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FYS 505B - Bates STEM Scholars: Getting Started with Research

Professor Katy Ott

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Bates STEM Scholars Library Resources

A Collection of Resources that Might Get You Started in Your Search for an Inspiring STEM Professional:

Penn Reading Project 2019-2020 : Weapons of Math Destruction

Penn State Libraries created an excellent guide to Cathy O'Neil's book "Weapons of Math Destruction" to support their 2019-2020 Reading Project.  There is a good chance you will find resources related to your "STEM Dilemma" there:

Penn Reading Project 2019-2020 : Weapons of Math Destruction


Chapter 3. Arms Race-Going to College

Examples of Issues Addressed

  • U.S. News and World Report's College Ranking System
  • Affects of Rankings on Colleges
    • Pressure to "Game the System"
  • Affects of Rankings on Students
    • Pressure to be accepted to the "best" possible school
    • Pressure to buy into an expensive "college prep" culture and the inability of many to do so
  • The "Flutie Effect"
  • Opaque metrics (e.g. how are various criteria weighted? Is cost factored in? Post graduation success?  How long post graduation?)
  • The use of proxies as a measure of quality

Potential Resources


Chapter 5. "Civilian Casualties: Justice in the Age of Big Data"

Examples of Issues Addressed

  • Predictive Policing (i.e. Predpol) Software
    • Using historical crime type, crime location, and crime date and time to "forecast" future crime
  • Observational feedback loop (i.e. the more focus you give a particular geographic area or demographic, the more crime you "discover", resulting more attention and more "discoveries")
  • Unequal application of WMD's
  • Community policing vs. WMD policing

Potential Resources


Chapter 8. "Collateral Damage: Landing Credit"

Examples of Issues Addressed

  • e-scores / credit scores
  • proxies vs. more directly relevant descriptors
  • group generalizations vs. individual assessment

Potential Resources


Chapter 9. "No Safe Zone: Getting Insurance"

Examples of Issues Addressed

  • potentially intrusive workplace "Wellness Programs" and insurance rates
  • personal finances as a proxy for driving skills and driving history and car insurance rates

Potential Resources


Chapter 10. "The Targeted Citizen: Civic Life"

Examples of Issues Addressed

  • Potential influence of social media on political elections

Potential Resources

Some of the extensive and searchable newspaper collections available at Bates:

Below are links to examples of several of the extensive and searchable newspaper collections available at Bates.

Find even more from the "Online Collections" button on the library home page:

  • Select "Online Collections", "Browse by Type", and then "News and Newspapers".

Historical Newspaper Collections:


Historical through Present Newspaper Collections:


Individual Newspapers: