SoReMo Fellow Explores Diversity in Admissions
The student-centered, socially responsible research initiative allowed for an exploration in algorithm bias and to ask tough questionsAlisha Khan (CS 3rd Year)
Alisha Khan says her first interaction with data science and statistics research came through the Socially Responsible Modeling, Computation, and Design (SoReMo) initiative, a semester-long fellowship that allowed her to explore bias in algorithms.
“I never considered doing research before, but I got an email from one of my professors saying I should look into this opportunity,” Alisha says. “Social tech and ethics are big interests of mine, and the SoReMo initiative aligned with what I've always wanted to explore.”
Alisha examined data that is used to admit applicants to Illinois Institute of Technology. She says she discovered how to use her creativity and to ask difficult questions about the data available to her, allowing her to use statistical methods to find answers.
Alisha worked with Mike Gosz, vice president for enrollment and senior vice provost, to look at Illinois Tech undergraduate admissions data and performance metrics of student success through the lens of diversity. Her data analysis suggests that there is room for improvement in the algorithms used to calculate metrics for admissions and that changes can result in an increase in student diversity.
“SoReMo is a paid opportunity that allows you to explore topics you are passionate about and gives you a support system of faculty to help you out,” she says. “This experience is a great addition to a résumé, and it also is a great introduction to the importance of mathematics in data analytics.”