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County College of Morris students win two of three awards in National Data Fest competition

RANDOLPH TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – A group of students at County College of Morris, calling themselves the Tidy Titans, recently crushed the American Statistical Association (ASA) national Data Fest competition for community colleges, winning both Best in Show and Best Use of Statistical Analysis.

Coming up winners, earning two of three awards, were Dylan Jay, of Mendham; Paul Cohen, of Morris Plains; Angela Cavalli, of Dover; Maxwell Bilyk, of Lake Hopatcong; and Zach Herman, of Denville, all students in CCM’s Data Analytics Certificate Program.

In the weekend-long competition, the CCM team analyzed data provided by the Yale School of Medicine, consisting of 2 million rows and 131 columns, to determine how Elm City Stories – a game-based program to teach adolescents about making good decisions and avoiding risky behavior – can identify at-risk students.

“Dylan led the team, plowing through the data dictionaries and figuring out what all the codes meant,” says Professor Kelly Fitzpatrick. “Paul spent time helping everyone better understand the games and did a great job demoing the games for the class. Max programmed the analysis in Python, while Angela and Zach worked in R. The team then spent five hours on Sunday finalizing their results. They choose to perform cluster analysis in Tableau after tiding the data in R/Python.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such a talented team of students for this competition,” says Cavalli of her experience competing in Data Fest. “I have been learning R this semester in Professor Fitzpatrick’s Data Science class, which proved to be very useful to tidy the data we received and present a meaningful takeaway. The experience has motivated me to take my coding skills to the next level.”

Data Fest was founded in 2011 and has grown into a popular and intense competition for undergraduate students from around the nation. “We are so very proud of our students and the knowledge and the skills they have gained,” says Fitzpatrick.

CCM offers a credited certificate program in data analytics. Recognizing the high demand for data analysts, Fitzpatrick applied for and received a $235,000 National Science Foundation grant in 2020 to launch the program. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that data analytic jobs will grow 34 percent by 2026.

The CCM Data Analytics Certificate consists of five courses for a total of 16 credits that can be completed over the course of two semesters. Students in the program learn R, Tableau, Python and SQL programming languages and are qualified to pursue immediate employment upon earning their certificate. No prior experience in statistics or computer programming is necessary as the program includes an entry level course in Python and lower-level math pre-requisite statistics and data science courses.

To learn more, visit

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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