Category: #DataNetSciK20

Network Science for All: Positioning High Need Youth for Success in Pursuing STEM Pathways

May 1st, 2020 in #DataNetSciK20, News

Boston University, in partnership with Sociedad Latina, will investigate the role that a middle school network science curriculum plays as both an input and outcome of science learning. This $1.5M 4-year project funded by the National Science Foundation will focus on development of skills to investigate real-world problems that have meaningful consequences for humankind across social, technical and scientific domains. This project will make use of publicly available data to allow students to be involved in project-based activities in and out of their classrooms that can have societal impact. The project team will leverage previously developed data-driven curriculum in the context of a network science lens, synthesize highly promising technical and STEM resources as well as in-school and out-of-school programs, and embed new education research advances on effective career development to evolve a construct that will best position high-need youth for future learning of science. The curriculum and career development resources will directly reach 600 principally Latinx students, 12 teachers, parents and other key stakeholders. For the purposes of this project, resources will be implemented in a range of after-school programs in Boston as well as in-school programs in Boston. Through a collective impact approach, the project will be replicable, scale to more schools throughout Massachusetts, inform related projects, and evolve to regional and national impact.

The project will create novel learning opportunities for middle school students to explore real-world project-based problems addressed through data analysis, data visualization and network modeling. This study will advance the field of interdisciplinary teaching and learning as well as strategies for supporting students and teachers through three interdependent strands: (1) Network Science for All workforce readiness curriculum modules, (2) applied evaluation metrics based on comparing students to peer groups through statewide data, and (3) sustainability and scalability embedded in the structure of the program. The project will be informed by several advisory boards aimed at leveraging the program in order to sustain and scale the effort. At Boston University, an internal advisory board will embed the project into the broad ecosystem of the university as part of a collective impact culture. A STEM advisory board will inform the science program. A formal independent external advisory board will guide the project’s efforts. Research will be conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, design-based research will be used to iteratively refine curriculum and programmatic interventions. In Phase 2, the research will examine the degree to which the program construct positions youth for success by examining the (1) varied acquisition of next generation STEM competencies for future workforce needs, (2) motivation and engagement of students and their support system, and (3) impact on shifting STEM-related career goals and pathways to achieving these goals. All materials will be available in electronic forms on a Boston University project website, will be licensed under open-source code and open content licenses, and will be freely distributed to teachers, curriculum developers, and researchers. Research findings will be widely disseminated through publications and conference proceedings.

Government & Community Affairs (GCA), Physics Department, Wheelock College: A New Model for BU Involvement in Workforce Development

GCA is the main contact with area residents and elected leaders, informing the public of community interest projects and efforts undertaken by the University. GCA has cultivated special, long-standing relationships with our local communities and strives to connect our community partners with the resources and expertise found across the University. Since 2017, GCA has been partnering with the after-school organization Sociedad Latina. We have provided Sociedad Latina with space on campus to run their six-week ‘Emprende’ entrepreneurship summer program, and organized campus tours for students. In addition, our office is proud to sponsor their annual gala and support their many events. GCA is always interested in fostering relationships that go deeper and that connect the academic mission of the University to our host communities. Together with colleagues from Physics Department in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, we are creating a new model which brings together academic and research expertise in STEM education, professional development and career pathways, to provide a unique opportunity to collaborate with Boston-area K-12 student programs to pursue programming and research that will have a lasting positive impact on student achievement and open up pathways for career development.

Modeling and Visualizing Science & Technology Developments

December 12th, 2018 in #DataNetSciK20, News

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a special issue co-edited by members of our team. For details, see the introductory/overview article Forecasting innovations in science, technology, and education. The research contained in this special issue, has implications for giving students an entry-point to understand and make meaning of science and technology (S&T) network models, data visualizations, and the role of forecasting.

Red Hat CO.LAB Retrospective & Digital Exhibit

May 18th, 2017 in Events, News

Boston University was honored to be a partner in the Red Hat CO.LAB event.

