The McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University is pleased to present the  Public Policy and Massive Data Faculty Seminar Series. The goal of the series is to establish a cross-disciplinary research institute to further the innovative uses of data for policy and social science.

AY 2017-2018

WORKSHOP SERIES - Using Python for Data Collection, Manipulation, and Analysis

Announcing a workshop series focused on using Python for collecting, manipulating and analyzing data. The workshop series assumes no prior knowledge of Python programming and is appropriate for beginners. These are interactive workshops - bring your laptop. Familiarity with STATA and R is a plus. If you have thought about switching from STATA or R to Python - now is your chance! The workshops are open to all Georgetown faculty, students, and staff.

Python and Data Manipulation 101
Date: February 1st, 3:15-5pm
Location: Healy 104

Never used Python before for data analysis - this session is for you. You will learn the basics of:

  • Working with the Python programming environment
  • Loading data
  • Manipulating data
  • Setting up a repeatable data processing and analysis workflow to make it easy to update as new data becomes available.
  • Installing Python packages/modules and using imports

This introductory session will prepare you for more advanced programming and data analytics in the other workshop sessions.

You can either write your code using CoCalc through your web browser or you can run your code on your computer by installing Python 3 and Jupyter notebooks before the session. Installation instructions:

Data Collection and Modeling in Python
Date: February 15th, 3:15-5
Location: Healy 104

The focus of this workshop is learning how to collect data from the web, creating variables from that data, and using that data within a statistical and machine learning analysis.  In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Collect data from the web
  • Run statistical models, e.g generalized linear regressions, using the statsmodels package
  • Run a machine learning model using sklearn

Install the following packages using pip install before the workshop: requests, Beautiful Soup 4 (beautifulsoup4), pandas, numpy, sklearn, statsmodels. We will learn about all these packages.

Network Analysis in Python
Date: March 1st, 3:15-5
Location: Healy

Learn some basic network theory. Learn how network theory and analysis can add nuance to your research question and be incorporated into your causal analysis. In this workshop, you will learn about:

  • The basics of network theory, including learning about different network measures and their theoretical implications.
  • Network clustering approaches
  • Different types of network data, and how to craft relational ties from your data
  • Methods for generating network measures for use in your analysis

Install the following packages using pip install before the workshop: pandas, numpy, networkx, statsmodels. We will work with all these packages during the workshop.

Sponsored By: The Mass Data Institute (MDI), McCourt School of Public Policy


Previous Events

(AY 2015-2016) 

Presentations will be in Old North 205 unless otherwise noted. Titles and papers will be distributed when possible.

Monday, February 8, 3.45 p.m.: Sandy Calvert is the Director of the Children’s Media Center in Georgetown’s Psychology Department. Her talk is “21st Century Environments: The Promises and Perils of U.S. Children's Media.” 

Monday, February 29, 3.30 p.m.: Edmund Malesky is a specialist in the political development in Vietnam and China and an associate professor at Duke university. Title/paper will be distributed soon.

Monday, March 14, 3.30 p.m.: Winter Mason is a computational social scientist at Facebook. His talk is “Understanding Politics and Political Issues with Social Media Data.”

Monday, April 11, 3.30 p.m.: (tentative) Dayanand Manoli of the University of Texas, currently visiting at Treasury. 

Monday, April 25, 3.30 p.m.: Andrew Crane-Droesch is McCourt’s MDI post-doc fellow. 

(AY 2014-2015) 

Tuesday, Nov 18, 10:30am-11:45amCharan Singh, Reserve Bank of India Chair Professor of Economics and Social Science, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.  Presentation Title: “Challenges Facing The Indian Economy."  Old North Room 205.

Monday, Dec. 1, 12:30pm-1:45pm: Chloe Gibbs, Assistant Professor, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia.  Old North Room 205.

Friday, February 20, 12:00pm-1:15pmNoah Smith, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle.  Old North Room 205.

Thursday, March 5, 3:00pm-4:20pmRachel Augustine Potter, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, University of Virginia.  Old North Room 205.

Thursday, March 19, 3:00pm-4:15pmElizabeth Stuart, Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Old North Room 205.

Tuesday, March 31, 3:00pm-4:30pm: Gaurav Sood, Postdoctoral Fellow, Massive Data Institute, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University.  Old North Room 205.

Thursday, April 9th, 3:00pm-4:20pm: Phillip B. Levine, Katharine Coman and A. Barton Hepburn Professor , Department of Economics, Wellesley College.  Old North Room 205.

Friday, April 24, 12:00pm-1:20pm: Ioana Marinescu, Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago.  Old North Room 205.

Thursday, April 30, 2:00pm - 3:30 pm: David Lazer, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University.  Old North Room 205.

(AY 2013-2014)

Matthew Harding, Department of Economics, Stanford University
"Big Data, Food Purchases and the Impact of Product and Nutrient Taxes"
October 21, 2013
3:30 – 5:00 PM
Old North 205

Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google
"Google Tools for Data Analysis"
November 13, 2013
3:30 – 5:00 PM
Old North 205

Matthew Taddy, Booth School, University of Chicago
January 27, 2014
3:30 – 5:00 PM
Old North 205

Gary King, Director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University
February 7, 2014 
2:30 - 4:00 PM
Old North 205

Justin Grimmer, Department of Political Science, Stanford University
March 17, 2014
3:30 – 5:00 PM
Old North 205

David Krakauer, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, University of Wisconsin
May 5, 2014
3:30 – 5:00 PM
Old North 205

Questions? Please contact Lauren Mullins at To see additional previous event, please view this listing page.