Current Projects

Sustainable Farming Association-

The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA) is a nonprofit organization that supports the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through farmer-to-farmer networking, innovation, demonstration, and education. 

  • Project 1-Survey Data Analysis

SFA wants to use post-event surveys to assess the effectiveness of their programs. These programs are aimed at educating the audience about sustainable farming as well as providing an opportunity for the attendants to network. Particularly, SFA has collected post-event survey from their recent on-farm soil health events. The analysis will help SFA design more accessible and attractive programs. In addition to survey data analysis, SFA is looking for suggestions to improve the survey design and to collect the post-event feedbacks more efficiently for their Annual Conference in Feb. 2017 and the Midwest Soil Health Summit. Since SFA also uses pre-event surveys to gauge the interest of the attendants, analysis for these survey data could be incorporated into the project as well.

The deadline is flexible yet preferred to be the end of December of 2016.

Zhuozhi(Georgia) Huang
Enoch Kan

  • Project 2

SFA regularly sends out email newsletters and tracks the recipients’ reaction towards the newsletters. For example, did the recipient click through all the links in a newsletter or just some of them. SFA wishes to learn the recipients’ preference and then tailor the newsletters accordingly. Additionally, SFA hopes to find out if different reactions towards the newsletter are indicative of their propensity to make donations.

The deadline is flexible and negotiable.

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  • Project 3

SFA has been tracking their website traffic. They want to summarize the data and identify interesting patterns of their viewers’ digital footprint. Some questions to consider are: what kind of topics are the most popular among the viewers? What topics tend to be associated together by the viewers? This analysis will help SFA better understand the audience’s need and help SFA select topics and optimize the program of their events.

The deadline is flexible and negotiable.

Join this project!

HOME Line-

HOME Line provides free and low-cost legal, organizing, education, and advocacy services so that tenants throughout Minnesota can solve their own rental housing problems. We work to improve public and private policies relating to rental housing by involving affected tenants in the process.

  • Project 1-Analysis of Bedbug Calls

Bedbugs are a relatively new problem that tenants have begun to face over the last ten years. Bedbugs are insects which suck human blood and can infest a tenants house. Bedbugs cause problems that range from merely annoying to threatening a tenant’s health and well being. Minnesota law requires a landlord, in most cases, to exterminate the bedbugs at the landlord’s expense. However, this does not always happen. Many tenants call our hotline and ask for legal advice when their landlords do not exterminate bedbugs. When they call us, they go through an intake process where we ask them a number of questions which include a few questions about demographics such as their race or ethnicity. A preliminary look at our calls seems to indicate that tenants who are from a racial or ethnic minority receive a bill for bedbug treatments more often than white tenants.

HOME Line would like help preparing and designing a follow up survey for those tenants who called our hotline about bedbugs, and HOME Line would like help analyzing the results of the survey. (HOME Line would perform the survey unless STATCOM suggested differently.) Generally, we would like to know two things:

    1. Is a tenant able to get a landlord to exterminate bedbugs at the landlord’s expense?
    2. Are non-white tenants more likely to be billed for bedbug extermination by their landlord?

Tony Theis

  • Project 2-Observation Eviction Study

Evictions are court cases filed by landlords to force a tenant to move out of their residence. Approximately 20,000 evictions are filed each year in Minnesota and they can have serious short and long-term consequences for a tenant. They have been studied in a variety of different ways, but HOME Line is interested in performing a more detailed analysis on evictions in Minneapolis. Specifically, this would be a follow up study to a study recently done by the City of Minneapolis (helped by HOME Line) on Minneapolis Evictions. That study reviewed the court files of evictions for several specific factors. However, because it was a review of court documents only, it could not capture a variety of information including questions of age, race, gender, education. It also could not answer questions such as why did some tenants enter into a payment plan and other tenants agree to move out? why did some tenants follow through on the payment plan while other tenants did not? how many tenants had to move out even though it wasn’t reflected in the court paperwork or how many tenants ended up staying even though the court paperwork said they would leave? Direct court observation and follow up surveys are necessary to gather this information.

HOME Line would like help preparing and designing a method of direct court observation of evictions, along with a follow up survey, and HOME Line would like help analyzing the results of the court observations and survey. (HOME Line would perform the survey unless STATCOM suggested differently; however, it may be useful to the statistician to do some of the initial data collection and observation so that they understand the process themselves.) Generally, we would like to know:

    1. What happens during an eviction?
    2. What is the outcome of most evictions?
    3. What happens to both the landlord and the tenant after the eviction is over?
    4. What factors influence the outcome of an eviction?

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Universal Health Care Action Network of Minnesota-

Universal Health Care Action Network of Minnesota is looking for statisticians to work on an evaluation study over the performance of the Health Care Homes during the last five years. In the first phase, signed-up statisticians will work with the client through the study, assessing the results and models against the experiment design. The signed-up statisticians have the priority in choosing work on the following phases of the projects where intense modeling will be involved. Knowledge of random-effects GLS regression with clustered standard errors is preferred.

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Nice Ride MN  –

Nice Ride Minnesota is a non-profit organization that provides public bike sharing to the Twin Cities. Nice Ride’s mission is to enhance the quality of our urban life by providing a convenient, easy-to-use bike sharing program that will provide residents and visitors a healthy, fun, different way to get around town. There is two project that Nice Ride would like Statcom to help with:

  • Project 1 (Completed at Jun 2016)

An intercept survey of walk up users. Generally speaking all large scale bike sharing systems have two primary groups of users, regular members, about which a lot is known, and walk up users about which almost nothing is known. The bike share industry is interested in learning more about these walk up users. There have been a few attempts at an intercept survey, the most notable was done by Virginia Tech for the Washington D.C. Capital Bike share system.

Danning Zhang
Xinpeng Shen
Yi Liu

  • Project 2

A predictive tool for managing the supply of bike and docking points. We’ve been thinking for some time about developing a tool that would help manage the supply of bikes and dock points by trying to predict the likelihood that a station is going to become full or empty in the near future, say the next 30 minutes. Currently I’m not aware of any cities using such a tool but it think there’s some real potential to improve the efficiency of bike redistribution if we were to build something.

Yang Yang
Xin Yang