More than 100 participants, including alumni of the M.S. in data science program and current students, met and mingled during the Data Science Institute (DSI) Spring 2021 Social on Thursday, March 4.

Students and staff organizers produced this year’s spring event via the Gatherly platform due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The current global situation has deeply impacted the way we interact with each other,” said Shaurya Malik, current president of the DSI Student Council. “Teams and organizers around the world are constantly looking for more innovative ways to set up their virtual events and conferences to emulate an in-person experience.”

The virtual social was structured to replicate Columbia University’s Morningside campus, and allowed attendees to “ride the elevator” and visit different “floors.” Each floor provided attendees opportunities to discuss new topics, including entertainment, technology, and health care. Attendees also played games and took time to “hang out” at the Blue Java Café and the DSI Lounge.

According to Malik, attendee feedback was mostly positive. “The event was a wide success and proved to be a fruitful experience for both alumni and current students.”

— Sharnice Ottley