Women in Data Science (WiDS) regional conferences were held across Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America. Events featured technical talks on a variety of data science fields, as well as workshops, panel discussions, and networking sessions. Participants also learned about speakers’ journeys into data science, getting career advice along the way.
Here are their stories.
During Women’s International Day, the WiDS Stanford conference was broadcasted simultaneously at Bennington College to bring the work of female data professionals to rural Vermont. The top highlight was a conversation with 6 female participants who drove 2.5 hours from Northern Vermont to attend our event during the networking time. They talked about their non-linear paths to data science and the importance of creating a community.
All technical talks were highly educational and the attendees were able to learn about different fields of data science, from China’s censorship to the existence of dark matter. The event gathered 40 individuals both in-person and virtually. Despite some technical difficulties with our webinar, we received encouraging feedback to continue this work in rural Vermont.
One testimonial from the Senior Operations Manager at precisely;”Thank you so much for arranging the WIDS conference this week. I was so happy to participate, watch the presentation with other professionals, and to have a chance to interact with students. I am already looking forward to next year’s event and would be happy to promote it among my peers.”
Women in Data Science (WiDS) Jordan conference 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, and others 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 Kenya ambassadors held a WiDS Conference in partnership with Microsoft, Moringa School and Kenya Airways on March 10, 2023. We were delighted to have 55 people online and 60 attendees in-person. Our theme for this year’s conference was Bridging Data Gap in Areas/ Sectors with Sparse Data Networks.
“I enjoyed the sessions but more importantly it was great to see women who are experts in the technical domain”. – WiDS Kenya Attendee
WiDS ambassadors Catriona MItchison, Lena Carel, and Florian Hatt were pleased with the WiDS Geneva 2023 conference, receiving positive feedback about the quality and variety of speakers, the impressive venue, and the smooth operation of the event. Attendees were happy to be together, in-person and as a community, working in the field and sharing tips, ideas and opportunities.
The sold out event included 100 attendees, with more people on the waiting list. Keynote presentations were delivered by data scientists from CERN, QuantumBlack (McKinsey), and May. In addition, we had seven workshops presented by representatives from Google, Databricks, Salesforce, and Accenture. We also had networking opportunities, with booths from Richemont, Accenture, Expedia Group, & E-nno. Attendees could also receive complimentary CV checking by Rockstar Recruiting.
This year’s WiDS Hanoi conference was held on March 11, attracting more than 400 attendees, in-person at Viettel Group. Attendees included 25 high school students from the Bac Giang province, inspired by Mrs. Linh Nguyen and their teachers; 30 educators, including a headmaster, professors, and teachers; 10 IT and Data leaders from Viettel Group; and 20 journalists who wrote articles in multiple newspapers in Vietnam.
WiDS Lima @ UP
The seventh edition of WiDS Lima @ UP was held on March 8th, encouraging young female data scientists in Peru by spotlighting their impact and dedication.
WiDS Lima @ UP was hosted the event at Universidad del Pacífico hours before the main event at Stanford. Milena Caycho, Claudia Gil, and Carolina Olivares shared their challenges as data scientists and highlighted opportunities for new generations. A panel discussion featured Professors Ana Luna and Michelle Rodriguez as co-hosts, and Valeria Hurtado de Mendoza, Paola García, and Noelia Terrazas as panelists. As UP alumni, they talked to the audience about how they started their professional lives as data scientists and shared recommendations with all the college and school students that attended the event.
WiDS Trinidad & Tobago
WiDS Trinidad and Tobago first-time Ambassador, Dr. Letetia Addison, and her team hosted two two regional events featuring female data scientists from around the globe, including countries such as Australia, USA, Africa and Trinidad and Tobago. These talks were geared towards applications and/or perceptions in the field.
During the first conference, a spotlight talk was delivered highlighting AI Applications in Agriculture in the Caribbean, providing an overview with exciting aspects and a demo of the Farming AI and Resilience (F.A.A.I.R) Project for farming applications in Trinidad and Tobago. The second regional event featured a fireside chat, featuring 6 female data scientists discussing their personal stories, perceptions, and challenges as a female in Data Science-related fields.
Attendees provided wonderful feedback and asked a variety of questions related to relevant resources and courses needed to pursue Data Science careers. They also received meaningful advice on overcoming information overload, imposter syndrome, and ways to be creative and stand out in the arena.
WiDS ambassadors from MIT, Harvard, and Microsoft collaborated to host the seventh annual WiDS Cambridge on March 10 at the Microsoft NERD Center. More than 200 people attended in-person, with 80 more attendees online, to hear from academic and industry speakers deliver plenary talks and lightning talks, hear from panelists on the topics of entrepreneurship and data, climate change, and global health, and attend a poster session focused on the latest data science-related research.
As reported in this article about the conference, Dr. Samar Deen, data and applied scientist for Microsoft and a panelist for the discussion on data, climate change, and global health said, “I was very inspired to see the breadth of topics that were presented by the students and just seeing a future generation of thinkers”, adding, “These young women are extremely motivated. They’re here to learn, they’re here to expand their network, and they really want to be actively involved in data science as a career.”
WiDS Tokyo @ Yokohama City University
WiDS ambassador, Associate Professor Yoko Ono from Yokohama City University (YCU), hosted her fifth WiDS Tokyo @ YCU event on March 8. This year’s conference featured a keynote and discussion with the world’s oldest programmer, Masako Wakamiya. The conference happened soon after a recent and failed rocket launch by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), making it a difficult day for many people in Japan. Ms. Wakamiya encouraged attendees to never give up and to keep going, saying, “The rocket will go up until it goes up.”
