ATLANTA—The Georgia State University Library has received a $146,092 grant from New America to fund the work of its Public Interest Data Literacy (PIDLit) Learning Lab, an experiential learning credit-bearing course that partners Georgia State University’s diverse students with local nonprofit and private sector organizations addressing food insecurity. The grant is one of 18 awards totaling $2.3 million going to Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) members.
The PIDLit Lab initiative, led by primary investigator Dr. Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh and co-principal investigators Dr. Halley Riley and Ashley Rockwell, will expand programs promoting data literacy and career preparedness. The library provides support and training on a host of data analysis tools and methods along with opportunities for students to network with the broader Atlanta community around practical applications of data science.
Food insecurity is an issue disproportionately experienced by marginalized communities in metro-Atlanta and Georgia. Via the PIDLit Lab, students will expand their career skills and get hands-on experience applying public interest technology toward a real-world social problem, potentially feeding them into a PIT career path upon graduation.
“Georgia State is immensely grateful to the New America for recognizing the importance for this grant, which will enrich the scholarship and dialogue on advancing data literacy in public policy,” said Jeff Steely, dean of libraries. “With this grant, Georgia State will be able to create a credit-bearing course allowing students the hands-on opportunity to address a core issue of the Atlanta area, while preparing them for the workforce in line with Georgia State’s College to Careers pillar.”
Georgia State’s College to Careers initiative encourages curricular enhancements that help students become aware of career competencies, connect those competencies to the work they do in their major and demonstrate their proficiency in transferable skills.
Georgia State is a member of the national PIT-UN, which is leading a concerted, collaborative and continued push to expand next-generation technologists, advocates and policymakers who use technology and technology expertise proactively and transparently to address the most critical problems in the public interest. PIT-UN members are seeding the burgeoning field of public interest technology and fueling inclusive practices as the PIT movement expands.
Georgia State is one of two local, Atlanta-area universities to be awarded a grant from New America, with the Georgia Institute of Technology receiving the other.
About University Library:
The Georgia State University Library houses more than 1.9 million physical volumes, 700,000 ebook titles, 230,000 serial titles and 280 online databases. The libraries on each of the six campuses provide access to the expertise of librarians and staff dedicated to student success. The 300,000 sq. ft. Atlanta Campus location offers seating for more than 2,000, 55 group study rooms, an outdoor terrace, and access to leading-edge computing and visualization technology.
About the PIT-UN:
The Public Interest Technology University Network is a partnership of 48 colleges and universities convened by New America, the Ford Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation. The network and challenge grants are funded through the support of the Ford Foundation; Hewlett Foundation; Mastercard Impact Fund, with support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth: The Raikes Foundation; Schmidt Futures and The Siegel Family Endowment. PIT-UN is dedicated to building the field of public interest technology through curriculum development, faculty research opportunities, and experiential learning programs, in order to inspire a new generation of civic-minded technologists and policy leaders.