Saint Mary's team presents Hackathon concept to five Federal ministers in Ottawa

(L-R)Mandy Hoyt, Senior Policy Analyst with Data Strategies & Development at ESDC; Chelsea-Leigh Robinson-Sharman, Junior Policy Analyst with Strategic and Service Policy/Open Data & Open Government at ESDC; Sandy Kyriaki, Chief Data Officer for Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Doug Woodworth, Senior Director of Data Strategies & Development at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Sunil Udhayakumar, CDA student; Keith Bain, Graduate Program Manager; Raj Sonani, CDA student; Matt Triff, CDA student; Patrick Charette, Manager of Strategic and Service Policy/Open Data & Open Government at ESDC

(L-R)Mandy Hoyt, Senior Policy Analyst with Data Strategies & Development at ESDC; Chelsea-Leigh Robinson-Sharman, Junior Policy Analyst with Strategic and Service Policy/Open Data & Open Government at ESDC; Sandy Kyriaki, Chief Data Officer for Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Doug Woodworth, Senior Director of Data Strategies & Development at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Sunil Udhayakumar, CDA student; Keith Bain, Graduate Program Manager; Raj Sonani, CDA student; Matt Triff, CDA student; Patrick Charette, Manager of Strategic and Service Policy/Open Data & Open Government at ESDC

Saint Mary’s Master of Science in Computing and Data Analytics (CDA) students Matt Triff, Sunil Udhayakumar, and Raj Sonani, along with Graduate Program Manager Keith Bain, were invited by Employment and Social Development Canada to participate in a National Poverty Conference in Ottawa recently.

As guest speakers at the “Working Towards a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy” event, the CDA students shared their experiences developing, organizing, and participating in Hackathon events.

Using real-life examples, the team discussed how data from multiple sources could be used to find innovative solutions to social challenges we face in Canada, and shared their experiences in using advanced computing and data analytics techniques and tools to lead to creative solutions for the government and private sector.

Federal ministers attending the event included: 

  • The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development;
  • Louise Levonian, Deputy Minister, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC);
  • The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture;
  • The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; and
  • Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

“The longer-term goal is to organize a hackathon focused on poverty issues through the MSc CDA program, analysing huge data sets to generate new ideas and innovations that could potentially help improve service delivery in key areas,” said Mr. Bain.

“At Saint Mary’s we are always fostering a creative environment where our students can use Data science in every day to day situations to improve the way we live,” wrote the team after their presentation.