What is LBJ Data Studio?

Gaining Data Skills as a Policy Student


Whether you’re conducting a comprehensive program evaluation, making some clean charts and maps, or working to build a sophisticated statistical model, the tools inside RStudio and the tidyverse make policy work incredibly efficient and reproducible. While these workshops are designed to help you get started in R as a policy student, getting good at R or any language takes practice. The good news, we’re giving you resources to make your learning easier and more beneficial over time (both at LBJ and after graduation).

Workshop Dates

Below are the dates and formats of the session. Our original plan was to eventually hold these in-person, but they will be held on zoom for the first few sessions.

  • Zoom Session: Sep 10, 2021 at Noon
  • Zoom Session: Sep 24, 2021 at Noon
  • Zoom Session: Oct 8, 2021 at Noon
  • In-person: Oct 22, 2021 at Noon in Room 3.124 at the LBJ School
  • TBD: Nov 5, 2021 at Noon
  • TBD: Nov 19, 2021 at Noon
  • TBD: Dec 3, 2021 at Noon


What kinds of things will be covered?

Here’s some of topics that we’ll cover:

  • Easy and Effective Charts
  • Making Beautiful Maps
  • Efficiently Getting The Data You Need
  • Writing Reproducible Policy Analysis (this one is especially helpful for quant assignments and policy memos!)

Who are these sessions for?

The sessions are tailored to policy students and aimed at all skill levels. We teach people R using the tidyverse, which is an easy and very readable way of coding.

What if you don’t have technical skills?

Whether you’ve got some experience with coding or you have absolutely zero coding skills (which was true for the presenters when they started LBJ), there will be something for you to learn that will be valuable in your career.. If you’ve ever used things like Excel or Google Sheets in the past, you’ll be just fine.

What if you don’t have a ton of time?

What we teach makes a lot of policy work easier. Investing in it now will pay off over the course of your time at LBJ. Also, there’s no homework!

How does this help you as a policy student?

A common goal of policy students is to develop skills for solving meaningful policy problems and be competitive in the job market. Learning data skills can help you accomplish both goals in an exciting and expanding field. There is currently a huge demand for data professionals among nonprofits, consulting firms, think tanks, government institutions, and NGO’s.

Who’s leading these session?

The sessions will be led by two LBJ Alums who came to UT with minimal technical experience and no coding skills, but went on to become experts in data analysis using state-of-the-art tools. Both now work at the LBJ School and lead various data-driven projects and initiatives. Their info is below:

  • Ethan Tenison: Project Manager for Data Initiatives at the RGK Center.
  • Matt Worthington: Senior Project Manager for Data Initiatives at the LBJ School.

What if I have other questions?

Great! Email Matt Worthington ( matthew.worthington@austin.utexas.edu) and Ethan Tenison ( tenison.ethan@austin.utexas.edu) if you are interested in learning more.