For more information, visit: Red Hat's CO.LAB and via #RedHatCOLAB on our social media channels.

BU Today “Close Up” of Project Co.Lab

April 24th, 2017 in #DataNetSciK20, Events, News

Curriculum Lead for Red Hat CO.LAB

April 18th, 2017 in Events, News


We are excited to be a partner in the Red Hat CO.LAB initiative, leading the curriculum for a three-day empowerment experience for 25 of Boston's middle school girls, April 19-21, 2017.

The five-year research partnership creating the Red Hat Collaboratory at BU's Hariri Institute for Computing available at Red Hat Collaboratory @ BU is aimed at advancing research into emerging and translational technologies, such as cloud computing and big data platforms. Our partnership is also committed to the broader impact of open source and collaboration. The CO.LAB experience is meant to empower participants to collectively take on the challenge of advancing diversity and inclusion in STEM.

From a mobile CO.LAB trailer stationed at Boston's City Hall Plaza, middle school students from after school programs Sociedad Latina and Boston After School & Beyond will engage in activities mentored by Boston University graduate and undergraduate students and Red Hat engineers and innovators:

Day 1 (April 19, 2017): We’ll give the girls an introduction to Red Hat and Boston University and talk about what it means to be a female in technology. The girls will engage in collaboration activities and learn to code Raspberry Pis to create digital cameras.

Day 2 (April 20, 2017): The girls will explore the city of Boston to photograph themes around Emily Dickinson's poem "Hope is the thing with feathers", helping them interpret and capture images that bring the poem to life.

Day 3 (April 21, 2017): We’ll collaborate to build a digital installation that curates their photographs into a cohesive story that represents the CO.LAB experience. The installation will be on display in Boston’s City Hall and at various locations at BU.

For more information, visit: Red Hat's CO.LAB and via #RedHatCOLAB on our social media channels.

Related post-event media:

BU, Red Hat & City of Boston Sponsor Co.Lab Workshop for Middle School Girls (via BU Hariri Institute)

Roundtable on K-12 STEM Education

March 21st, 2017 in #DataNetSciK20, Events

On May 4, 2017, we are hosting a roundtable on K-12 STEM education at Boston University.

The purpose is to establish a working group that will explore ways in which we can collectively propel BU’s K-12 STEM efforts to new heights, working together to integrate varied efforts into the broader impacts mission of BU, bridge K-12 outreach and undergraduate and graduate education, and perhaps most importantly inject momentum into K-12 STEM initiatives so that efforts can sustain, scale and achieve their full potential.

For more information, please visit us at BU K-20+ STEM Education Collaborative or contact

Data & Network Science Festival Registration

January 30th, 2016 in #DataNetSciK20, Events

When: Tuesday April 19, 2016 from 12 pm to 3 pm
Where: Boston University, Science Center, 590 Commonwealth Avenue

Data and network science aims to solve some of the most complex problems facing our society today. In this series of discussions and workshops for teens, families, educators, learn to see the world around you in a whole new way… through the lenses of data and networks! Data and networks are everywhere, embedded in our society, biology, technology infrastructures, and so much more. Data and networks are at the interface of science and art.

The workshop will cover the following:

Data & Network Science All Around Us

Discover the many ways in which data and network science is changing the ways we explore our and make meaning of our interconnected world. Through hands-on activities, learn about the spread of viruses and how people are connected and what that means for politics and organizations.

Design Your Own Networks

In these hands-on activities, you will build your own networks from the ground up and discover what makes some resilient and others susceptible to attacks.

Art & Visualization

Explore some of the principles of design in computational visualization of data and networks by surveying a wide range of data visualizations, and have the opportunity to program your own!

Registration is now closed. By Friday, April 15, we will be sending email to all registrants with further information.

