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Meet the Staff: The Data Analyst

How does the California Teachers Study (CTS) manage a quarter century worth of data from 100,000+ participants and make those data findable, accessible, and useful for research?


Meet Emma Spielfogel.

Back in 2017, Emma—a recent graduate with dual majors in biology and French—emailed one of the CTS Steering Committee members to ask about an internship opportunity. Over the course of that summer, she learned our study management system, developed a form for researchers to specify which data their projects required, and then bid the CTS a brief adieu to work as a teacher at the Académie de Rouen in France.


Since Emma’s return to the CTS in mid-2018 as a full-time member of the team, Emma has been responsible for managing the CTS’ data environment, helping researchers understand the depth & breadth of our study data, and performing study analyses.


In a long-term study like the CTS, the Data Analyst is the behind-the-scenes architect who makes research possible: they resolve data quality issues, recognize the intricacies of the study’s data, and interpret data to reach conclusions. Emma does all this and more for the CTS; she manages our For Researcher platform, serves as the project manager for all our analytic projects, and uses SQL, SAS, R, and Excel to transform and load new data into the CTS Data Warehouse.


Emma has also singlehandedly transformed how the CTS utilizes vizzes—visual representations of data—for epidemiological research. If you’ve ever viewed a graph or chart on the CTS website, you’ve had the chance to experience Emma’s work firsthand. You can also find more of her dynamic creations here.


To make these vizzes more accessible to the research community, Emma is leading the CTS in the launch of our “Viz of the Month” series. Each of these blog posts contains a viz, a summary of the viz’s data, and a link to the code used to create the viz.


Day in and day out, Emma's many magnifique contributions to the CTS are essential to the team's success. Read our first ever Viz of the Month post—and see more of Emma’s work—by clicking here.

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