From Stanford University: “Meeting showcases women in data science”

Stanford University Name
Stanford University

March 9, 2018
Amy Adams

Speakers, organizers and attendees of the Women in Data Science conference, including Margot Gerritsen (center), who led the meeting. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

In 2015, Margot Gerritsen, director of Stanford’s Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, got tired of technical conferences that included no or few women speakers. “I always joke that this meeting was a revenge effect,” she said. “We wanted to showcase really amazing work that’s being done by women.”

Now, in its third year, the Women in Data Science conference included 17 women speakers and roughly 100,000 people listening on live stream or Facebook Live. More than 170 regional events in over 50 countries also featured their own panels of women speakers. Gerritsen, who is also a professor of energy resources engineering, said one reason for the meeting is to inspire women to enter and stay in the field of data science. “It’s still really tough for women not to feel a little isolated,” she said.

One outcome of the event has been lists of women worldwide who can speak about data science that are now regularly provided to meeting organizers looking for women speakers. “I would never have imagined that we would be reaching so many people,” Gerritsen said.

Women who attended the meeting reflected on their own experiences and the value of a community of inspiring women.

Lan Huong Nguyen
Margot Gerritsen
Fatimah Al-Ismail
Emily Shah
Daniela Witten
Risa Wechsler
Danielle Maddix
Alison Marsden
Bianca Yu
Elena Grewal
Karen Matthys
Judy Logan

Gerritsen is also associate professor of energy resources engineering and senior associate dean for educational initiatives in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, a senior fellow in the Precourt Institute for Energy, a member of Stanford Bio-X and of the Child Health Research Institute. Marsden is also a faculty affiliate of ICME, a member of Stanford Bio-X, the Cardiovascular Institute and the Child Health Research Institute.

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