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WiDSTORY | February 14, 2023

A College Student in Peru Finds Inspiration and Community through WiDS

Tell us about your background.

I was born in Ica, Peru, a city about four hours from Lima. I grew up in a family where most of the members are women, so I’ve had inspiring role models in my grandmothers, aunts, and especially, my mom. They had a great impact on me because they taught me about resilience and empathy through their experiences in life.

I received most of my education (elementary, middle, and high school) in Ica, and then I moved to Lima to continue with my undergraduate studies at Universidad del Pacífico.

How did you get interested in data science?

When I was in school, I really enjoyed programming courses, so I was always looking for something related to this, but I was also very scared of math courses. When I graduated from high school, I still had this mindset where mathematics felt like my enemy, but thanks to my teachers I now have a better relationship with the subject and stopped feeling this way. I became very interested in my information engineering major which combines technology and data analysis and is very related to data science.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m in college and have done an internship as a research assistant at my university’s investigation center. I’ve been working on research papers that involve applying machine learning techniques such as topic modeling and market basket analysis. Some of my projects are focused on humanitarian logistics and nano stores, also known as mom-and-pop stores, and business strategy in Peru.

How did you first discover WiDS?

I discovered WiDS thanks to Professor Mario Chong, who is a WiDS ambassador in Lima, and the workshops that were held at my university this year. The purpose resonated with me, I learned about the workshops that were happening all over the world, the different webinars available on YouTube, and the WiDS datathon. It was astonishing for me because I realized how big this community was and how much they valued the experiences that each member contributes.

Have you been involved with WiDS since that first experience?

I got the opportunity to assist at the WiDS 2022 conference in person and be part of a full day of interesting technical talks, panel discussions, and networking. One of the most memorable presentations from the conference was the one made by Nadia Fawaz and the Pinterest search engine update for doing inclusive searches and recommendations. Such an inspiring innovation. I’m planning to assist and attend the WiDS Stanford conference again on March 8, 2023.

Last year I also participated in the first round of the WiDS datathon with a group of college friends and currently, we are also participating in the second phase of the Excellence in Research Award. It is our first time ever in a datathon and in a research competition, so far it has been a very enriching and challenging experience because we get to see different approaches to solving a problem in an innovative way.

How has WiDS made an impact on your life and/or work?

WiDS has allowed me to be in contact with amazing people that are making a change in their fields and are committed to supporting other women to do so. I would like to share some lessons that were mentioned at the conference that resonated with me:
Keep pushing forward
Don’t do what everyone else is doing, find what matters to you
Make sure you are in the driver’s seat
Bring others with you

What comes next for you? And what are your hopes for women in data science in the future?

My hopes for women in data science are, first, to hit the 30×30 milestone and get more women into technology, programming, and research fields. And second, to continue promoting the message that each of our voices is unique, and how important it is to consider each point of view to develop better solutions to our world’s complex problems.