Whether it’s a doctor diagnosing and treating a complex medical condition, a financial institution determining who qualifies for a loan, or even your favorite streaming service suggesting which movie you should watch next, the science of Data influences many decisions that impact our lives.
With data at the heart of almost everything we do every day, the field of data science is booming. Yet women remain woefully underrepresented among data science workers, in the United States and around the world. According to a 2021-22 report by recruitment data and analytics firm Harnham, only 27% of industry professionals are women.
So how can we change the representation of women in data science – and why does it even matter?
That’s the topic of discussion for “Inspiring Diversity in Data Science: A Worldwide Movement,” the next event in the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s data science lecture series. Held in partnership with Virginia Tech, the event is scheduled for Thursday, September 29 at 1 p.m. Registration is mandatory.
This virtual event features keynote speaker Judy Logan, co-director of the Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference at Stanford University. Logan will explain why she and her colleagues at Stanford launched the Women in Data Science initiative and how the global WiDS community is working to increase the representation of women in the field.
Aimed to inspire and educate data scientists nationwide – regardless of gender – and support women in the field, Women in Data Science began as a one-day technical conference in 2015. It is has since grown into a global movement with a number of global initiatives. , including a datathon, podcast series, educational outreach program and workshop series.
Women in Data Science’s flagship initiative is its global conference, which features more than 200 regional events in more than 60 countries, reaching 100,000 attendees each year. Virginia Tech joined the movement in 2019, with the first Women in Data Science Blacksburg conference held that spring. Planning for the WiDS Blacksburg 2023 event is underway.
After Logan’s presentation, a group of panelists – all women working in data science – will discuss in more detail the progress they’ve seen in the field, what they see as the keys to success, and the challenges. which remain to be addressed.
Angie Patterson, who is co-director of the Computer Modeling and Data Analytics Capstone Program at Virginia Tech and became a WiDS Ambassador in 2021, will moderate the event.
Poornima Ramaswamy, chief transformation officer at Qlik, and Radha Sambasivan, vice president of software development at Mastercard, will also join the roundtable.
“Throughout my 30-year career in the industry, I’ve felt comfortable often being the only female team member, but eventually I started to ask myself, ‘What is what’s wrong with this photo?'” Patterson said. “The professional development of women in STEM fields has become a personal passion, and now, as a professor in the Department of Statistics, helping to build the pipeline of future statisticians and data scientists has my full attention.”
The NVTC Data Science Lecture Series was launched in 2021 in partnership with the Virginia Tech Academy of Data Science to show the impact of data science in the modern era. Previous topics have included the reality and future of data science and the sports analytics revolution.
“Virginia Tech is very pleased to partner with the Northern Virginia Technology Council to present this latest event in its data science conference series,” said Tom Woteki, director of the 2020-founded Academy of Data Science. “We are proud to be able to highlight the contributions of women in all STEM fields, including data science.