2 students stand next to each other facing the camera
April 07, 2023


Ms. Greenberg’s Workshop students are exploring how data visualization furthers their understanding of inequalities
by Julian ’23, Workshop 12 student
A student post from Workshop 12*

“What do you guys want to do?”

That was one of the very first things Ms. Greenberg asked us as she introduced her vision for our group: Visualizing Inequality. I was a bit shocked. I’d never had a teacher ask me what I wanted to study, nor how I wanted to study it. Looking around the room, I could see that many of my groupmates felt the same way. At that moment, I realized this was exactly what the Workshop is all about. Approaching learning in a new way. Inherently, it seems simple to simply pick something of interest and go off to follow it. Yet, that was one of the many things traditional schooling had never taught me to do.

That day, and much of our time together so far, has been spent in pursuit of an answer to that question. We’ve been reading articles, which include a variety of different data visualizations, that use data to describe inequality in many fields, including housing, gender, health and economic inequality. These articles have taken many forms, from recapping landmark studies or books in their respective field, to simply describing an author’s opinion on a certain issue, such as poverty or the pay gap, backed up with both quantitative and qualitative evidence.

To guide us toward our next step as a group, whatever that may be, we spoke with Ms. Nork—a teaching fellow in the history department—about her senior thesis on the local gas leak in 2018, as well as her research process. Together, we walked through her methodology for conducting interviews and analyzing her qualitative data, before "coding" excerpts from her interviews.

Speaking with Ms. Nork is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the unique opportunities myself and my peers have been provided with during these first two weeks in the Workshop. In the coming weeks, we plan to take a trip to Opportunity Insights in Cambridge to learn more about data collection, visualization, and how to best connect inequality and data to spread the message we want to share.

When I signed up for the Workshop, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Upon walking into the Tang Institute on the first day, I discovered all of my peers, and even some of the teachers, felt the same. In working to figure out what I want my learning to be like, and how best to achieve that, I believe I’m starting to learn something perhaps more important than anything I’ve studied so far in school: who I am and what’s important to me. All in all, I couldn’t be more excited for what’s next.

The "Inequality Visualized" group includes Abby ’23, Austin ’23, Michelle ’23, Victoria ’23, and Julian ’23.



Each spring term, the Workshop welcomes approximately 20 seniors to this interdisciplinary, project-based course. With an eye toward reimagining what school can be, the Workshop is the senior’s only academic commitment for the entire term. Instead of splitting their time and attention into units of distinct courses and fields of study, they work closely with peers, faculty, and community and global partners on a series of linked, interdisciplinary projects that revolve around a single theme. Within the theme Experiments in Education, students explore areas of personal interest.

During the first few weeks of the term, students are working on one of four faculty-led projects. We feature blog posts by students during this time.

  • Inequality Visualized (led by Ellen Greenberg, instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science)
  • Listening to the Buddhists in Our Backyard (led by Andy Housiaux, instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies; director of the Tang Institute)
  • With Liberty and Health for All: “Humanities for Public Health” (led by Corrie Martin, instructor in English)
  • (Re)creating Kerouac: From Jean-Louis to Jack (led by Gene Hughes, instructor in French)


The Tang Institute at Phillips Academy is a center for teaching, learning, and partnership. To learn more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Notes on Learning.

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