Unleashing the Power of Mentoring: Igniting a Passion for Data Science in Non-Tech Universities

mentoring for data science

In today’s data-driven world, Data Science has emerged as a game-changer, transforming industries and revolutionizing the way we analyze information. While many assume a strong foundation in technology-related fields is necessary, the truth is that an interest in Data Science can be nurtured and cultivated in unexpected places, such as non-tech universities. This blog post explores how mentoring can empower students to excel in Data Science, even in an environment that traditionally does not focus on technology.


The Power of Mentoring

Mentoring serves as a catalyst for transforming theoretical knowledge into practical skills. By connecting students with experienced professionals in statistics and data science, mentoring offers a personalized learning experience tailored to individual needs. Mentors provide valuable insights, share real-world challenges, and offer guidance on acquiring relevant skills and knowledge, keeping students updated with the latest trends and advancements in data science.


As a passionate mentor in the field of data science, I am dedicated to empowering students and professionals alike to excel in this transformative field, even in non-tech universities. I believe that with the right guidance and support, anyone can develop a passion for data science and leverage its power to drive innovation and change. If you’re interested in exploring the world of data science or seeking guidance in this field, feel free to reach out to me using the contact form on my website: Contact Form. You can also find me on MentorCruise and Apziva. I’m here to help you unleash the potential of data science and ignite your passion for this exciting field.


Meet Claudiu


Let’s meet Claudiu, a second-year undergraduate student at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences at the University of Groningen. With a passion for urban planning, mobility, and infrastructure design, Claudiu aspires to make a positive impact on the cities of tomorrow. Seeking guidance and mentorship, Claudiu approached me, and through our mentoring sessions, we explored various topics that fueled his journey towards becoming a skilled urban planner.


Impressed by his dedication and the insights he gained through our collaboration, I have invited Claudiu to share his experience by guest writing an article for thebabydatascientist.com. In his upcoming article, he will delve into the intersection of data science and urban planning, providing valuable perspectives and real-world applications. Stay tuned for Claudiu’s insightful contribution!


Unlocking the Power of Statistics in Urban Planning

We recognized the significance of statistics in urban planning and delved into the practical applications of statistical analysis and data interpretation. From understanding population trends and mobility patterns to evaluating the impact of infrastructure projects, Claudiu grasped how statistics forms the backbone of evidence-based decision-making. Through case studies and hands-on exercises, we explored how statistical tools and techniques can unravel valuable insights, enabling Claudiu to propose effective and sustainable urban interventions.

“Compared to the natural wonders and cultural landscapes that geographers love to explore, statistics study may seem like an unanticipated detour and a foreign language. However, I think the quantitative part of our work is extremely important because we have to collect and analyze vast amounts of data, ranging from demographics to transportation flow indicators. It provides us with the tools, insights, and evidence needed for informed decision-making.”


The Toolkit

During my studies, I have been enrolled in a Statistics course, based on SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). The program applies and interprets a variety of descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. It covers levels of measurement, (spatial) sampling, tables and figures, (spatial) measures of centrality and dispersion, central limit theorem, z score, z test, t test and non-parametric alternatives, like the binomial test and difference of proportion test. Also, the course covers the principles of research data management.

Sneak Peek into Statistics in Urban Planning

One fascinating aspect of statistics is examining skewness in urban planning. Skewness refers to the asymmetrical distribution of a variable within a city. In the case of commuting distances, analyzing the skewness can offer valuable insights into urban development.

For instance, if the distribution of commuting distances is positively skewed, indicating a longer tail towards longer distances, it suggests potential issues related to urban sprawl or inadequate infrastructure. Longer commutes contribute to increased traffic congestion, productivity losses, and environmental impact. Conversely, if the distribution is negatively skewed, indicating a longer tail towards shorter distances, it suggests advantages such as walkability, cycling, and use of public transportation, fostering a sense of community.


Statistics plays a crucial role in urban planning, providing insights into various aspects of city development and infrastructure. One simple example where statistics can help in urban planning is by analyzing the distribution of commuting distances of residents within a city. Let’s explore how statistical analysis of this data can offer valuable insights into urban development.


By computing the average commuting distance, we can obtain a central tendency measure that represents the typical distance residents travel to work. This information alone can provide a baseline understanding of the city’s transportation dynamics. However, digging deeper into the distribution’s skewness can reveal additional insights.


If the distribution of commuting distances is positively skewed, it indicates that there is a longer tail towards longer commuting distances. This means that a smaller number of people commute over shorter distances, while a significant portion of the population travels longer distances to reach their workplaces. This skewness suggests that the city might be facing issues related to urban sprawl or inadequate infrastructure.


In the case of urban sprawl, the positive skewness can be attributed to the expansion of residential areas away from job centers, leading to longer commutes. This can have several implications for urban planning. Firstly, longer commuting distances contribute to increased traffic congestion, as more vehicles are on the road for extended periods. This can lead to productivity losses, increased fuel consumption, and higher levels of air pollution, impacting both the environment and public health. Secondly, longer commutes may result in decreased quality of life for residents, as they spend more time traveling and less time engaging in leisure or community activities.


