ICPSR Honors its 2021 Innovators of the Year!



ICPSR Summer Program Staff photo

Summer Program staff (clockwise from top left): Scott Campbell, Stephanie Carpenter, Edward Czilli, Youngmin Kim, Diane Viebahn, Mike Traugott, Fillippo Stargell, and Shelly Petrinko.  


ANN ARBOR – ICPSR is honoring the staff of the 2020 ICPSR Summer Program with the 2021 ICPSR Innovators of the Year Award for their successful move from in-person to online instruction during the  COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since 1963, ICPSR has offered the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus as a complement to its data services. The ICPSR Summer Program provides rigorous, hands-on training in statistical techniques, research methodologies, and data analysis. 

With the closure of the University of Michigan campus on March 13, 2020, and the work-from-home orders of the Michigan governor, the Summer Program staff quickly realized that they would have to pivot from a completely in-person program to an all-virtual program before the short workshops began in May 2020. Staff worked tirelessly to reimagine how to give access to offsite instructors and students, virtually present Blalock lectures, navigate conflicting time zones, provide engaging classrooms, and organize networking and social events for more than 1000 Summer Program participants, instructors, and teaching assistants in the new world of Zoom meetings. 

This amazing team (Michael Traugott, Stephanie Carpenter, Edward Czilli, Fillippo Stargell, Scott Campbell, Shelly Petrinko, Diane Viebahn, and Youngmin Kim) consisted of several staff members in new roles, and staff members new to working with the Summer Program and ICPSR itself. Through it all, they worked many long hours together and provided participants and instructors with an extremely rewarding 2020 ICPSR Summer Program experience.

History of the Award

Established in 2014, the ICPSR Innovators program was developed to award staff, individually or as a team, whose ideas and actions make ICPSR a better, more efficient, and more pleasant place to work. Permanent ICPSR staff and faculty (full- or part-time) with a minimum six months of service from all units, departments, and positions are eligible for this award. The award includes a monetary prize, a personalized trophy, and some ICPSR swag!

Honorable Mentions 

  • Evan Cosby from the ICPSR Curation Unit was nominated for writing a powerful bash script to help create documentation for ICPSR studies. Before Evan’s script, the process of creating documentation was tedious and time-consuming. If a study had multiple datasets (and some have dozens) this process could take days. With his bash script, no matter how many datasets there are, this process takes just minutes. It’s that powerful! Evan’s nominator took a look at the code and it was very complicated and impressive. She thinks that frankly, Evan might be a genius and the script has saved her over five hours of work after only using it for a month. Every curator stands to benefit from this bash script and the productivity of the unit has the potential to increase dramatically resulting in shorter turnover times.

  • The ICPSR Bibliography Team was nominated for the Current Events in the Bib series. This series has fundamentally changed the way that the ICPSR Bibliography is presented. The Bibliography has always been one of the stars of ICPSR’s product suite, but in the past, it was less visible. Representatives were saying, “How did I not know about this?, What a great resource!, and [This is] one of the best features of ICPSR.” Instead of being a resource that you go to when you think of it, the Bib is now a resource that comes to you with important, timely, useful information. In the past year, the updates made by the Bib team have brought this resource front and center. Having weekly Current Events in the Bib makes for timely reminders about the resource, as well as providing quick access to information that our data community is now using regularly. The Current Events in the Bib series has benefited students, Representatives, faculty members, internal staff, and more. It has also been a useful recruitment tool for outreach to potential new member institutions. The Current Events in the Bib series is one of several new resources created by the Bibliography staff, who take advantage of the large database of data-related literature that they populate. For instance, Research Spotlights, which are released every few months, are short reports, or mini literature reviews, that synthesize the findings about one or several related topics, for example, this one called The Elderly and Social Isolation.


Sep 16, 2021

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