Diversified Assets: Expanding the Reach of the MPC

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When Human Resources Associate Mia Riza and Research Associate David Haynes took on the task of creating a diversity program for the MPC in 2015, they looked to their pasts. “I thought of experiences that would have helped me as a student,” says Haynes.

As an undergraduate student, Riza had participated in a diversity program with the Minnesota Historical Society run by Chris Taylor. That program provided a model for fostering professional growth within an academic environment. Haynes and Riza then designed a program that suited the needs of the projects at the MPC. “We thought that a summer opportunity would work best for the Center and also matched students’ needs as they looked for summer internships,” explains Riza, “We want to develop a talent pipeline so that when we have openings later, we have qualified diverse applicants to fill those roles.”

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New Frontiers in Big Data

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By 2020, MPC will make freely available to researchers worldwide 100% count U.S. Census microdata through 1940. This dataset will include over 650 million individual-level (1850-1940) and 7.5 million household-level records (1790-1840). The microdata represents the fruition of longstanding collaborations between MPC and the nation’s two largest genealogical organizations—Ancestry.com and FamilySearch—to leverage genealogical data for scientific purposes.

“The importance of this massive donation of census data would be difficult to overstate,” says MPC Director Steve Ruggles. “This is one of the largest-scale data-entry efforts ever undertaken.”

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