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WiDS Posts | March 22, 2023

WiDS Datathon Workshop Highlights 2023

The WiDS Datathon is a community-driven program that encourages  all data science enthusiasts to hone their data science skills. This year, the WiDS Datathon social impact challenge was focused on climate change. Dozens of WiDS ambassadors hosted WiDS Datathon workshops where they helped their communities to get started on Kaggle, form teams, get mentorship, and even submit their first models.

Read about the highlights of the WiDS Datathon Workshops that were conducted in 2023:

WiDS Jordan
WiDS Jordan 2023
WiDS Jordan was held on February 25, 2023, at the Abd Alhameed Shoman Foundation, with over 300 attendees. The conference combined talks with a datathon workshop focused on the latest trends and insights in big data, data science, and extreme weather forecasts, making it an enriching experience for all participants.

Esteemed speakers and mentors Dr.Zaher Ali Al-Sai, Lina AbuKaraki, Lina Al Smadi, Hana’ AL-Theiabat, Abeer Albashiti, Samer Sammour, MSBA, and Mohammad Al-Shaker made this event a success by covering various topics such as leveraging big data and analytics for a safer future, creating business value using machine learning and data science, time series analysis for weather forecasting, predicting earthquakes in the age of big data, emotion AI, and astronomy with data science. We also had an engaging discussion panel on the data science roadmap and career advice.

​WiDS Guayaquil @ ESPOL
WiDS Guayaquil-espol 2023
The WiDS Guayaquil @ ESPOL datathon workshop was an exciting learning opportunity for all attendees who were beginners in data science. Over the course of the workshop, around 35 attendees learned the fundamentals of data analysis, visualization, and modeling. They were taught how to work with Python, one of the most popular programming languages for data science, and how to use Python libraries such as Pandas, Matplotlib, Seaborn and Scikit-learn.

The workshop was designed around a hands-on approach. At the last day of the workshops, attendees had to build a solution for the WIDS Datathon challenge. Using the skills they had learned, attendees worked in teams to analyze the WiDS datathon dataset, build models, and submit their solution. They also learned how to use Kaggle, a popular platform for data science competitions. By the end of the workshop, attendees gained a better understanding of how to manipulate, analyze, and visualize data, how to build machine learning models using Python, and how to participate in data science competitions using Kaggle. They were also equipped with the skills to continue learning and growing their expertise in data science.

WiDS @ MathWorks
WiDS @ MathWorks hosted four sessions of their WiDS Datathon workshop in early February to help teach participants how they can use MATLAB for data science and climate science problems. All events were held virtually, and were open to everyone around the world, with sessions at different times to accommodate a variety of time zones. Participants first learned about this year’s challenge and its global impact, then they learned about machine learning at a high level. The second half of the workshop then focused on how anyone can get started with MATLAB to explore the dataset and start creating solution models. Presenters across all four sessions included Grace Woolson, Katie Davenport, Lipi Vora, Megumi Fukuda, Nayara Gomes de Aguiar, Nazneen Kotwal, Neha Sardesai, Nikita Pinto, Richa Naik, and Sathya Chikoti.

If you are curious about this workshop, you can find a recording, slides, and further resources here.

WiDS Ajmer
WiDS Ajmer 2023
The WiDS Ajmer datathon workshop was held at CURAJ. The event provided a way for students to showcase their data analytics skills, and helped them gain valuable experience in a real-world setting, promoting a culture of innovation and problem solving among students.

The workshop included 11 teams, with 4 participants on each team, including 5 teams from Birla Global University, Bhuvneshwar, The ICFAI University, Jaipur, and Govt Women Engineering College Ajmer. Two teams from the Department of Statistics, CURAJ, and four teams from the Department of Data Science and Computer Science, CURAJ, also participated.