The Data & Network Science Festival @ BU is an event in support of the Cambridge Science Festival, an annual celebration of science, technology, engineering, art and math during April school vacation week for K-12 students.

For any questions, please contact Paul Trunfio at

Network Science Workshop Training Manual Development

December 15th, 2015 in #DataNetSciK20, Curricular Materials, News

Since 2011, NetSci High has been developing and leading workshops for K-12 students, teachers and graduate students. Every summer we have hosted an immersive summer training "boot camp" that led to yearlong research projects for high school student teams, teachers and graduate students from partner research labs.

We are now in the process of packaging our training materials into formats that can be generalized and adapted to different settings, from K-12 classroom based modules, to infusion into undergraduate curricula, to immersive "NetSci High" programs nationally and internationally in high schools as well as middle or elementary schools or in corporate settings.

We are aiming to publish the manual by June 2016.

For more information visit: Network Science Workshop Training Manual

NetSci High Participates in NSF Roundtable on Broader Impacts

December 5th, 2015 in #DataNetSciK20, News

On December 3, NetSci High's Paul Trunfio participated in a roundtable discussion on broader impacts with Dr. Pramod Khargonekar, Assistant Director, NSF Directorate for Engineering, BU Associate Provost for Research Gloria Waters, and several STEM Education leaders at Boston University.

Paul's remarks, which follow, focused on the goal of NetSci High to achieve broader impacts though program sustainability and scaling:

There are two core avenues for achieving broader impacts in terms of K-12 STEM education, acknowledging other impacts that may be intrinsic to the research itself, such as technological advances:

  • Standalone K-12 STEM education projects funded by the EHR directorate.
  • K-12 STEM activities related to science research projects, or more substantial activities through science research centers.

In practice, both avenues have limitations in terms of K-12 STEM impact – standalone education projects are more limited by sustainability, while science research projects are more limited by impact. These limitations, in our view, are driven by the “missing piece” of overlap between the two; they each cannot achieve their potential by staying separate. Purposeful coordination that strives to integrate broader impacts may provide a path for an appropriate balance between these two avenues, thereby leading to greater overall impact.

While NetSci High has been successful, we are grappling with sustainability and scaling, which we believe are coupled to the “missing piece”. We are now laying the groundwork for leveraging NetSci High to explore sustainable opportunities at the intersection of “cyberlearning” and data science, systems science and network science. We are exploring the best ideas and strategies to bridge university research, undergraduate education, industry partnerships, and K-12 students and teachers. Our aim is to grow institutional capacity of our broader impacts portfolio while also to strengthen partnerships outside of the University.

We will be hosting a strategic planning summit at BU in Winter 2016 funded by supplemental funding from NSF’s ITEST program. We have also started a Development Portal for strategic growth.

For more information, contact Paul Trunfio

Hiroki Sayama Publishes Complex Systems Textbook

September 23rd, 2015 in Curricular Materials, News, Publications

NetSci High collaborator Hiroki Sayama has recently published the textbook
Introduction to the Modeling and Analysis of Complex Systems


Introduction to the Modeling and Analysis of Complex Systems introduces students to mathematical/computational modeling and analysis developed in the emerging interdisciplinary field of Complex Systems Science. Complex systems are systems made of a large number of microscopic components interacting with each other in nontrivial ways. Many real-world systems can be understood as complex systems, where critically important information resides in the relationships between the parts and not necessarily within the parts themselves. This textbook offers an accessible yet technically-oriented introduction to the modeling and analysis of complex systems. The topics covered include: fundamentals of modeling, basics of dynamical systems, discrete-time models, continuous-time models, bifurcations, chaos, cellular automata, continuous field models, static networks, dynamic networks, and agent-based models. Most of these topics are discussed in two chapters, one focusing on computational modeling and the other on mathematical analysis. This unique approach provides a comprehensive view of related concepts and techniques, and allows readers and instructors to flexibly choose relevant materials based on their objectives and needs. Python sample codes are provided for each modeling example.