Youth Data Literacy Program:
Building Pathways to Careers in
Research & STEM

The Pittsburgh Study team gather to discuss Data Literacy. Seated left to right: Dr. Jamil Bey, Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Felicia Savage Friedman, and Liz Monk

Data literacy is a key strategy to ensure that students and community members (as citizen scientists) have the tools and skills to access, interpret, question, and use data to promote meaningful transformation within their neighborhoods and communities.

The TPS Data Accessibility committee and the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center recently provided workshops for data stewards and health ambassadors (about 60 total participants) who were surveyed at the start and end of the workshop series. The results validated the course of activities as having helped to build capacity, confidence, and an inclusive culture of data use. Participants expressed a higher degree of confidence in using data, and growing ability to find data and assess its quality and context. Two thirds of Data Ambassadors volunteered to participate in additional conversations around data and community engagement.

Our Youth Data Literacy program will work with young people to build that same level of confidence in working with data.

Our Goal:
To engage adolescents from schools that participated in Healthy Allegheny Teens Survey and empower their voices to define areas for health improvement and actions that support adolescent thriving.

The Youth Data Literacy pilot series will consist of five virtual sessions.
Each session offers a unique set of materials and
activities related to data interpretation and presentation. Session Dates:

Tuesday, Jan 9th – Orientation
The Youth Data Literacy series will consist of five sessions, and each will last for approximately two hours (including breaks!).  Sessions will be held virtually in the interest of remaining accessible to as many interested students as possible. Each session contains a unique set of activities and lessons that introduce new topics related to data interpretation while building on the skills from previous sessions.

Tuesday, Jan 23 – What is Data? 
Our first session serves as an introduction to data. What is data? What are relevant concepts, and how can we apply them when reading facts and figures? The goal of this session is for students to become more comfortable with reading, interpreting and asking questions of data.

Tuesday, Feb 6 – Visualizing and Sharing Data
After laying the foundation in the previous session, students will further develop their skills and familiarity when working with numbers, charts, and statistics. The goal of this session is for students to discover ways to collect, visualize, and engage with data.

Tuesday, Feb 20 – Working Sensitive Data
Prior to engaging with data collected through the Healthy Allegheny Teen Survey (HATS), we will dedicate a session to helping students learn how to engage with data that describe sensitive and/or complicated topics.

Tuesday, Mar 6 – Finding Stories in Data
Using the tools and skills they’ve acquired from the previous sessions, students will analyze the information that was collected as part of the Health Allegheny Teens Survey (HATS). Using the results of the HATS survey, students will interpret the stories that are present within data points and discuss what the significance of these stories are. While it can be empowering to give students the opportunity to learn from HATS data, we recognize that this information is especially sensitive. Support from a counselor will be available, and students may opt out of this session at any time.

Tuesday, Mar 20 – Sharing the Experience
One of the most important parts of achieving data literacy is learning to effectively communicate information to a broader audience. Students will collaborate to share the stories they found in the previous session. This can take many forms, and it is up to the students, with guidance from the session leaders, to find a method of communication to share this data and highlight its significance. Because HATS data will be discussed, there is an opt-out option for this session as well.
Friday, April 19th – Youth Thriving Summit 

For more information, email

Why Is Data Literacy Important?

How Does This Program Drive Change?