WiDS ambassadors from Beijing to LaPaz to Kuwait City have hosted WiDS regional events, pivoting and persevering during the global pandemic. In this article, they share event highlights for you to read, and links to watch the recorded videos.
Attend an upcoming WiDS regional event happening online:
- WiDS Ciudad de México @ SAP, July 22
- WiDS Bogota, July 23
- WiDS Rabat, July 25
- WiDS Ibadan, July 25
- WiDS Lima @ Data Science Women, July 25
- WiDS Salvador, July 27
- WiDS Bangalore @ MiQ, July 29
- WiDS Portland @ Nike WHQ, July 30
- WiDS New York City @ SAP Hudson Yards, August 4
- WiDS Bengaluru, August 8
- WiDS San Diego, August 8
- WiDS Bonn, August 10
- WiDS Singapore, August 14
- WiDS Recife, August 14–15
- WiDS Dusseldorf, August 15
WiDS Kuwait City @ PAAET
WiDS Kuwait City @ PAAET was held online on July 8, 2020, hosted by Aseed AlMesad and Masouma Boshehri from PAAET. The first talk was given by Fatima Boujarwah from Kuwait University, talking about the challenges of working with health data. Next came Samah Mohammed Al-Duwaisan, Team Leader Health Information Management System, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), with a timely talk titled, “Technology, the COVID-19 Hero (The Pandemic Challenges at Ahmadi Hospital)”, followed by Muneera Faisal Al-Jeri of Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research on using social media to explore human mobility patterns.
Next came two talks by Bedoor Adel Mohammad, and Sundus Jaber AlFaresi from the Public Authority of Civil Information (PACI) on 3D data using laser technology and the use of augmented reality using GIS, respectively. The final two talks were from industry, starting with Tasnim Pithapurwala, CTO of CyberMAK Information Systems, talking about using AI, robotics, and social media listening to create a fantastic user experience. Last but not least was Sundus Bushahri from Oracle, speaking about the importance of implementing digital transformation now.
The WiDS Kuwait City @ PAAET talks can be viewed here.
On May 7, 2020, the first ever WiDS Montevideo regional event took place, hosted by WiDS ambassadors Virginia Robano and Natalia Castro, and broadcasted to more than 3800 attendees. This all-day conference was divided into 11 themes, with almost 40 speakers from diverse backgrounds such as industry, entrepreneurial ecosystem, and academia sharing their presentations with the audience for a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes. Topics covered varied from data analysis in social networks, algorithms bias, women in science statistics, data science & government, educational approach to data science from an Uruguayan University, among others.
You can experience WiDS Montevideo for yourself through this short highlight video. Or, view all of the WiDS Montevideo talks on their Youtube playlist. WiDS Montevideo was organized by the Program in Data Science, a blended learning masters program, offered by Uruguay’s Technological University (UTEC) and Plan Ceibal, with the academic support of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
WiDS Abu Dhabi and Dubai
On June 13th, IBM Developer and Heriot-Watt University in Dubai, in collaboration with Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) conducted the Women in Data Science Stanford (WiDS) regional event for Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The audience wasn’t limited to the region, with more than 100 attendees from all over the world!
WiDS Abu Dhabi and Dubai featured extraordinary women from the region speaking about very interesting topics from different domains including research, biology, academia, and cybersecurity. The event kicked off with a keynote delivered by Eva Marie Muller-Stuler, the Data and AI practice leader at IBM, who spoke about how we can leverage data science opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis. Bushra AlBlooshi Research & Innovation Manager at Dubai Electronic Security, spoke next about cybersecurity, especially in the UAE, followed by Hind Zantout, Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University, who spoke about Ethics in AI and the need for legislation. Lightning talks were then delivered by Melissa Sassi, Tilila El Moujahed, Neamat EL Gayar, Dina Mohammed Laity, and Divya Sharma. Next, Chada El Islam Manel Benmahcene led a career panel featuring Divya Sharma and Melissa Sassi from IBM, and Haleh Najafzadeh from GE Aviation.
Inspired by the spirit of WiDS, IBM China lab hosted WiDS Beijing @ IBM online on May 15, 2020. Just a few days after being publicized in WeChat, 250 people registered from businesses, universities, and the development community, with more than 120 attendees joining the three-hour session. WiDS Beijing @ IBM featured six engaging speakers from industry, academia and the open technology community.
