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WiDSTORY | January 17, 2024

Maheen Hasib Ignites Data Science Passion: Empowering the Next Generation

Tell us about your background.

As the Program Director for a Data Sciences program, my professional responsibilities extend beyond program management to direct educational involvement. I actively teach data science subjects, providing students with hands-on learning experiences through project-based learning. My role also encompasses promoting data science in high school outreach programs, where I conduct workshops and talks to enhance students’ awareness of the field. A key aspect of my outreach is encouraging diversity in data science, particularly through visiting girls-only schools to inspire female students to pursue careers in this dynamic field. By combining teaching, project supervision, and educational outreach, I aim to nurture a well-rounded, inclusive, and skilled future generation in the world of data science.

In what ways have you seen others in your community affected by your WiDS events?

One of the most significant effects has been the inspiration and motivation it has instilled in high school students. Through these events, many students have developed a keen interest in data science, evidenced by their active participation in our open days and their growing curiosity about the field. Additionally, my direct involvement in teaching at the university level has influenced my students, most of whom are in their final year, to undertake projects related to data science.

How has your work with WiDS influenced your life and career? 

Conducting workshops and participating in school outreach programs as part of WiDS has deepened my commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in data science. Organizing and conducting the WiDS conference in May was a pivotal moment in my career. It allowed me to collaborate with a diverse group of professionals and academics, expanding my professional network and exposing me to new ideas and approaches in data science.

What are you eager to do in the future for your communities?

Continue working to inspire women/girls in this field.

What were the most successful aspects of your WiDS 2023 events?

I conducted the Data Dig workshop, a vibrant initiative that introduced over 40 school students to data science through practical examples and interactive activities. We kicked off with discussions on data science’s impact in industries like gaming, Netflix, and sports, resonating with the students’ interests. The first activity, in collaboration with Stanford University WiDS NextGen, Data 2 the People, and Heriot Watt University, focused on data analysis and visualization using Google Sheets, where students practiced data cleaning, graphing, and analyzing YouTube video trends. Building on this, they engaged in a creative group project for Activity 2, developing a one-page poster for their own TV serial concept using a provided dataset. This approach not only fostered enthusiasm and teamwork but also enhanced their understanding of data science. The workshop concluded with overwhelmingly positive feedback, with students valuing the blend of theory and practical application, especially enjoying the empowerment of demonstrating their skills. Overall, it was a highly successful event that effectively ignited interest in data science among the next generation.

The two schools who participated in the workshop were:

GEMS Wellington International School, Dubai
The Central School, Dubai. (Girls school)

Learn more about Maheen Hasib.