuss the project outcomes and share tips for successful pro bono data science projects. Think you can’t change the world in a few hours after work? Attend this session to learn how powerful the collaboration between nonprofits and data scientists can be.

About DataKind

  • DataKind tackles the world’s biggest problems through data science
  • DataKind brings together leading data scientists with high impact social organizations through a comprehensive, collaborative approach that leads to shared insights, greater understanding, and positive action through data in the service of humanity.
    About Crisis Text Line
  • Crisis Text Line (CTL) is a free, 24/7 text line available nationwide that connects teens in crisis to specialists.
  • Since their launch, they have handled over 3 million messages, representing 67,000 conversations.
    About Pivotal for Good
  • Pivotal for Good lets Pivotal’s high-performing Data Science team donate time to organizations and problems where data analytics can deliver a lasting impact.
  • Much like an academic internship, select Pivotal data scientists identify a project and benefiting organization, and then devote three months of volunteer data science time to work with the selected organization.
    About the collaboration
  • This collaboration is a pro bono engagement to analyze structured data and the text data collected by CTL with the goal of creating an “intelligent switchboard” to route teens with identified issues more quickly to a counselor specializing in that issue.
    The possibilities of pro bono work from data science experts
  • Most nonprofits don’t have access to the data science resources many companies take for granted.
  • Data scientists would love to use their skills to give back, but they often don’t how to get started.
  • Bringing these two groups together in a structured collaboration can be an effective way to unleash powerful data science resources into a sector that doesn’t typically have funding for this kind of work.
Photo of Noelle Saldana

Noelle Saldana

Heroku

Noelle is currently the Director of Product Analytics and Data Science at Heroku (Salesforce), where she is driving how Heroku captures, analyzes, and leverages data throughout the organization including Product, Marketing, and Design. She was previously a leader for Pivotal’s Data Science team, where she worked with numerous enterprise and startup companies planning and executing their analytics initiatives.

She is passionate about the power of Math and making it more accessible; she enjoys collaborating with other disciplines and being creative about using analytics, doing pro bono Data Science work through DataKind, and doing her part to encourage students in underrepresented groups to pursue STEM careers.

Noelle holds an A.B. From Washington University in St. Louis in Applied Mathematics and Physical Anthropology and a M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Cal Poly Pomona.