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Lisa Bates, Bailey Hanson, Christopher Seeger and Rakesh Shah

Author: Lauren Johnson | Image: Lauren Johnson

“Mapping the Diversity of Languages Spoken in Iowa to Improve Services” is the National winner in the Educational Technology category of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) 2023 awards.

The team includes Christopher Seeger, professor of landscape architecture and extension landscape architect; ISU Extension and Outreach GIS systems analysts Bailey Hanson and Rakesh Shah; and Lisa Bates, extension to communities assistant director.

“Mapping the Diversity of Languages Spoken in Iowa to Improve Services” sets out to quantify how many different languages are spoken in Iowa and where they are spoken. Attempts to answer this question have resulted in the creation of a new dashboard on the Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) website titled “Languages Spoken in Iowa.” The idea to create a database for this information emerged during the 2021 Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG) Young Scholars Program. Two DSPG teams led by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development’s (CED) Data and Technology team were conducting projects for the Iowa DHR on the topics of educational attainment and workforce development for under-represented Iowans. It became evident that having a better understanding of the languages spoken in Iowa would be a valuable data set.