Peer Consulting’s Community Partnerships
From the inception of the program, the Peer Consulting team has prioritized forming campus partnerships to benefit the Undergraduate and Graduate community at Cal. Given the sheer number of students at Cal, it is important for one organization to successfully cater to the needs of all students, even just in our Data Science community. That is why in this last year, we have partnered with the Library, Research IT, and the D-Lab.
Our relationship with the Library began soon after the creation of the Peer Consulting program, an event I was personally involved in. In 2018, the Library was running its first full academic year of the Undergraduate Library Fellowship program. As a part of this, it recruited two Data Peer Advising Fellows, Carlos E. Ortega, and Violet Sinnarkar. Through our tenure in this program, we became involved in different aspects of the Division of Data Science, one of which was this Peer Consulting Program.
Since then, the relationship between the Peer Consultants and the Library has grown stronger and larger, running many workshops together to better serve the community, which you can read more about on this blog. During the 2020–2021 academic year, we ran 5 workshops in collaboration with the library. Collaborating with the library has allowed us to reach students outside the DS/CS community who may benefit from data skills.
Our collaboration with Research IT began in Summer 2020. Initially, we began to collaborate with them to develop and improve some documentation related to cloud computing used by resources at Cal. Since then, we have continued to develop new projects together. During Spring ’21, in collaboration with D-Lab and Research IT, we began working on documentation and resources to get students and researchers on-campus up to date with data security practices. We presented one of these, an introduction to VeraCrypt to encrypt drives with secure data, during 2021’s Love Data Week (video).
Our relationship with the D-Lab has grown incredibly close over the past year, documented in one of our most recent posts. Most notably, we have merged many of our core consulting services with those of D-Lab’s, allowing us to be more efficient in triaging, consulting, and providing students and faculty the necessary support if we require more expertise from one of D-Lab’s consultants. This collaboration has allowed us to benefit from D-Lab’s streamlined intake process in the lobby and provided us with mentorship opportunities by being able to learn from their graduate consultants and staff.
A Growing Community
Our community partnerships are the key to what has allowed us to serve so many students from diverse backgrounds, despite only having been in existence for a few years. Thank you to the Library, Research IT, the D-Lab, and all other partners for supporting our program and helping us grow. We hope to continue to foster these relationships and new ones in the 2021–2022 academic year.