SOCKS Kicks Off with a Strategic Planning Meeting
Vermont EPSCoR kicked off a new chapter with a Strategic Planning Meeting for the NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 award, Harnessing the Data Revolution for Vermont: The Science of Online Corpora, Knowledge, and Stories (SOCKS), which entered its first year in June, 2023. The two-day meeting held on August 24th and 25th at Hula in Burlington, VT gathered the full SOCKS team together, allowing interactive discussion and planning around goals, milestones, and strategic directions of the program. Facilitated by John Riordan, the meeting was also attended by NSF Program Officer, Dr. Eric Lindquist.
The five-year, large-scale, interdisciplinary and groundbreaking data science effort will enable research, outreach, workforce development and communications to better understand and harness the power of stories. Researchers hope to provide new insights into the power and use of stories and narratives across a broad array of social, economic, and health domains through integrated data and teams. SOCKS revolves around stories as an essential part of how people comprehend, explain, predict, and seek to navigate the world. SOCKS supports the Digital Humanities by developing a powerful approach to quantifying both individual stories and ecologies of stories through massive data collection, natural language processing, and large language models—computer-based encodings of the meaningful connections between words and phrases. The project aims to advance initiatives grounded in principled methods through the quantitative measurement of sentiment and stories across a diverse portfolio of corpora.
The meeting provided an opportunity for teams to share research, identify milestones and outputs, and develop major elements of their five-year strategic plan.
"The Strategic Planning Meeting was an exciting moment for everyone involved in the SOCKS project to gather, be introduced to one another, and share their respective roles in the project and contribute to the drafting of the strategic plan," said Co-PI Randall Harp, PhD. "We heard from the PI (Kirk Dombrowski) and the co-PIs (Peter Dodds, Chris Danforth, Juniper Lovato, and Randall Harp); from the NSF PO, Eric Lindquist, about NSF’s expectations; from Dodds and Danforth about the Storywrangler tools; from all the researchers in the Health and Social teams about their projects; from those involved with the VACC and the Open Source Consortium of open science; from Regina Toolin, Jayshree Bhat and Shannon O’Neill about teacher training and workforce development; and from Kemi Fuentes-George about undergraduate research and mentorship."
The meeting was also attended by external evaluator, Andrew Powers from PEER Associates.
SOCKS teams will continue to meet on a regular basis, with an All Hands Meeting planned in April 2024 to review progress and milestones.
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