but • ter • fly ef • fect (noun)

(with reference to the chaos theory) the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere

The Butterfly Project is an internship partnership between the Future of Work Initiative, Central High School, and Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. The program both teaches and enhances data science skills and promotes the application of those skills for the cause of social justice and progress.  No experience is required.  


Butterfly Project participants are assigned to groups aligned with the core tenets outlined in the A Path Forward document:  jobs, justice, health, housing, and education. Using real, local data, high school and college students work together with community non-profits to support the nonprofits in their efforts to address systemic inequities that directly impact Louisville residents. Students learn data analytics for the purpose of finding and visualizing existing data that supports their community nonprofit partner, in addition to discussing data gaps. Students also receive additional training on community empowerment through data, the Jemez principles, white fragility, causation vs correlation, and effective science communication to non-academic audiences. 


The Butterfly Project provides the training necessary to support careers in the tech industry for historically underrepresented groups in data/technology fields and provides real assistance for grassroots organizations committed to supporting marginalized groups in Louisville.



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Over the course of the spring semester, ten students from Bellarmine and ten students from Central High School will work together to apply data science, machine learning, and AI directly to a project that addresses systemic inequities. The participants will be divided into five groups of four (with two Bellarmine students and two Central students in each group). The five groups will tackle questions and data related to important community issues of jobs, justice, education, health, or housing.