The REAL Side of Data
REAL student Andrew Bake ‘20 used data to illustrate how climate change is affecting Nicaraguan farmers on the ground.
By Ally O'Connor '20
Improving his proficiency in complex coding languages, Andrew Bake ’20 (Economics and Environmental Studies) spent his summer performing data analysis on a survey of Nicaraguan coffee farmers. Working alongside Santa Clara University Associate Professor Iris Steward-Frey (Environmental Studies) as a REAL intern, Bake visualized data that Stewart-Frey collected and prepared it for a presentation that she gave to the farmers in late July.
When asked about the specifics of the data, Bake explains that he was responsible for “analyzing coffee farmers’ responses to questions about the changing climate patterns in Nicaragua and how they are adapting to changing water sources and diseases affecting their crops.” More explicitly, Bake focused on “the effects of drought and water insecurity.” Additionally, the data allowed Bake to get a granular look at many of the farmers. He found it fascinating that data could portray “a sense of how these farmers are coping with the crippling droughts that have affected the region.”
While performing analysis, Bake utilized tools like RStudio, SQL, and Python, which he shares are an “integral part of being able to analyze large datasets like these and will continue to be an integral part of business analytics.” Because he plans to continue such work post graduation, this internship provided him with experience that will help him excel in his future.
Going forward, Bake says that this work showed him the value of not only data analysis, but also “the application side of work – helping these farmers develop strategies to build out coping mechanisms.” As a result, he now finds himself “interested in the sustainable development aspect of this work” and is open to branching out as he continues to learn and explore possible career directions.
About the REAL Program
The College of Arts and Sciences developed the REAL Program to allow students to discover their interests, gain a rich understanding of a particular field, discern their career goals, and explore future employment fields. We believe financial means should not determine whether or not a student can participate in internships, research, projects or creative works opportunities. Committed to providing paid experiential learning opportunities for students, the REAL Program provides stipends up to $5,000 for undergraduate opportunities lasting up to 10 weeks over the summer. Since inception, the program has distributed nearly $1.3 million to more than 300 students.
For more information about the REAL Program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.