MAY 31, 2023 — Ginny Garcia-Alexander, an associate professor of sociology in the UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy, has been appointed as a faculty fellow at the university’s School of Data Science. For the next two years, Garcia will lead the next-generation census research initiative, a partnership between UTSA and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Faculty fellows advance projects aimed at ensuring UTSA’s future as a leading center of data science research and education, while also promoting relationships across the public and private sectors and within the university’s data science community.
The partnership between UTSA and the Census Bureau is responding to the national demand for data about people, places and the economy that is more timely, accurate and granular to help address grand challenges that the nation faces.
As the faculty fellow leading the program, Garcia-Alexander will serve as the lead investigator and program coordinator, developing curricular and research agendas for the initiative. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in sociology with a concentration in social demography from Texas A&M University. In 2020, Garcia-Alexander joined the UTSA Department of Demography from Portland State University, where she was a faculty member from 2012 until early 2020.
“This is really opening up a world of possibilities in terms of opportunities for the students, faculty, researchers and people in the community,” Garcia-Alexander said.
According to Garcia-Alexander, the Census Bureau has a long history of collaborating with universities all over the country. These partnerships prove incredibly valuable for universities by enabling access to resources and personnel that may ordinarily be unavailable.
“A huge portion of what we are trying to do is create a new generation of data scientists,” Garcia-Alexander said, “so one of the really neat things about this partnership with the Census Bureau is that are we going to have access to their vast array of data products and to their technical experts.”
In the coming months, Garcia-Alexander will be establishing a variety of opportunities for students including research and project-based learning using Census Bureau data, lectures for the university community and workshops with Census Bureau personnel. Participating in these opportunities can give students a competitive advantage as they pursue careers in a variety of data-driven fields—from sociology, to medicine and business.
“There are going to be opportunities for people who have bachelor’s degrees, there are going to be opportunities for people who have a master’s and all the way up the Ph.D. level,” Garcia-Alexander said. “There’s a huge need for people who can engage with data, so through this work we are setting up students to be very marketable.”
Garcia-Alexander also envisions UTSA serving as a bridge between the San Antonio community and Census resources over her fellowship. In the first year, Garcia-Alexander will identify interested parties and begin to establish connections and collaborations, while the second year will be devoted to getting the program and its myriad components operational and engaging students, faculty and community members.
“We hope we will have a really well-established data hub—that UTSA will be seen as a place where you can go to use and be involved with the resources that we have and to make greater use of Census Data products and services,” Garcia-Alexander said.
The School of Data Science, the only one of its kind at a Carnegie R1 Hispanic Serving Institution, was established to lead the nation in data-intensive research and educate top data scientists who can make the world more equitable, informed and secure.
UTSA’s College for Health, Community and Policy is dedicated to developing solutions to effect change for complex social issues to improve the well-being of communities and the world.
Come experience a Hispanic Market with us!Rowdy Statue
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The UTSA Orchestra will be performing Rapsodia Mexicana, a captivating concert celebrating Mexican music and the confluence of cultures in South Texas. Joined by organist Colin Campbell (Texas A&M International University) and UTSA's Mariachi Los Paisanos, watch as the orchestra brings to life the essence of Hispanic culture through their powerful performances.UTSA Recital Hall, Main Campus
A fun night for UTSA students to relax and play loteria. Student Success Centers will also have recourses for students to learn more about programs and services.Denman Ballroom (SU 2.01.28,) Main Campus
Come play a game of Loteria sponsored by the UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD), UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA) and UTSA Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design.Willow Room (SU 2.02.12,) Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
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