On March 5 WPI hosted a regional gathering of the global Women in Data Science Conference (WiDS). With more than 100,000 people participating at more than 100 locations worldwide, WiDS is considered the largest analytics conference in the world.
WPI’s event, the Women in Data Science Central Massachusetts Conference, had a full house with more than 200 participants, organizers said. The conference aims “to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and support women in the field.” Graduate and undergraduate students came from WPI, UMass Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Brown University, and Becker; representatives from various companies, including the industry sponsor Dassault Systems, attended. And in a nod to the pipeline importance of this kind of conference, a group of high school students also attended to learn more about data science as a career.
A list of poster presenters can been seen here.
Caitlin Kuhlman, a graduate student studying computer science and one of the event organizers (called a WiDS ambassador), says the WiDS conferences offer opportunities to establish connections and support in the field. “Personally, this was a chance to pay forward some of the experiences I have had entering the field of computer science as a woman making a career change,” she says. “I have found a strong network of peers and mentors to be invaluable. I think seeing people you can identify with in leading roles is one of the best motivators for students and early career professionals.”