Industry speakers included Xing Ji, the director of Data Science Paypal, who shared her experience using AI to manage risks in global payment; Selina Si(Qiao Lei Si), the co-founder and COO from Geekbang, the largest IT education service provider; and Yiping Gong from a startup company, iTrigger.com. Academia and research speakers included Min Zhang, associate professor and vice director of AI lab in CS Department, Tsinghua University, and Qing Wang from IBM Research. The last session was from Daisy Guo (Ying Chun Guo), the developer advocate from IBM open technology, who introduced two themes and called attendees to action with the IBM Call for Code 2020 Global Challenges: COVID-19 and climate change.
You can read more details about WiDS Beijing @ IBM in this LinkedIn post written by WiDS ambassador Catherine Wu.
WiDS Cambridge @ Broad Institute
The Data Sciences Platform at the Broad institute of Harvard and MIT hosted its first WiDS regional event on May 21, 2020, which highlighted three remarkable women who are taking part in the fight against COVID-19 with Data Science. We looked at three different lenses of current relief and research efforts; testing for COVID-19, understanding the virus’ epidemiology, and, understanding how the virus might affect people differently based on their genetics.
The event kicked off with Marissa Fisher, a software engineer from Broad Genomics, discussing the challenges she tackled processing, managing and securely returning results from the thousands of COVID-19 swab tests a day coming from a wide range of clinical facilities and providers. Then in an effort to help public health officials formulate policies to keep us safe, Katie Siddle, PhD, from the Broad Institute’s Viral Genomics research group enlightened us on how one analyzes the viral genome sequences isolated from tens of thousands of COVID-19 patients across the world to understand how the virus spreads.
Finally, Lea Davis, from Vanderbilt University gave us personal insight to understand why some people infected with COVID-19 hardly show any symptoms at all, while others suffer from severe complications despite lacking any obvious underlying conditions. Lea left us with some words of wisdom on combating imposter syndrome and the fears of starting a career in Data Science which resonated with many of our attendees: “Storm the gates and leave them open.” WiDS Cambridge @ Broad Institute attendee says,
“I really appreciated hearing from women who have similar goals to myself that are doing really impactful work! I had a feeling of “that could be me if I keep learning and growing”, which was really empowering.”
If you are interested in listening to the full event, please see the recording here.
WiDS Tokyo ＠ IBM
Kyoko Nishito, Aya Tokura and Noriko Kato, IBM Developer Advocates, hosted the inaugural WiDS Tokyo @ IBM online on June 5, 2020, which attracted more than 300 attendees. The event featured six technology sessions and a lunch networking session.
The first three sessions introduced attendees to the data science career, as well as the skill sets required to succeed. Speakers included Marie Goto, a data scientist from Recruit Marketing Partners Co., Ltd., and two IBM data scientists, Kaho Ishi and Ayako Suzuki. These talks were followed by two sessions about Quantum Computing by Yuri Kobayashi and Kifumi Numata, both from IBM Research Tokyo. The attendees tried ‘Quantum computing’ via IBM Quantum Experience. The final speaker was Rio Kurihara, a data scientist from BrainPad Inc., who presented several methods for explainability of machine learning.
The WiDS LaPaz ambassadors, Orietha Castillo and Nathaly Alarcon, pivoted quickly to hosting their originally planned in-person event to an online event on June 13, 2020. More than 350 people registered for the event, and hundreds more have watched the event since.
WiDS LaPaz 2020 began with a keynote address by Professor Margot Gerritsen from Stanford University, Co-Founder and Co-Director of WiDS. Next, Patricia Cabero, Professor at Universidad Catolica Boliviana, and Paola Daniela Ochoa from Agencia Espacial Boliviana delivered technical vision talks. Monica Limachi, Orietha Castillo, and Nathaly Alarcon conducted Python in Cloud, Data Analysis in Elections, and TensorFlow workshops, respectively. Finally, Ruth Chirinos from RLadies and Gabriels Urquieta, Hivos Consultant, delivered technical vision talks.