Dr. Maneet Singh, Director of Data Science at AI Garage, was the guest speaker. Industry mentors were assigned to each team to guide them through the competition. These include Mr. Siddhesh Menon, Jr. Data Science Practitioner at Infibeam Avenues Ltd., Mr. Ankit Yadav, Data Analyst at Courses5 Intelligence, and Mr. Trailokesh Mohanty, Associate Data Scientist at Course5 Intelligence. Three teams received the “Best Performance” award for their outstanding performance.

WiDS Al-Kharj @PSAU
WiDS al-kharj-psau 2023
Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University organized a WiDS Al-Kharj @ PSAU datathon workshop on February 12 and 13, 2023, sponsored by His Excellency the University President, Prof. Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Talhi.

During the opening of the datathon workshop, the people there watched a visual presentation about women’s initiatives in data science and the latest research and practices in countries around the world and the Middle East.

WiDS Ambassador, Dr. Elham Kariri, delivered a presentation entitled “Women’s Initiative in Data Science from the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” in which she highlighted the importance of data science in decision-making and touched on working on the global challenge of climate change for the year 2023 from the perspective of data science. She confirmed that the university was determined to build a sophisticated environment to be a pioneer in encouraging advanced technology. Another WiDS ambassador,  Dr. Fatma Masmoudi, presented an overview of WiDS Al-Kharj @PSAU and highlighted the importance of building bridges of communication between the participants in the event. With their different scientific, literary, and even engineering specializations, she also presented an introductory overview of the global challenge for the year 2023 AD in climate change and its requirements, and finally expressed her deep thanks and appreciation to the participants and the people who made the forum successful.

The forum includes several dialogue sessions with the participation of a number of university faculty members and training workshops presented by a group of specialized experts on data science and its role in the lives of contemporary women. The first day included holding two dialogue sessions entitled “Data Science in Education” and “The Role of Data Science in Healthcare Developments,” through which the attendees were briefed on the latest research and applications related to data science in a number of fields and provided with relevant ideas.

​WiDS Azerbaijan
WiDS azerbaijan 2023
WiDS Ambassador Saida Alipanahova was thrilled to host WiDS Azerbaijan datathon workshop with the participation of Azerbaijan Technical University women students.  The event helped participants to be a part of the ongoing Women in Data Science initiative,  assisted students to prepare  for and adapt to extreme weather events caused by climate change. The workshop also clarified what data science is to the participating students.

WiDS Bennington
WiDS Bennington 2023 WiDS Bennington-2 2023
The WiDS Bennington datathon workshop was held at Bennington College and its main objective was to introduce data science to beginners. The group of 30 attendees was a selection of curious minds that came with the energy to tackle the issue of climate change with Python.

The workshop started with a presentation by WiDS ambassador, Niki Karanikola, to show what the day in the life of a data scientist is like and to debunk myths. The participants also talked about the differences between data science, machine learning, and deep learning. A hands-on-work challenge was later given to learn how to use python modules like pandas, numpy, and Google Colab. The remainder of the datathon workshop was dedicated to introducing participants to Kaggle and the WiDS Datathon challenge 2023.

As one participant expressed, “ I appreciated the comfortable atmosphere that existed that day. As a beginner in computer science, I was nervous about my own skill and the skill level of others. Niki was so helpful and informative and even reached out to my friends and me with additional learning resources.”

​WiDS Cambridge
WiDS cambridge-datathon 2023
WiDS co-ambassador Arushi, along with her co-leads Sharut and Luana from MIT, and a team of superb mentors hosted the WiDS Cambridge datathon workshop; a machine learning workshop for females and their allies in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The diverse audience included people from policy-making to genomics, from mechanical engineering to environmental sciences, from astrophysics to product management all together to gear up for this inevitable era of Generative AI. We went over an interesting data science problem on Climate Change, with some beginner and advanced-level solutions through deep learning.

Special thanks to WiDS ambassadors Amy and Cathy for being great cheerleaders, and Microsoft NERD for allowing us to conduct the workshop and Women in Data Science (WiDS) Worldwide at their NERD center.

More information here:

WiDS Chapman University
Assistant Professor and WiDS Ambassador, Chelsea Parlett, held a 1 unit seminar that focused on guiding students through the WiDS Datathon. Students of all levels were welcome so they ranged from new learners to experienced machine learning students.

