Student Data Science / Informatics Competition

  • The final round for the RAISE-24 Informatics – Data Science competition was held Friday, April 19, 2024.
  • Hosted by Rutgers Bloustein School’s Master of Public Informatics (MPI) program, the inaugural competition challenge “Does News Media Spread Fear of AI?” aimed to discover dominant themes in media coverage of AI by analyzing news headlines.
  • RAISE 2024 was a great opportunity for talented students to showcase their informatics, data science, analytics, and problem-solving skills.

Winners – Graduate Track

First Prize

Team Machine Minds – Montclair State UniversityIsabele BittencourtRamy OthmanAnand GopeekrishnanOla Suaifan

Second Prize

Team Three Musketeers – Rutgers UniversityVarun AlurTej S.Sabrina Burns

Exceptional Excellence in Informatics

Team Ace Attorney:Zhaowen GuoUniversity of Washington Chenyue CaoUniversity of Chicago

Special Mention

Team AInsight: Nayeon Kwak – Bentley University, Hyo Min Yoo – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Kyung Jin Kwak – Illinois Institute of Technology

Exceptional Excellence in Informatics

Team Ace Attorney: Zhaowen Guo – University of WashingtonChenyue Cao – University of Chicago

Unique Contributions Recognition

Data Dynamos –  Rutgers University: Md. Nurul HoqueHyeryeng ShinJiatong Yang

RAISE-24 Graduate Winners

Winners – Undergraduate Track

First Prize

The Commons: Almutwakel Hassan – Carnegie Mellon UniversityKyle De Los Santos – Rutgers University

Second Prize

Breaking Bad Data: Anas Moazzam – New York UniversityKevin Soriano Aguilar – New York University, Arjun Rajpal – New York University, Faheem Karim – Stony Brook UniversityBishawajit Saha – Stevens Institute of Technology

Special Mention

Team GTG from New York UniversityYuxi Z.Quanquan Xie, Ruojin Song, Chuhan Ku

Unique Contributions

VeggieB from New York University: Xiaoxin Liu, Zichao Zhang, Ziyu Kong

Data Arsonists from Rutgers University: YONGYI YU, Jiatong Pan, Jingxuan Ma, Haotian Bi, Xiaozhe Shao

Undergraduate track winners RAISE-24


Justin Hendrix

Justin Hendrix

CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press (Keynote Speaker)

Cory Yemen

Dr. Cory Yemen, Ph.D.

Visiting Scholar – University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, Senior Research Fellow – Center for Appraisal Research and Technology, and Director of Data Science at Labcorp

Mark Aakhus

Dr. Mark Aakhus, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Communication at the Rutgers School of Information and Communication

Balaji Dhamodharan

Balaji Dhamodharan

Senior Principal Data Scientist at NXP Semiconductors, leading MLOps strategy

Poonam Soans

Poonam Soans

Chief Data Officer (CDO) and Director of Application Development for the State of New Jersey

Rick Anderson

Rick Anderson

Director of Virtual Worlds for Rutgers University, Director of Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) group, and Co-Founder and Trustee of Fubar (Fair Use Building and Research) Labs

Emily Rothenberg

Emily Rothenberg

Program Manager for the National Student Data Corps (NSDC), Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub


We would like to congratulate ALL the teams for their brilliant presentations on the fear of AI from AI news! We would also like to thank Dean Stuart Shapiro, Prof. Clinton AndrewsTamara Swedberg, Stephanie Crozier, and the rest of the Bloustein team, our judges, the 103 national teams that registered for the competition, and all other participants that have collaborated with us to make RAISE-24 a success! Thank you for joining us in the pursuit of informatics and AI for public good!

Best wishes,

RAISE-24 Chair Jim Samuel


Priority team registrations
Feb 15 2024
Submission deadline
March 10 2024
Finalists announced
March 14 2024
Final materials submission
April 14 2024

Final in-person round at the Bloustein School, New Brunswick, NJ April 19 2024


  • Teams of 2-5 members could register for either the undergraduate or graduate track. Upon confirmation of registration, the team will receive the RAISE-24 AI news headlines dataset and further instructions.
  • The competition was open to currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students from accredited US institutions. Participants must be legally residing in the US for the entire duration of the competition.

Prizes and Awards

  • A first prize winner will be awarded from each of the graduate and undergraduate tracks. A maximum of $5,000 will be awarded to the first prize team.
  • Up to two second prize winners from each of the graduate and undergraduate cohorts will be awarded. A maximum of $1,250 will be awarded to each second prize team.

Judging Criteria

  • Submissions will be evaluated based on overall excellence, creativity, breadth of analysis, accuracy of models, clarity, ethical considerations and recommendations.
  • Judges’ decisions are final and binding. There is no provision for appeals or review.

Competition Guidelines and Details*

The RAISE-24 competition is a platform to discover and analyze dominant themes from AI related news headlines.

  • Analyze news headlines (text) data on Artificial Intelligence (AI), generate insights, assess ethics, and make recommendations for shared empowerment.
  • Any/all of these could be addressed:
    • Embedded topics and themes?
    • Sentiment Analysis?
    • Abstractive and extractive summaries?
  • Participants will be expected to use data science, analytics, and informatics approaches to discover dominant and hidden narratives woven by the news articles.
  • Participants may use exploratory analyses, data visualizations, statistics, computational linguistics, quantitative modeling or machine learning or other analytical methods.
  • Each team is free to define their own strategy – teams can also use LLMs and tools like Claude, Bard or ChatGPT. However, the use of any AI tool/s MUST be explicitly declared along with a list of prompts submitted as an appendix. Any use of AI without explicit declaration of specific prompts is disallowed. References for all sources must be cited using APA 6 or higher.
  • Tools and languages allowed:
    • Python – Colab or Jupyter Notebooks only
    • R – .R or .RMD only
    • Tableau, Excel
    • For any other tool – please confirm with organizers
  • Shortlisted finalists will be provided with additional instructions and invited to attend (required) the final round of the competition to be held on April 19, 2024 at Rutgers University.

 *Read detailed guidelines and Terms and Conditions that apply to all participants

About the Hosts

The Bloustein School’s Master of Public Informatics is a distinguished program for educating highly talented professional student cohorts in the competencies needed in public informatics, advanced data science, and analytics, which includes topics such as: machine learning, global data analytics, artificial intelligence, textual analytics and natural language processing, statistics, programming, data management, GIS, visualization, spatial analysis, domain applications, and the application of these skills for domain-specific value creation. The MPI program at Rutgers provides excellent state-of-the-art research driven project opportunities. Graduates of the MPI program will provide a deep understanding of advanced data science and analytics methods, context and public benefit perspectives to this fast growing and high demand domain.

Contact Us

RAISE-24 Coordinator: Julia Esguerra | Undergraduate Teams Coordinator: Vidhi Gala

Please use this email for all correspondence: informatics@ejb.rutgers.edu

RAISE-24 Chair: Prof. Jim Samuel

Code of Conduct

Participants must adhere to a strict code of ethical conduct, and agree to abide by all the rules and requirements of Bloustein, Rutgers and the State of New Jersey.

Updates and Changes

Rutgers University and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy reserve the right to modify the competition rules, schedule, or any other aspect of the competition. Registered participants will be notified of such changes via email.

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