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WiDS Posts | May 9, 2022

WiDS Datathon Impact 2022

The WiDS Datathon continues to attract beginner data scientists
Many respondents said that the datathon also increased their confidence in their data science abilities; provided access to datasets, tools and platforms; and provided connections to collaborators and mentorship, across continents.

Hear directly from WiDS Datathon participants:
“Our team consisted of 4 women professionals working in the banking industry. We were first time Kagglers… Participating in this datathon has taught me to be patient, perseverance and encouraged to do more! Professionally, we learnt many algorithms that were new to us. Dataset was challenging and at the same time, very interesting as it represents a real world use case.” – Sri Doraiswamy, Charlotte, NC, USA
“It was my great pleasure to work together with the ladies I have teamed up with. I wasn’t really sure if this path is for me, I never really felt confident enough to get out of my comfort zone. We have worked together weekly from different locations of the world. In detail from Mexico, India [based in NYC], Slovakia and Hungary… Some of the team members were experts in data science world and some of us were not, but it was for sure our mission to help each other improve on this field since it seems not too many ladies are involved in this field yet. We knew from the beginning that we are not in this competition to win, and to be honest I have learned much more from it in the end. I got to see where I need to be involved and that I always have support if I feel stuck or lost. If I would have the chance to start all over again I would. And thank you all for giving me the opportunity to be the part of this great event and meet with all of these excellent people!” – Laura Orgona, Budapest, Hungary
“I barely had any confidence in my data science and machine learning skills, but after competing in WiDS I am now confident that I can work in any data science department and I am sure I can learn any new data science skills in a very efficient manner. I also received multiple new job opportunities after posting about my WiDS participation” – ​Fayez Abulenein, Amman, Jordan
The WiDS Datathon provides awareness to climate change impact
This year’s theme of Climate Change resonated with contestants across the globe. Participants spoke about the relevance and urgency of this topic, and how excited they were to gain skills in this multifaceted domain.
“Coming from a rural part of India where women participate in science very little, WiDS Datathon is a wonderful incentive for Women pursuing science. Attending web conferences changed the perspective of climate change and its negative impacts on our future lives. I am very happy that we were able to contribute to analyzing the problem bringing change regarding energy consumption.” – Aishwarya Hegde, Hubli, India​
“This year’s hackathon was a cause that I am passionate about – Help preserve the environment and mitigate climate change. I learnt so much about the impact of the energy usage in buildings and how we could use this to plan and mitigate climate crisis.” – Suganthi Giridharan, Cincinnati Ohio
The WiDS Datathon fosters team collaboration and mentorship
WiDS Ambassadors hosted 40+ WiDS Datathon workshops in over 22 countries, fostering participation and providing mentorship opportunities, collaboration, and interaction amongst beginner and advanced data scientists, within their communities. Many WiDS ambassadors were instrumental in helping data science participants submit their first models to Kaggle. You can read about many of the workshop highlights, shared directly by ambassadors.

A stay-at-home-mom workshop attendee from the WiDS Silicon Valley workshop shares,
​​”I was a Java application developer for 7 years and a stay-at-home mom now. I was interested in the data science field from my engineering days but couldn’t learn or develop skill sets due to other priorities. Now with the more available online learning platforms, I started learning data science oriented skills one by one. The WiDS Datathon gave an opportunity to attend workshops (by WiDS Silicon Valley) and gained many insights and knowledge from industry experts…It was my first Kaggle competition and I was happy when I successfully submitted the code for the first time. It was an eye open, and I am planning to try for more Kaggle competitions ” – Ramya Deverajan, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
WiDS Datathon winners share results and tell their stories
After the WiDS Datathon 2022 leaderboard closed, WiDS Datathon Committee Member Maggie Demkin of Kaggle arranged for a series of calls with the first, second, and third place winners to learn more about their experiences and approaches to the competition. Recordings of these conversations are now available so that everyone can learn from the winners:
1st place: ZUJM (France & India): Usha Rengaraju, Jerome Dadu, Mathurin Aché, Zeineb GHRIB
2nd place: Dihydrogen Oxide (USA): Kim Montgomery
3rd place: Gradient Boosted Math Ladies (USA): Emily Osborn, Cheng Zhang, Heidi Cronkright, Chloe Bruce

In their interviews, all three winning teams talked about the WiDS Datathon being highly accessible to beginners. They also talked about the role of the Datathon in keeping current with the latest developments in the field.

​​The WiDS Datathon supports continued exploration in data science research
The winners above were among over 800 teams that competed in the WiDS Datathon 2022. This year, over 250 WiDS Datathon participants will continue to extend their participation, submitting research papers as part of the Excellence in Research Award (Phase II). In Phase II, we broaden our focus to examine the impacts of climate change across multiple domains. Participants have the opportunity to choose to explore one dataset among several, spanning sectors including healthcare, energy and environmental protection. Participants also have opportunities to take deeper dives into their dataset and tackle a range of impactful real-world tasks.

To continue to support beginners, we offer hands-on office hours to Phase II participants, where they receive mentorship from experts in the domain related to their choice of dataset and task. Domain expert mentorship in Phase II allows participants to continue strengthening their foundational data science skills as well as develop skills needed to conduct research in data science.

Phase II papers will be submitted on June 30th, and reviewed by a judging panel. Winners will be announced over the summer.

Thank you!
A big thank you to all of the WiDS Datathon participants! Subscribe to the WiDS Datathon newsletter to get the latest updates on the datathon competition.