2021 Event Schedule and Guidelines


In order to protect the health and safety of all participants, ASA DataFest @ OSU was held virtually in 2021.


Event Schedule


March 26th

  • 4:30-6:15pm - Corporate Sponsor Meet & Greet; opportunity for students to network and learn about internship and career opportunities at the sponsoring companies. 
  • 6:30pm - Opening Kickoff and data source reveal; at least one member from each team should attend, but all are welcome. The Opening Kickoff will be recorded. 

March 27th

  • 10:00am - Data set is released and competition begins. Competition will be on-going from this point until the submission deadline. 
  • Throughout the day: project work continues. 
  • 2:00pm - First round of door prizes
  • 7:00pm - Second round of door prizes
  • Work continues through the night...

March 28th

  • 12:00 Noon - Project submission deadline; judging begins

April 9th

  • 6:30pm - Awards Ceremony; winning teams announced and winning presentations shown to all DataFest participants. The Awards Ceremony will be recorded. 

Information and Guidelines

Who can participate?

The competition is open to all undergraduate students currently enrolled at The Ohio State University during the semester the competition takes place.

DataFest Teams

This is a collaborative event, and team work is required. A team can be anywhere from 3-5 OSU undergraduate students. We suggest creating an interdisciplinary team with a variety of skills. Find friends who are skilled in different software like R, Tableau, AWS, SAS, Photoshop, ArcGIS, or any other software package that you feel will be helpful. We also encourage interdisciplinary educational backgrounds. For example, a team might consist of students studying Data Analytics, Business, Art, Economics, and Geographic Information Science.

You must have a team of at least three students before you will be able to register. If you need help finding a team, please plan to attend the Team Formation Sessions. We will do our best to put individuals seeking teams in contact with one another.

Data Set

The American Statistical Association (ASA) has secured a large dataset from a well-known company. The details of the dataset and the company providing the data are kept secret until the Opening Kickoff.


The entire event will take place virtually, utilizing multiple communication platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Carmen. 

What You'll Need

Dress comfortably! It will be a long day/night/day.

Every member of each team should have a a laptop/desktop computer, power cord, and water bottle (stay hydrated!).

Make sure the software you will use throughout the weekend is properly installed and running on your computer.

You might also need some statistical or computational reference books if you have them, or bookmark some web pages that you routinely refer to.


We request that all work be completed with your teammates, and only with your teammates. You are welcome to consult with the professional mentors and utilize online or text resources, but please do not seek assistance from people outside of the DataFest event.  

Should members of your team drop out at the last minute, you may choose to merge with another team that is also missing members.

We will hold a few random door prize drawings throughout the event. You will be notified via email if you are a winner. 

DataFest is sponsored by the American Statistical Association and is hosted by several universities across the country during the months of March, April, and May.  As a hosting institution and as participants, we agree not to share the source of the data set or mention it in any publicity about the event (including social media) until after all DataFest competitions are complete. So, shhh!! We appreciate your help in keeping the name of the source of the data set a secret, so please do not mention the source when Tweeting, posting on Facebook, or in any other form of communication.


Mentors will be available throughout the event, and we encourage you to take advantage of their expertise.  Feel free to ask anything.  This is not an exam, but a collaborative competition. Do not expect the mentors to write code for you or do data management, etc. They are there to help point you in the right direction, but you're responsible for getting there on your own.

Judging/Presentation of Work

Your team will submit a presentation on Sunday to be judged by a panel of faculty and industry professionals. Presentations are limited to 5 minutes. The time limit will be strictly enforced. You may use up to 3 content slides (with a fourth slide that includes your title, team name, and the names of your team members).

After the competition begins, you will be emailed information on how to upload your final presentation. To be considered for judging, your presentation must be uploaded by 12:00 Noon on Sunday. 

Awards will be given in four categories:  Best Insight, Best Visualization, Best Use of External Data, and Judges' Choice. A rubric for judging will be provided at the Opening Kickoff. Members of the winning teams will receive prizes and may need to fill out a document for tax purposes.


We encourage you to participate in the pre-event workshops, especially if you have not worked with large data sets before. Typical DataFest data sets contain 1-3 GBs of data. You will likely not be able to open the data set in Excel.

ASA Conduct Policy

As an event sponsored by the American Statistical Association, ASA DataFest @ Ohio State is committed to providing an atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of ideas.  Consistent with this commitment, it is the policy of the ASA that all participants in ASA activities will enjoy a wecloming environment free from unlawlful discrimination, harassment and retaliation.  All participants in DataFest are expected to read and agree to comply with the ASA's full Meeting Conduct Policy.