Research and Analyses Initiatives (RAI)

About the Program

The Research and Analyses Initiatives (RAI) program provides undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to work with real data. RAI provides a valuable service to the EKU community, as RAI consultants are students specifically trained to support students, faculty, and staff on research and analysis projects. RAI follows best practices in data science that will improve how researchers across campus think about data collection, data visualization, and data analysis. The RAI team is interdisciplinary in that consultants across departments work together on each project to generate a high quality end product. Through the RAI program students gain valuable experience, develop their technical skills, and improve their chances of accessing high quality jobs in an increasingly data-driven world. 


RAI Consultant Expectations

RAI consultants work on research and analyses projects under the mentorship of graduate students and faculty members. Students work in a tier system in which junior consultants (first semester undergraduate students) are mentored by senior consultants (second semester undergraduate students). Furthermore, consultants are assigned to projects in teams with two undergraduates and one graduate student. The faculty member(s) coordinates different teams assigned to different projects. The expectations for the consultant include: 

  • Meet once per week with the RAI team 

  • Participate in the monthly meetings of the R User Group

  • Participate in training and professional development

  • Meet with researchers requesting a consultation in the Noel Studio

  • Work side-by-side with mentors to complete projects with real data

  • Cleaning, reviewing, visualizing, analyzing, and reporting data

  • Complete the tasks assigned by the graduate student and faculty mentor

  • Work with mentors to produce a “deliverable” for each project


Program Details

Consultants will be trained on best practices regarding data collection, data visualization, and statistical analyses. The RAI goals are:

  • To expose students to real datasets to improve their research and analytical skills.

  • To facilitate the collection, maintenance, and access to data.  

  • To provide broad institutional support for conducting research. 

  • To create an infrastructure to provide analytical support in a sustained manner. 

  • To find external clients that pay discounted rates as students are doing most of the work. 

RAI Consultants work 7-12 hours per week. Weekly schedules will be set in advance before the semester begins and include:

  • Attend RAI meetings (1 hour per week)

  • Seminar (1 hour per week)

  • Consulting and project development (5-10 hours per week)

Schedules will be set in advance in collaboration with the Noel Studio, graduate students, and faculty mentors.


Become a RAI Consultant

Please email Dr. Russell Carpenter, Executive Director of the Noel Studio, if you are interested in applying for RAI positions in the future.