CMDA Student Capstone Projects
In the Computational Modeling and Data Analytics (CMDA) Capstone Project course at Virginia Tech, teams of three or four students spend the semester tackling an open-ended, Client-driven project. CBHDS was honored to participate as the Client for two CMDA project teams in Fall 2020 and one team in Spring 2021. In addition to the technical aspects of the project, students are mentored by CMDA Faculty in teamwork, project management, and technical leadership. Through the lens of their particular projects, the teams also consider the ethical aspects of data science and mathematical modeling.
Expand the links below to read about the Teams' investigations!
- Our project objectives were to study the impact of COVID-19 on the Virginia real estate market and explore inter- and intra-county mobility trends. We were able to answer the following research question: How did COVID-19 impact home values and mobility trends throughout Virginia?
- Analytic methods: Linear Regression and Spatial Regression
- Visual Analytics: An interactive application with Choropleth Maps and Time Series Plots
This project started off very open ended, and we were responsible for coming up with our own research question. With the help of our client and coach, we decided to focus on home values, COVID-19 cases, and mobility trends in Virginia at the county level. From there, our group worked together to produce a final product, while meeting with our client and coach on a weekly basis to brainstorm ideas and go over our progress.
Although we had experience working with data in the past, we ran into some novel concepts such as spatial regression and creating dashboards that took some time to get accustomed to. This project was one of our first experiences working on a team for an extended period of time, and it helped us better understand the importance of team dynamics and time management. Overall, working with CBHDS was a great experience, and we learned a lot throughout the process.
Project Team Members:
- Yohannes Afework, B.S. in Computational Modeling and Data Analytics, May 2021
- Devon Lee, B.S. in Computational Modeling and Data Analytics, May 2021
- Jaffar Shaik, B.S. in Computational Modeling and Data Analytics, May 2021
- Naod Teklie, B.S. in Computational Modeling and Data Analytics, May 2021
- How do remediation measures affect species spread?
- Analytic methods: generalized linear models and classification trees
- Visual analytics: an interactive application to demonstrate the effect of various parameters and conditions
Our CMDA capstone project began with the unexpected challenge of working around COVID-19, but ultimately the project provided us with an entirely unique and informative experience. Extensive collaboration on such a large project was difficult over solely the internet. However, with the guidance of Dr. Alexandra Hanlon and Jennifer West, we became familiar with working efficiently online. Dr. Hanlon and Jennifer were extremely helpful in advising us and providing us with the resources to succeed. We couldn’t have done this without them!
For as unusual as this semester has been, it went by extremely fast. Our entire team feels like we just became acquainted with the CBHDS team. This seemingly short experience has provided us with valuable skills in not only data science, but more so in the importance of teamwork and communication. It was exciting to be able to apply what we have learned in the classroom to a real world problem, and a privilege to do so under the guidance of our mentors.
Photo credit: Ian Trueman, University of Wolverhampton, Bugwood.org
- How has COVID-mandated social distancing affected United States mental health outcomes at the State level?
- Visual analytics: an interactive application to demonstrate the change in Mental Health Scores week by week during the pandemic
Over the course of the semester, Team New Horizons has been working with CBHDS to study the effects of social distancing on mental health for their Computational Modeling and Data Analytics (CMDA) capstone project. The team consists of Jeff Straw, Demory Williamson, Xumanning Luo, and Bella Marku, all of whom are seniors in CMDA. Their primary motivation for choosing the topic was the opportunity to learn more about how the pandemic has affected people emotionally, not just physically.
The project incorporated both mobility data from Google and mental health data from the CDC to determine how mental health symptoms changed in relation to the amount of time spent at home, as compared to a baseline from before the pandemic began. To display their results, the team developed an interactive web dashboard where users can click on states to obtain that state’s specific mental health results since the start of the pandemic. The biggest challenge the team faced was finding publicly available data, especially since the pandemic is still ongoing, but the datasets they incorporated allowed them to create a comprehensive dashboard that provides significant information for its users.