The workshop started with a review of machine learning concepts, and then continued by practicing making Kaggle submissions. Over the next few weeks, the seminar covered more  in-depth specific model types, and provided guidance and time for students to work on their models. Students had a lot of fun and came up with some pretty brilliant models like ensembles of stratified linear regression and CatBoost. It gave them an opportunity to work freely but with support from peers and an instructor on an unstructured project.

​WiDS Hanoi
WiDS Hanoi 2023
For the second year in a row, WiDS Hanoi was hosted by Linh Nguyen, Kim Ung, Anthony Guiot. The mini-workshop took place on Sunday, January 8, 2023, with a longer workshop on February 11, 2023. The mini-workshop was held online via our official fanpage wih the name “WiDS Datathon – A Closer Look!”, and was designed to introduce WiDS and WiDS Datathon 2023 to our incoming participants, share an experience from the winner of last year’s datathon, and an experience in competing on the Kaggle platform. Ten days after the official release , the mini-workshop video reached approximately 47.000 views, and 1.800 interactions. We have been receiving more Facebook messages, more sign-ups and more datathon teams registration since the workshop was on air.

The second workshop was held online via the WiDS Hanoi official fanpage with the name “WiDS Datathon – Discussion!”. This workshop supported Vietnamese datathon teams looking for the most optimal solutions for their problems, providing helpful and academic knowledge about data science to guide participants in their datathon  journey.

WiDS Hanoi statistics:

  • WiDS Hanoi participants comprised 83 registered datathon teams
  • Videos of mini-workshop and datathon workshop have reached approximately 102.000 views via our Facebook pages
  • Around 500 people registered to join WiDS Hanoi Conference, which took place on March 11, 2023.

WiDS Hubballi
WiDS Hubballi ambassadors hosted an online workshop on February 11, 2023 to support the WiDS Datathon 2023 challenge. This workshop aimed to enable the participants to hone required data science skills needed to participate effectively and contribute to the solutions. Ms. Srujana Kaddevarmuth, Senior Data Scientist, Walmart Global Tech, gave a talk on “Introduction to Datathon and AI for Good”, which provided the insights of the datathon and data science. A session on “AIR: Automated Item Recommendation for Online Campaigns” was delivered by Ms. Debanjana Banerjee, Senior Data Scientist, Walmart Global Tech, provided the insights of the recommendation system and its applications. More than 80+ students and faculty participated in the workshop and found it to be both effective and useful.

WiDS Kenya
WiDS Kenya 2023
WiDS Kenya ambassadors held 3 WiDS Datathon workshops in partnership with Microsoft, Moringa School and Kenya Airways to help our participants successfully take part in the WiDS Datathon 2023 challenge focused on applying data science to improve longer-range weather forecasts to help people prepare and adapt to extreme weather events caused by climate change.

The ambassadors were excited to see that the number of participants for this year grew 10 times over the previous year (from 30 to ~300 registered participants). The first workshop was held on January 27, 2023,, and involved onboarding participants in the WiDS Datathon challenge, team formation and networking. The second workshop was on January 28, 2023, where participants heard a talk on AI and Climate Change and brainstorming of the Datathon challenge. Finally on February 4, 2023, they held a training session on  Data Drift for Dynamic Forecasts: An Arthur tutorial for the 2023 WiDS Datathon.

One participant shared, “It has been a great experience, especially peer learning and inclusion to beginners. The ambassadors have been very kind and helpful. Kudos to them!”. Another participant added, “It has challenged me to learn and expand more on my data science skills. It has also pushed me out of my comfort zone”

​WiDS Lagos
WiDS Lagos-2 2023
The WiDS Lagos datathon workshops resulted in 23 new community members and introduced 113 government secondary school girls to Data Science. Attendees gained hands-on experience, networking opportunities, and industry insights from experienced data science mentors.

