About Me

My name is Rose Porta, and I am currently a first year Master's student at UMass Amherst studying Statistics. I recently graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in Statistical and Data Sciences and a concentration in Community Engagement and Social Change. I love to use data analysis and visualization to tell stories, and I hope to use this skill to contribute to social change by revealing insights that highlight the need for transformation.

During my senior year at Smith, I had the opportunity to work on two research projects at the intersection of data science and community engagement work. The first project was sponsored by the organization Women at the Table and was a team project through my Data Science Capstone course. The project involved creating an educational resource for more ethical machine learning practices through developing an extensive example of an analysis centered around human rights. The second project was in partnership with Community Action Pioneer Valley Head Start and Early Learning Programs and is through an independent study course. It involved collecting and analyzing data from local colleges and universities on the numbers and demographics of students studying early childhood education. The purpose of the analysis is to provide information to the organization about what their workforce of early childhood educators may look like over the next few years so that they can assess how to plan for the upcoming funding cycle. We found that the number of students studing early childhood education will very likely be insufficient to meet the childcare needs of the community. We furthermore concluded that systemic changes at the State and National levels including increased pay, benefits, and career development opportunities for early educators will be essential in order to effectively increase the quality and accessibility of early childhood education.

I also served as the chair of the Smith College Community Service Organization, where I organized events and programming to build community both among students on campus as well as between students and the broader community. One of our major projects during the fall semester was a no-sew blanket-making project where students made over 40 blankets to donate to folks in need. I piloted this initiative in Fall 2019 and it has continued for three academic years now. During the spring semester, we lead a book drive in partnership with Great Falls Books Through Bars, and we donated two large vans full of books which will then be sent to people in prisons across the county.

In my free time, I enjoy taking walks outside, spending time with friends, and teaching and practicing yoga. I am a certified 500 hour yoga instructor, and I currently only teach one informal class per week, but I would love to start teaching more often once I have more free time.