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It is widely accepted that stories matter. In technical/scientific fields, it is further accepted that data-rich stories trump data-thin ones. Our focus in these courses is on Data Stories and Rhetoric. We will focus on how to shape compelling, data-rich narratives for diverse audiences. Students can create data stories to build sturdier understandings of their own knowledge and to empower their stakeholders to make informed decisions. For example students could learn how the depths and details of rigorous data analysis can be conveyed effectively to governmental officials and administrators who are tasked with making policies on climate change, immigration, national defense, unemployment, homelessness, and education, among other pressing areas.

One goal of Data Science and Rhetoric is to better articulate what data stories matter to which audiences. A second goal is to engage participants in research that collaboratively works toward achieving that goal. Students in The Data Mine can participate in a variety of courses that enrich their understanding of writing about data.


  • Any undergraduate student with an interest in Data Stories, Rhetoric, and using data to influence change.

Residential Component

  • Students from this learning community must reside in Hillenbrand Hall
  • Information on this residence hall can be found here
  • Students who are required to reside in a different residence hall (e.g. due to the Honors College or athletics participation) or who do not sign a housing contract may not participate in this learning community
  • Your roommate in most cases will be a member of the learning community
  • Completing a housing contract is a separate process from applying for a learning community


Fall and Spring semesters

Associated Classes

Fall and Spring semesters:

  • STAT 19000 1 credit per semester -- The Data Mine I and II
  • ENGL 42100 in fall or spring (incoming students will need to AP credit for composition to take this course or prior approval)

Other optional courses, including:

  • ENGL 20300 Introduction to Research in Professional Writing (fall 2019)
  • ENGL 42400 Writing for High Tech Industries (spring 2020)
  • ENGL 34500 Games and World Building (spring 2020)
  • ENGL 49000 Worksite Internship Practicum (summer 2020)
  • Directed study in political science or media studies

Events and Activities Included:

  • Weekly dinners with LC participants
  • Tour of Purdue’s computational facilities
  • Social gatherings with LC members
  • Seminars by visiting speakers including practicing actuaries and data scientists
  • Meals with campus and community leaders
  • Game / recreation nights
  • Career and graduate school panels

Information above is subject to change. If you are placed in the LC, the associated courses will be on your schedule prior to you registering for the rest of your courses.

Learning Communities ERHT 1275 1st Street, West Lafayette, IN 47906 - (765) 494-5785 or (765) 494-8571,

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