Hands-on experience included working on real-world projects, which helps them understand how to apply their newfound skills in practical scenarios. Networking opportunities provided a platform for attendees to connect with other data science professionals, while experienced data science mentors shared their knowledge and experience of the industry, giving attendees valuable insights into the field.

WiDS Lahore
On February 18, 2023, WiDS Lahore held a successful WiDS Datathon workshop with a contest featuring many eminent speakers who shared their knowledge and expertise, bringing together nearly 200 attendees. There were five speakers who shared their knowledge and expertise on various aspects of data science. WiDS ambassador Bushra Waheed and mentor Ms. Pkeeza Ehsan, introduced Kaggle and walked through the WiDS Datathon 2023 problem statement. There was one exclusive session on exploratory data analysis and the other two sessions were for beginners on AI/ML introduction and auto AI models. The other workshops focused on deep learning practices and methods suitable for predictions in the climate domain, the use of transfer learning models in the climate domain aligned with the WiDS Datathon, and processes to validate prediction models and mitigate biases. The presenters also shared many notebooks, providing continued guidance to the participants.

The participants enjoyed the session. The audience participated with many questions to the speakers and appreciated the opportunity given by this event.

WiDS Lima @ UP
WiDS Lima 2023
The WiDS Lima @ UP datathon workshop took place on January 25, 2023, at Universidad del Pacífico, hosted by WiDS 2023 ambassadors Michelle Rodríguez, Ana Luna, Mariana Moyano, and Mario Chong.

The first part of the workshop was held at UP Aula Magna, with UP students and Code UP Members’ presentations and testimonials. Then they moved to the Engineering Laboratory, where they held the workshop. The workshop was attended by a very diverse group,  including school students and their professors, under-graduate degree students, the UP Community and the support of Code UP, an active coding student organization. CODE UP’s president, Amy Checllo, started this part of the workshop which included activities for beginners, as we had some school attendees as part of the WiDS NextGen initiative.

The event started with the testimonial of Mariana Moyano and her team, confirmed by Arantxa Gómez, Fiorella Calderón, and María Emilia Arias. They shared their experiences with WiDS Datathon and all the steps they followed to participate.The testimonial was appreciated as it gave them their point of view on the process and helped them clarify some doubts. Since it was a general workshop, it started with the basics using Google Colab, and by the end, everyone used this software and learned how to create and manage tables and graphics using diverse open datasets.

​WiDS Maastricht
WiDS Maastricht 2023
On February 3-4, 2023, the Institute of Data Science Maastricht University hosted the 4th annual WiDS Maastricht Datathon Event in person. The WiDS Maastricht Datathon event included a series of activities including data science tutorials, a 2-day working-together hackathon followed by a pitch session, and networking activities. Around 40 participants from academia and industry covered many different backgrounds and career stages. The participants were encouraged to connect and learn from each other, and improve their data science skills by solving a climate data challenge. During the pitch session, participating teams presented their methods, the bias and fairness of their models, and lessons learned in these two days. At the end of the two-day event, a big congratulation goes to Team – VX NextGen (Chelsea Rinkema, Leon Berlang, Lina Ly, Mark Mestrum)- who won the Responsible Data Science Pioneer Team Prize in WiDS Maastricht Datathon 2023.

We would like to acknowledge the WiDS Maastricht organizers: Chang Sun, Mado Ntekouli, Yuyang Yan, Speakers: Tiantian Wang, Afsana Khan, Maryam Mohammadi, Tutors: Stefan Meier, Xu Wang, Dennis Soemers, Thales Bertaglia, Yaru Zhang, and Pranav Bapat and jury group: Linda Rieswijk, Parveen Kumar, Yenisel Plasencia-Calaña, Visara Urovi, for their contributions to the WIDS Maastricht datathon event.

​WiDS New York @ IBM
WiDS NY IBM Datathon Workshop 2023
WiDS New York @ IBM hosted their first WiDS Datathon workshop on January 31, 2023. The 3-hour online workshop had over 100 participants from various countries such as US, India, Ireland, Philippines, Sweden, Slovakia, Germany, Netherlands, Egypt, UK, Canada, Italy and Saudi Arabia. These attendees were affiliated with industry, academia and non-profits. Eighty-four percent (84%) of attendees who responded to the live survey said they were first time WiDS Datathon participants.

