Palau International Coral Reef Center Maintenance Technician Alik Ulechong recently completed Chaminade University’s Supporting Pacific Indigenous Computing Excellence (SPICE) Data Science Summer Institute.
Over the intensive four-week program, Ulechong took daily online classes in data science and the R programming language with a focus on geo-spatial applications. As a final project, he applied what he learned to develop interpretive visuals showing the size and distribution of fish stocks based on Pacific fisheries datasets.
“The program was challenging and the material was very technical. It took time and hard work to complete it” said Ulechong. “I learned a lot and had fun. It really gave me confidence with data science skills.”
Ulechong is currently pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Information Technology (IT) at Palau Community College while supporting the Center’s IT needs a Maintenance Technican. He plans to use his data science experience to contribute to the Center’s projects.
“Investing in our staff is the best way for us to remain effective and impactful as a Center” said Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, the Center’s CEO. “We’re all proud of Alik and we want support him as he furthers his education.”
The SPICE Program is held in partnership between Chaminade University of Honolulu, Texas Advanced Computing Center and XSEDE with funding from NSF INCLUDES. Now in its fourth year, the program aims to help students use data science to make positive changes in their communities.
This year, the program accepted students from Palau, Guam, Marshall Islands, Hawaii and the mainland United States.

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