Social Good with Data: Splunk for Splunkterns

This summer, University Recruiting teamed up with Splunk for Good and the Splunk Education Team to host the annual Splunk for Splunkterns competition. With 50 participating Splunkterns, teams were tasked to use Splunk and data for social good, focusing on Covid-19 and social justice issues. Read on for more in this guest blog post from our Corporate Communications Intern, Elly Lee. 

Using Data to Promote Social Good? Count Me In! 

I’m Elly, Splunk’s Corporate Communications Intern. Without a doubt, this experience was definitely one of the highlights of my internship. Not only was it a great way to meet other Splunkterns and learn how to use Splunk, but it was also an opportunity to make an impact on important issues.

From projects on disproportionate internet access to voter suppression in America, Splunkterns used Splunk to gain data-driven insights on real-world issues. Here’s what some of our teams had to say about their experiences. 

What is the social issue your team is focusing on and why did your team choose it?
Pwny Pollers:
With the recent tragic events fueled by racism across our country and the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election, we wanted to look at the problem of racial inequality from the lens of voter restriction and disenfranchisement. We felt inspired to look into data and find trends on whether all people could make their political voices heard.

Horse Girls: We’re studying the impact of historical redlining from the 1930s on present-day public school systems in U.S. cities. The topic of redlining has gained notable public attention following the surge of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. While officially outlawed over 50 years ago, redlining continues to harm minority communities as a form of systemic racism. As students ourselves, we were interested to learn its impact on U.S. school systems.

If you were to describe your experience in three words, what would they be and why? Meanwhile in Florida: Our team would describe our experience as amazing, inspiring, and enlightening. We chose these words to show that anything is possible if you set your mind, heart, and brain to it. Overall, our experience was incredibly fun. In such a short period of time, our team truly became forever colleagues. #goteam

Team Fake News: Fun, interesting, challenging. We had a great time learning how to use Splunk to solve problems in the real context and drive insights from data. It also gave us a great opportunity to meet, chat and collaborate with Splunkterns in other roles. While we did run into some challenges, we eventually found ways to overcome them.

What advice would you give to future Splunkterns who are interested in participating? 
Start early on the project because the deadline sneaks up on you. One of our challenges was finding times that worked for everyone and making sure everyone's opinions were taken into account. However, despite the challenges associated with working virtually, we all worked really well with each other and met weekly to stay on top of everything. Also, set time aside to get to know your teammates outside of the project. Have fun and don't stress about it! 


Data Spelunkers!: Have a strong solid idea of what you want to focus on. There are so many datasets out there and so many cool ways of visualizing the data that it’s really easy to go overboard and stretch yourself too thin. Focusing on a couple of big datasets and really trying to find interesting trends will be more fulfilling.

Horse Girls: Everyone should participate in Splunk for Splunkterns — whether or not you have a technical background. It’s a great chance to go out of your comfort zone and meet other interns. Additionally, this project provides you with the opportunity to leverage the power of the Data-to-Everything Platform to work on a social issue that’s important to you, exemplifying data’s ability to change the world.

For more information on Splunk for Good, follow our Twitter @SplunkForGood.

About the Contributing Splunk for Splunkterns Teams:

Pwny Pollers used Splunk to see if there were any patterns or correlations between voter suppression and race.

Horse Girls used Splunk to analyze the impact of historical redlining from the 1930s on present-day public school systems in U.S. cities.

Meanwhile in Florida used Splunk to visualize where the Covid-19 hotspots are over time, location, and other factors in an effort to make people understand the gravity of the pandemic in Florida.

Team Fake News used Splunk to look at if online misinformation (Google/Twitter) regarding Covid-19 precautions result in an increase in cases.

Data Spelunkers! used Splunk to visualise the effect coronavirus is having on these communities, what kind of community is affected the most, and how they are susceptible to it.

Magenta™ used Splunk to look at what the current and projected COVID-19 job markets look like.

Katia Ratkovich
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Katia Ratkovich

Katia is Splunk’s Global University Recruiting Manager. She is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to attract and retain top university graduates to create a diverse, global workforce. Additionally, she focuses on how university recruiting plays a critical role in achieving a diverse and inclusive environment and co-leads the planning some of Splunk's major diversity initiatives. Katia is a member of Splunk’s Women in Technology group and sits on the D&I counsel. 

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