Taylor Swift inspired workshop at University of Delaware helping students learn data analytics

Data Enchanted is the clever title of a University of Delaware workshop series on data analytics and, if it sounds intimidating, Assistant Economics Professor Dr. Kathryn Bender gets that.

"The friendship bracelets. Yes!" she said. It is a favorite of Taylor Swift fans.

"You're just sitting there putting a bead on a string and it also makes meeting new people and talking to people a little bit easier," said Dr. Bender who came up with the theme.

Beyond a bedazzled doorway is where the magic of data happens.

"Are you ready for your life to be changed?" said the professor to the students.

Zach Seymour is a data mentor.

"We're really there as auxiliaries to help along the students," he said. Data mentors wear an introduction tee-shirt with a twist to the Taylor song Anti Hero. Seymour says what is happening here is important for entering the workforce.


"It just gives somebody a real understanding of what they learn in class that they don't really get just through doing homework and exams," he said.

And the Taylor tie?

"Taylor Swift songs specifically data from Spotify. So looking at some variables we have made, like how playable it is for a car ride, time signature or length of the song," said Seymour.

Emma Aucker says she had never done data analysis.

"It’s not something just like raw data. It is like oh, it is her streaming data or something like that. So it is more approachable if you are new to things," said Aucker. She is excited about learning to use the data analytics tool Stata.

"It's a way to clean your data, organize your data and manage your data," she said. The knowledge gained here is for everyone.

However, Aucker does not want bad blood with super fans so she has a confession.

"I do not self-identify as a Swifty because I feel like that's a little insulting to Swifties. I am very much a Taylor Swift appreciator but I do not think I have their level of commitment," she laughed. The workshop is eight sessions and awards each student a certificate of completion.