The speakers included WiDS Datathon 2023 participants Sneha Varghese and Vasanthi Gopal, and Maria Alejandra Sanchez, winner of the WiDS Datathon Excellence in Research Award 2020. All three women are WiDS New York @ IBM ambassadors for 2023. The datathon workshop provided an introduction to the WiDS Datathon 2023 and Kaggle, a review of sample notebooks for WiDS Datathon 2023 as well as tips and tricks on working with the data, followed by a session on exploratory data analysis of the WiDS Datathon 2023 dataset.

WiDS Providence
WiDS Providence 2023
including a dozen volunteer mentors, to our first (and hopefully not last!) WiDS Providence Datathon workshop. After breakfast and a welcome address, our event began with a tutorial on data exploration and classification presented by Brown postdoctoral research fellow Cristina Meghini. This was followed by a tutorial on climate and data science and overview of the datathon challenge data set from Sarah Esenther, a PhD candidate in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown. Participants were then invited to enjoy lunch and form their teams for the Datathon Challenge.

Participants had all afternoon to work together on the challenge. They had a group of mentors in their main event space standing by to answer questions for beginners, while a few of our more advanced participants hunkered down to work in quiet conference rooms. Later in the afternoon, they welcomed a virtual guest speaker, Dr. Francesca Lazzari. Dr. Lazzari is Principal Data and Machine Learning Scientist Manager at Microsoft, and she shared her career experience and advice on how to be successful and make an impact in data science roles in industry, which was valuable to the audience made up primarily of students. They closed out the day with a prize raffle, and all the participants took home an event t-shirt and extra pizza.

WiDS West Lafayette @ Purdue University
WiDS Purdue held a virtual datathon workshop “Essentials for checking data quality” hosted by WiDS ambassador Wei Zakharov. Data quality is an important aspect of data science and critical to data life cycle management. Bad data leads to bad data-informed decisions. What are the essential issues of data quality management? What are some tools and techniques you can use for evaluating data credibility and checking data quality? The event targeted all those interested in participating in the WiDS Datathon challenge or data quality management. It provided the audience with the tools necessary to solve the challenge. See the workshop presentation slides.

​WiDS Tucson
WiDS Tucson, in collaboration with University of Arizona, hosted a WiDS Datathon workshop on February 17th, organized by WiDS ambassadors Adriana Picoral, Heidi Steiner, Salena Torres Ashton, and Sarah Stueve. The virtual workshop featured an introduction to machine learning through hands-on exercises. Participants across Arizona attended the workshop and submitted Kaggle solutions, suggesting the workshop was an enjoyable learning experience.

​WiDS Trinidad and Tobago
WiDS Trinidad and Tobago hosted three virtual datathon workshops organized by first-time WiDS ambassador Dr. Letetia Addison and her team. The workshops featured female international data scientists alongside local data scientists. Workshops were specifically geared to those who wanted to enter the WiDS Datathon challenge.

Participants shared the following aspects they appreciated in the various workshops and we were happy to provide them with the tools to move forward in the competition and beyond. Attendee feedback includes,

  • “Very helpful, easy to follow and beginner friendly.”
  • “The walkthrough of the notebooks on Kaggle was very informative as well as the introduction to data science.”
  • “This was very informative. As a Geoscientist who is interested in data science I learned a lot and the learning resources were also very useful.”
  • “This workshop provided a lot of clarity moving forward in the competition.”

The event recordings were posted on the WiDS Trinidad and Tobago YouTube channel, and the views are increasing steadily. Letetia Addison was featured in an article published in UWI Today. They continue to receive wonderful feedback and hope to continue hosting events like these to support women and others in the community to be trailblazers in the pursuit of Data Science related fields.