On the other hand, if the distribution of commuting distances is negatively skewed, it suggests a longer tail toward shorter commuting distances. This indicates that a significant number of residents have easy access to jobs within close proximity, or there is a concentration of job opportunities in the city center. A compact city with shorter commuting distances can have several advantages. It promotes walkability, cycling, and the use of public transportation, reducing reliance on private vehicles and alleviating traffic congestion. It can also foster a sense of community, as people have more opportunities for interaction and engagement within their neighborhoods.


By analyzing the skewness of the distribution of commuting distances, urban planners can gain valuable insights into the city’s transportation patterns and identify potential areas for improvement. This information can guide infrastructure development decisions, such as the placement of transportation hubs, the design of road networks, or the allocation of resources for public transportation. Additionally, it can inform urban policies aimed at reducing commuting distances, promoting mixed-use development, and fostering sustainable and inclusive urban environments.


In conclusion, statistics provide a powerful lens through which urban planners can analyze the distribution of commuting distances within a city. By considering measures of central tendency and investigating skewness, planners can gain valuable insights into urban sprawl, transportation dynamics, and potential issues related to traffic congestion, air pollution, or the compactness of the city. Armed with these insights, urban planners can make informed decisions to create more efficient, sustainable, and livable cities.

Fun fact: Claudiu inspired me to create this stats inspired design

Using the T-Test: A Case Study

In one of my recent projects, I embarked on analyzing the effectiveness of a bike-sharing company’s efforts to reduce the number of car trips within our city. To assess this, I collected data on the average number of car trips taken per day before and after the implementation of the bike-sharing program. It’s worth noting that I categorized the data into two groups: individuals with access to the bike-sharing service (Group A) and those without access (Group B).


My aim was to investigate whether there was a significant difference in the average number of car trips between Group A and Group B. To tackle this question, I turned to the trusty T-test, a statistical tool that can compare means and determine if the observed differences are statistically significant.


After conducting the T-test and analyzing the results, I discovered that there was no statistically significant difference in the means of the average number of car trips between Group A and Group B. This led me to the conclusion that, unfortunately, the bike-sharing program did not achieve its intended goal of reducing car trips within our city.

While these findings were not what I had hoped for, they provide important insights for further analysis and future urban planning initiatives. It’s crucial to consider various factors that may have influenced these results. Factors such as sample size, duration of the program, program implementation, and external influences should be taken into account when interpreting the outcomes.


Although the T-test did not reveal a significant difference in car trip averages between the two groups, it serves as a foundation for deeper exploration and evaluation of alternative strategies. By examining the data and considering additional variables that could influence transportation behavior, such as public transportation accessibility, parking policies, or integration with other modes of transport, we can develop more effective urban planning solutions.


The bike-sharing project, while not achieving its intended outcome, provides valuable insights and lessons for future initiatives. As an urban planner, it is essential for me to embrace statistical analysis tools like the T-test to evaluate the impact of interventions and make informed decisions to shape a more sustainable and efficient city.


In conclusion, my journey as an urban planner has shown me the profound impact of data science and statistics on our work field. Through statistical analysis, we gain the ability to explore and understand complex urban patterns, make informed decisions, create predictive models, evaluate interventions, and collaborate across disciplines. Even in a non-tech university setting, I have found immense satisfaction in learning and applying these skills.


Collaborating with Cristina, it became evident that our disciplines are not as different as they may seem. We share a common goal of leveraging data to drive positive change in our respective fields. As an urban planner, my focus lies in the data preparation stage, ensuring that the information I work with is accurate and reliable. However, I am excited to continue expanding my skill set in data science and statistics, exploring new techniques and approaches that will enhance my work as an urban planner.

I hope that sharing insights from my study has shed light on the importance of statistical analysis in urban planning and how it can contribute to creating more sustainable and vibrant cities. If you have any further questions or would like to connect with me, you can find me on Instagram (@klassen_3) or reach out via email.

In closing, I encourage all students and professionals in any field to embrace the power of data science and statistics. These tools have the potential to revolutionize the way we understand and shape our world. So, let’s embark on this journey together, leveraging data-driven insights to create a better future for our cities and communities.


To summarize, data science and statistics have far-reaching implications for non-tech universities. Mentoring plays a vital role in bridging the gap and igniting a passion for data science in unexpected places. By connecting students with experienced professionals, mentoring fosters a personalized learning experience that equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in data-driven fields. Whether it’s urban planning, sociology, or environmental studies, the power of statistics can unlock a wealth of opportunities for students to make a meaningful impact in their chosen fields.


Let’s embrace the power of mentoring and statistics, enabling students in non-tech universities to leverage data science as a force for change and innovation.


This is a personal blog. My opinion on what I share with you is that “All models are wrong, but some are useful”. Improve the accuracy of any model I present and make it useful!

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Cristina Gurguta

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Welcome to www.thebabydatascientist.com! I’m Cristina, a Senior Machine Learning Operations Lead and a proud mom of two amazing daughters. Here, we help nurture your data science career and offer insane data-driven designs for shopping. Join us on this exciting journey of balancing work and family in a data-driven world!

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