You can see all of the talks from WiDS LaPaz here.
WiDS Dublin took place on June 9, 2020 in association with Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ireland, hosted by WiDS Ambassador Anjali Tiwari, who is currently researching at LYIT in the field of Data Science. This digital conference attracted 100 attendees, connecting people from all over the world.
The guest speakers Ruth Lennon, Lynda Owoo, Sidra Bashir talked about their journey as well as gave an insight on diversity in Data Science. Ruth Lennon stated the importance of Devops for Data Science; Sidra Bashir spoke about Building tools to Vet quality and robustness of large datasets; Linda Owoo’s talked about her career transition in data science.
For more information about WiDS Dublin, you can read Anjali’s event summary.
The inaugural WiDS Porto happened on May 8, 2020, and attracted 300 online participants. This two-hour event featuring Anna Aguiar, Assistant Professor at the University of Porto (UP) and Senior Researcher at Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT); Sarah Vilarinho, Business Intelligence and Data Migration Manager at SAP; and Ines Gomes, Data Scientist at DefinedCrowd.
You can watch all of the WiDS Porto talks here.
WiDS Shanghai 2020 was hosted online by Global Solutions Foundation on May 6, 2020, reaching 2,500 participants online from more than 100 cities across the globe. The conference featured wonderful speakers from BCG, UNDP, Google, HSBC, SAP, WeWork, 4Paradigm, and Measurable AI. Looking for more next year, covering data science topics on resilience, sustainability, and women leadership.
The talks were recorded, and WiDS Shanghai videos can be found here.
WiDS Silicon Valley @ SAP
The third annual WiDS Silicon Valley @ SAP was held on June 4, 2020, the first virtual edition with more than 220 attendees from all over the world. This year, the theme was Making Data Science Real: From Ideas to Production. Data scientists, data engineers, architects, designers, project managers, and peers from the Silicon Valley Area sparked a conversation on what is needed to make data science reality in production.
WiDS Silicon Valley @ SAP event featured keynote speakers Judy Logan, WiDS Co-Director, and Megan Price, Executive Director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG). Panels covered topics related to the risks of productizing data science and how to avoid causing unintentional harm, AI and Ethics and the future of work.
You can read WiDS ambassador, Jenny Lundberg’s full report on the event here.
WiDS Lima @ UP
This year marks the fourth WiDS Lima @ UP (Universidad del Pacifico), hosted by Dean Michelle Rodriquez and Vice Dean Mario Chong. This in-person event happened on March 2, 2020, just ahead of the COVID-19 restrictions. The event featured keynote speakers: Carmen Delgado, from Hewlett Packard, María Vallenas from SAP, Ivette Johnson from Sistema B Perú and Wendoly Patiño, a UP Engineering Alumni from Mactec. They shared their experiences developing professionally in the field of science and technology. After that, WiDS Lima @ UP joined the WiDS Stanford livestream for the career panel.
IBM Code Bristol, in collaboration with Jean Golding Institute at the University of Bristol, hosted the inaugural WiDS Bristol event online on May 12, 2020. The featured a lineup of speakers with various backgrounds, from industry and academia, covering a myriad of topics.
Just over 100 attendees tuned in live for the event, which featured several talks as well as a panel discussion.
WiDS Bristol talks featured the following speakers:
- Elena Hensinger, data scientist with experience as an entrepreneur and computing education, delivered a “Spot the odd” talk about anomaly detection in time-series data.
- Alexandra Craciun, an algorithm engineer at XMOS in Bristol who focuses on efficient low-complexity algorithms for speech analysis.
- Malvika Sharan, the community manager at The Alan Turing Institute in London, who develops resources and ways that can make data science accessible for a wider audience.
- Margriet Groenendijk, Data Science Developer Advocacy focal at IBM, spoke about how bias can take root in machine learning algorithms and ways to overcome it.
More details can be found in this WiDS Bristol summary written by Yamini Rao, WiDS Bristol ambassador.
Thank you, WiDS ambassadors!
Thank you WiDS ambassadors for all your dedicated hard work organizing and hosting WiDS regional events, whether in-person and online. If you would like to bring WiDS to your cohort or community, you can find out how to become a WiDS ambassador.