Author: Claire Alex

Lynda Requirement – Claire Alex

Early on in the course, I watched the Lynda tutorial on working with basic HTML. This tutorial was very helpful because it gave me my first insight into what it was like to work with HTML code. Before taking this class I did not have any experience with coding. This is why I chose this tutorial. I was a little overwhelmed with the first assignments that incorporated coding so I needed some extra help.

The tutorial helped me be more comfortable altering code. It taught me how to look at a HTML and read it so that it made sense and was not just a bunch of foreign characters. The tutorial showed me how easy it was to alter very specific things on web sites by finding where it was placed in the code. For instance, I was able to see how you might change the text of the heading as well as the color of the font from within the code.

The most important thing I learned for the tutorial is to save often and refresh to make sure that you are making the changes you want to make, while making few mistakes. The tutorial helped me realize that one wrong character of deletion can effect all of the code. This was a valuable lesson that I kept in mind as the assignments for this class got a little more complex.

I will definitely use Lynda again in the future. It was very helpful.

Final Project – Claire Alex

Taking a Look at the 115th Congress

Does the 115th Congress accurately represent the American population? Is it realistic to believe anyone who wants to serve in Congress can? Let’s find out.

First, it will be helpful to understand a little bit about Congress’ history:

Congress has not changed much since its’ founding in the 18th century. However, two notable changes can be seen. Congress has grown, due to overall population growth in the United States, and it has become more diverse. This change in diversity has most notably been seen in the 21st century. While this change has not been significant, since the majority of Congress has been and is still white males, it is still worth noting.

In order to answer the questions posed above, we need to understand the basic demographics of the 115th Congress.

115th Congress Overview
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Next, we need to understand the basic demographics of the United States population as of the 2015 census.

US Population Overview
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Does the 115th Congress accurately reflect the population it represents? The answer is, almost. In terms of religion and race, Congress and the US population seem to have a fairly similar proportion. Protestant and Catholic are the two dominant religions amongst the population and our representatives. In addition, congress is 81.6% white and the US population is 77% white. Where congress varies from the population the most is in gender and education. Women only comprise 20% of Congress, but make up over half of the United States population. The data also shows that Congress is significantly more educated than the American public.

This education gap might be the best explanation for the drastic difference in career paths between everyday Americans and representatives before joining Congress. The majority of the US population has received their high school diploma, but not much schooling beyond that. In comparison, Congress has received significantly more schooling. The majority of Congress has received their Bachelor’s degree and gone on to continue their education with either a Master’s degree, or Law degree. This advanced education is a partial explanation for the elite jobs members of Congress held before being elected to office.

So, is it fair to say that anyone who desires to be a congressional representative may have the opportunity to do so? Not quite. The data suggests women and minorities, especially African Americans, with a Bachelor’s degree or higher have a better shot at winning a congressional election moving forward. As the nation’s demographics change, so do the demographics of Congress…even if it is a few years behind. However, there is no denying the opportunity and privilege that is associated with being a white male. Being a educated, upper class, protestant, white male with political ambitions is still the easiest route to Congress.

The 114th and 115th have been the most diverse set of representatives in the history of Congress. This is a promising trend as we look to the future. It suggests that even though representation in Congress may not accurately portray the diversity in the population, that representation over time will change to more accurately reflect the American electorate.

This point is further proven in this diagram:

Form this we can see that over half of Congress was elected before 2015. To me, this suggests that there is room for even more diversity in Congress down the line. As these representatives, elected in the 1970s and 80s start to retire, their seats will be open to younger and more diverse politicians, which will allow Congress to continue to evolve and become more representative of the American population.

DataViz Project Proposal – Claire Alex

For my final project, I want to outline interesting and helpful facts about the 115th Congress. First, I want to outline where members of Congress went to college and what they studied. I think it will be interesting to chart similar colleges and areas of study. I hope to be surprised by diverse areas of study. From there I can investigate other similarities members of Congress might have including military service or how many bills they have sponsored. My hope is that my project will help people learn more about their representatives and make them seem more relatable. It is also my hope that I will find similarities and coincidences that extend across the ideological aisle. Depending on my findings I might also create a visual that would allow people to see which members of Congress have supported and opposed recent legislation.

I have already gathered a list of all members of Congress including the state the represent and the district for members of the House. I have also indicated their party affiliation. To gather the rest of the information I will visit sites such as,,, and representative’s personal websites. I will also being’s datasets on Congress to help with data collection.

I plan on using inforgram, highcharts, google maps, and possibly timeline to tell this story. I am also looking for another platform help tell this story.

The unknowns I need to flesh out are a possible shortage in access to information. In addition, I might need to come up with another thing to analyze that all members of Congress have in common. Having a number of things I can analyze about Congress will help if I run into a shortage of data on a particular subject.

Assignment 4 – Claire Alex

I thought it would be interesting to compare the number of children in foster boarding homes in five different counties throughout the state of New York from 1994 to 2015. I think the basic line chart displays this data nicely because each county is easily distinguished by a different line color and also easily compared to other counties. The larger counties, Albany and Onondaga, saw the largest decreases in children in foster boarding homes throughout this time period.

Assignment 5 – Claire Alex

This data set from focuses on employment history, based on the 2008 census, and looks at age and the average amount of work experience (in years) a person has, with a college degree or more education.

Average Number of Years Work Experience with a College Degree or More, by Age
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Assignment 3 – Claire Alex

Snapchat Inc. went public on Thursday so I thought it would be interesting to outline the history of the company….especially since my high school was partially responsible for its’ success.

Assignment 2 – Claire Alex

For this excersise I wanted to compare the amount of money private and public colleges in NY state give to their students as a part of the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). For one graph, I filtered the data to only show me 4-year public colleges and universities in NY state. From there, I filtered by year, every year from 2000-2015 and found the sum of the amount of money given using the TAP Recipient Dollars column. Then, I entered in the sum of that year into a separate column to form the irregular pie graph. Once I was done, I followed the same steps filtering for 4-year private colleges and universities in NY state. As I suspected, tuition assistance at public colleges and universities was proportional and grew slightly every year. However, private colleges had no real pattern to how much money they allotted to tuition assistance each year.

Welcome: Your first project
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