Ms. Wakamiya’s talk was followed by a lightning talk competition. This year, 53 teams participated in the lightning talk competition, including a junior high student that presented results of a survey on the effects of laughter.
Returning WiDS Tokyo @ YCU speakers, Mayumi Kozaka from Tech Doctor and Naoko Ito from Hitachi Solutions delivered talks about how they use data science in their work, while returning speakers Rie Ema, a costume designer, and Ami Miura from ima, talked about the breadth or “Universe” of data science.
You can read more about WiDS Tokyo @ Yokohama City University in this XTech article.
WiDS Quito @ UDLA
The University of the Americas (UDLA) recently organized the fifth annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) Quito event. The conference featured five speakers and six panelists, all inspiring women making significant contributions to data science and its various applications. The event also featured a datathon, an inclusive learning competition for young women ages 15-20 who demonstrated impressive skills and potential in data science.
The event began with a warm welcome from the UDLA Academic Vice Chancellor, Marlena León Mendoza, who expressed her pride in hosting WiDS as an academic environment where talent knows no gender. Marlena León reaffirmed UDLA’s commitment to equality and her belief in including women in technology and data science. Throughout the day, attendees enjoyed various presentations and panel discussions with successful women in data science, data analysis and processing for decision-making, and artificial intelligence. Topics included “Healthcare Transformation with Data Science,” “Narrative Models Targeting Strategic Sectors: Oil & Gas, Banking & Medical,” “K-Mode Clustering with Python,” “World Leading Latino Experience Technology,” and “Credit X-Rays : an analysis of credit data”. The five speakers, Ana Oña, Emily Ulloa, Estephani Rivera Jaramillo, Silvana Moncayo, and Cintya Maily Cordero, showed how data science is used in different applications.
María Isabel Salvador, Director of External Relations and WiDS Co-Ambassador, introduced the closing panel, emphasizing the need for research and data science to empower women facing global social, economic, and environmental challenges. The panel, entitled “Women and Data Science in the Metaverse,” was moderated by UDLA WiDS Ambassador Patricia Acosta Vargas and included the participation of six prominent women, including Ludmila Starodub (UTN-Ecuador), Mayra Carrión-Toro (EPN -Ecuador), Priscila Cedillo (University of Cuenca-Ecuador), Fabiola Chavarria (Latin University of Costa Rica), Jenny Díaz-Ramírez (University of Monterrey-Mexico) and Melissa Herrera (Latin University of Costa Rica). They discussed the role of data scientists, artificial intelligence, and the metaverse in a technological age and how female talent is beginning to bridge the gap.
WiDS Alexandria 2023 was held virtually, over Zoom, from March 13–15, organized by ambassadors Ehsan Shams and Diaaeldin Taha. The event featured a lineup of 15 accomplished speakers from MENA, Europe, and North America who generously shared their insights, advice, and research on a range of topics such as human-centered AI, revolutionizing the energy sector, algorithmic fairness, and more.
The ambassadors kicked off the event with an introduction on the history of Alexandria, honoring the contributions of women like Hypatia to science and philosophy in the past.
The four keynotes, presented by Margot Gerritsen, Samhaa El-Beltagy, Rana Dajani, and Cecilia Aragon, were of crucial importance to the event due to their depth and diversity of topics. They covered subjects such as inclusivity in DS, the role of natural language processing and the power of language, the force of evolution in making a better world, and human-centered AI.
The panel discussion, “Women in DS: An Egyptian Perspective,” was another critical component of the event. It featured four outstanding speakers from academia and industry: Nawal El-Boghdady, Basma Rady, Aya Salama, and Nourhan Youssef. The panelists discussed their journeys to DS and ML, the status of DS and ML in Egypt, and the critical skills needed to succeed in the field. They also discussed available training and mentorship initiatives to support and educate data scientists in Egypt, coping with imposter syndrome, and how to advocate for ideas within companies of all sizes.
Overall, WiDS Alexandria 2023 was a highly informative and engaging event that provided valuable insights into the world of data science and its applications. The speakers and panelists shared their knowledge and experiences with enthusiasm, leaving the attendees with much to ponder and apply in their future endeavors.
WiDS Boston @ Northeastern University
WiDS Boston @Northeastern University was held on Friday, April 14, 2023 to an overwhelmingly positive response. They had 270+ registrations, online and offline, with 100+ people attending, including students from Florida and Germany. Many of the students were interested in knowing about WiDS & becoming a WiDS ambassador in the upcoming year.
WiDS ambassadors Rutuja Dhanawade, Esha Acharaya, and Unnati Ghodki collaborated with the Northeastern University student club, Data Analytics Engineering Student Organization (DAESO), to facilitate the logistics and sponsorship from the University.
WiDS Boston @ Northeastern University photos
WiDS Boston @ Northeastern University recording (Passcode: 03zu*zVE, good for ~100 days)
WiDS Boston @ Northeastern University presentation
Thank you, WiDS Ambassadors!
We’re grateful to all the WiDS ambassadors who hosted these amazing WiDS regional conferences around the world. These events highlighted the importance of creating a supportive community in the data science field, inspiring the next generation of female data scientists.