DASH Summer Research - University of Houston
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George "Trey" Pharis Fellowship Program

During summer 2020, Data Analytics in Student Hands (DASH) will engage 20 undergraduate students in a full-time, 10-week, paid research experience through the George “Trey” Pharis Fellowship Program. Guided by faculty mentors and research staff, Pharis fellows will conduct research projects focused on the application of data science principles and techniques to improve understanding of social determinants of health (SDoH) within Houston communities. These projects will be completed in the context of ongoing work through the University of Houston Community Health Worker Initiative (CHWI) and faculty research in the use of hypergraph modeling and other data science visualizations. Through these connections, students will have opportunities to interact and learn directly from CHWs embedded in Houston’s Third Ward and East End communities and to contribute building blocks to ongoing faculty research projects.  The 2020 Pharis Fellowship Program is sponsored by the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute.

Program Terms & Expectations
The Pharis Fellowship Program is a full-time research experience completed over a 10-week period during the summer of 2020. Fellows are expected to fully engage with program activities, including attending regularly scheduled learning and working sessions (e.g. seminars, brown bag lunches), attending a program orientation session during spring 2020, preparing at least one scholarly publication or presentation based on work conducted during the program (e.g. presenting a poster for Undergraduate Research Day), and participate in ongoing activities to document program participation (e.g. ePortfolios, program surveys). Participation in a Pharis Fellowship is generally not compatible with additional outside employment or summer coursework, but students interested in a Pharis Fellowship are encouraged to discuss specific circumstances with the program committee.

UPDATE: The 2020 Pharis Fellowship program will be conducted entirely online. Program expectations (e.g. full-time commitmen for 10-weeks) and support (e.g. stipends) remain unchanged.

Eligibility and Applications 
All undergraduate students at University of Houston are eligible to apply regardless of major or college affiliation. Fellowships will be awarded to continuing UH undergraduates  with at least a 3.0 GPA. Students graduating in spring or summer 2020 are not eligible. Applications for the 2020 Pharis Fellowship will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will continue until available positions are filled. Students are encouraged to submit applications before Friday, April 17, 2020 and will be contacted by the selection committee to provide additional information as need.


About Hypergraphs

Venn DiagramHypergraphs are often used in machine learning and artificial intelligence to represent complex causal systems. They are an extension of the more common idea of a network graph – like the social networks familiar from online platforms like Facebook – but instead of just having single relations with others as friends, you can have many-layered and complex relations. It’s more like sets of overlapping Venn diagrams than a connect the dot.

Most importantly, you can use hypergraphs to represent the ways intentionally directed activities support the relationships, making the connections themselves stronger and not just doing something with one person at a time. This is extremely important in the world of community health, where it’s been very hard to show the value of community relationships. And if we can show how to place a value on the relationships, and what it means to demonstrate that community has been made stronger, we can help identify existing strengths in the community and model strategies and interventions with community strengths already in mind. In other words, we can do what we set out to do, and have our students drive the transformation through engagement and the hands-on use of data analytics.

George "Trey" Pharis

About George “Trey” Pharis III

George S. Pharis III (Trey) is a University of Houston alumnus (Philosophy ’11) and worked as an information technology staff member in the UH Honors College until his passing in 2017. Trey was involved in the initial discussions and planning for the DASH program and had a particular interest in graph theory, which has helped to shape past and current DASH projects. As a poet, musician, and writer with interests ranging from social justice to number theory, Trey exemplified the intellectual curiosity and open worldview we hope to inspire in our students.


Pharis Fellows

  • 2019 Summer Pharis Fellows

    2019 Summer Pharis Fellows

    Student Names


    Layla Shawareb

    Using SAM to Model the Prevalence of Preeclampsia, its Risk Factors and Mortality

    Kishon Joseph

    Understanding Preeclampsia, Through Community Outreach, to Suggest Possible Interventions

    Sarah Ahmed

    Alleviating the Maternal Mortality Epidemic Caused by Preeclampsia Through CHW Based Interventions

    Amber Nguyen

    Modeling Asthma and Interventions with DAG Models

    Juventino Valdez

    SAM City: Simulating Asthma in Harris County

    Surbhi Gupta

    Index Classification of Asthmatic Triggers and Pollutants

    Nicholas Randall

    Air Pollution

    Christine Pham

    Evaluation of PEERS

    Anut Kandhadai

    Be Free. Beat H. Pylori. (DAG and SAM Modeling)

    Christina Gilgorova

    Be Free. Beat H. Pylori. (DAG and SAM Modeling)

    Deborah Isola

    Be Free. Beat H. Pylori. (Intervention)

    Helen Nguyen

    Food Insecurity