WiDS Sri Lanka ​
The WiDS Sri Lanka datathon workshop was an exciting event for those interested in participating in the WiDS Datathon 2023.

The workshop started off with a session focused on data cleaning and transformations conducted by Vimukthini Jayalath. Participants were shown different techniques to identify data anomalies. They learned how to identify and handle missing values, outliers, and other issues that can impact the quality of the data. They also learned how to use various tools and techniques for cleaning and transforming data.

Next, we focused on data modeling to extract insights from data using the Google Colab platform for ease of access. Participants mainly learned about two different types of models that would assist them with the WiDS Datathon, Regression trees and Neural Networks, and how to implement them using Python. The session was conducted by Vimukthini Pinto, PhD candidate of Australian National University.

The third session was conducted by Saumya Hansanie, an information session about the datathon, which gave participants an overview of the upcoming data analysis competition. The session covered the rules and guidelines of the competition, the data set that would be provided, and the evaluation criteria. Mentors were introduced to participants and by using breakout rooms, the participants had the chance to get to know their respective mentors.

The final session, conducted by Beshani Weralupitiya, was a hands-on practical session where participants were able to apply the concepts they had learned in the previous sessions to a real-world dataset. The speaker guided participants through the process, engaging and interacting with the participants to apply their new found knowledge in a supportive environment.

The top highlight of the workshop was the enthusiasm of the participants and the interactivity amongst the participants and the speakers. Overall, the workshop was a great opportunity for the participants to improve their knowledge on data science.

Watch recordings of their workshop on YouTube.

​WiDS Romania

The WiDS Romania datathon workshop focused on on-boarding new participants in the Kaggle Competition and guiding them through the process of registering, creating a strong team and submitting results. The workshop brought participants from previous competitions that shared their own experiences, offered valuable insights and tips and tricks. The attendees were very keen in understanding the submission process and finding out what would be some key actions that they could do to ensure better results.

We were very impressed by the large number of women in attendance and particularly by one attendee that asked if she could participate by herself. Also, young men were very eager in building trams with women in order to Participate and they all showed ease and eagerness when needing to work together.

Overall, it was a very successful workshop that started as a 30 minute workshop and stretched over an hour and 30 minutes due to the interest of the attendees that were open to learn from previous experiences, and also due to the patience and willingness of the workshop speakers that offered detailed instructions, including valuable Kaggle onboarding tips. Speakers did a great job making sure that each participant felt more confident and eager to compete in the competition.

It was truly an honor to engage so many bright minds.

WiDS Riyadh @ PSU
The 4th annual WiDS Riyadh @ PSU datathon workshop series was hosted by the Artificial Intelligence and Data analytics Lab under the auspices of Prince Sultan University, organized by WiDS ambassadors Prof. Tanzila Saba and Ms Fatima Khan. There were two weekly sessions, one for the workshop followed by the mentoring session.

The workshop aimed to bring together professionals in data science and competitors with different backgrounds to work together and promote gender equality and empower women in AI and data science fields. It was a very inspirational event with 200 national and international participants. We had in-person and online sessions. The guest speakers delivered the session in their areas of expertise in machine learning and deep learning.

The event featured a Data Challenge and a six-week series of informative tech talks. In week 1, Professor Tanzila Saba opened the PSU WIDS Datathon Session and provided valuable resources. In week 1, Ms. Aisha Dawood led the Preparation and Exploration session, while Ms. Erum Afzal focused on Data Preparation and Exploration during week 3. Dr. Sara El-Ateif covered Transfer Learning in Week 4, and Dr. Souad Larabi delved into Machine Learning and Deep Learning in Week 5. Finally, in Week 6, Professor Tanzila Saba spoke about Model Validation.

Participants provided a lot of positive feedback. WiDS PSU is thankful to all presenters and attendees for their valuable sessions and a keen interest in making it more successful.

The winners were announced on 14th March on the main conference day. WiDS PSU looks forward to hosting the next workshop in 2024.

​Thank you to all ambassadors who hosted WiDS Datathon workshops!