initiative. Women in Data Science
start date. January 2020
what. Improve technology and achieve equitable outcomes with a diverse set of people working in this field.
how. Catalyze women in data science through mentorship, scholarship funding and shaping public opinion.
We will partner with Entity Academy to develop a "Women in Data Science" curriculum and to establish a Mentorship Program for students to connect with experienced people in the field.
why. 1. Artificial Intelligence technology must be trained to reflect our entire society.
The perspective of women and some minority groups is currently missing from this equation.
2. Big data can be used to shape government and corporate decisions.
3. The field currently lacks diversity. Women comprise only 26% of data scientists today.
update. Read the Women In Data Science Update 9/2020.
Starting this spring, the Alben Foundation partnered with Wozniak University and Entity Academy to launch its first-of-a-kind Women in Data Science program, combining substantive on-line courses with mentorship and career-training. We hope to enroll 50 students in the course of 2020.
The Foundation's Women in Data Science Initiative is off to a strong start. We have established partnerships that support both the educational and career-placement aspects of our effort. We are please that participants in the program rate it highly. Our commitment to invest in this program and add partners who bring expertise and energy to achieving our goal of increasing representation of women in this vital field continues to be a priority.
- Alex and Susan Alben
WOZNIAK UNIVERSITY STUDENT PERFORMANCE/PROGRESS
Our student body of female data science enrollees is performing well. The Program Chair and Instructor at Wozniak University reports:
"The ENTITY Data Science students are doing wonderfully! They have exceeded expectations by consistently meeting deadlines and performing well on assignments. Our ENTITY ladies are independent thinkers and learners, and it is clear they have good problem-solving skills that we are developing and nurturing."
And: "These ladies will be equipped for positions as entry-level data analysts or scientists when they graduate and I know that they will make meaningful contributions to any business lucky enough to hire them."
And: “This is my first experience teaching an all-female cohort, and I am so proud to be a part of a program that increases the number of women in STEM fields. Data science right now is only about 18% women, and 11% of data science teams do not even include a female. So, being part of something 100% female is exciting and a much-needed part of closing the gender gap in STEM."
NOTES ON PERFORMANCE
Students report that they find the curriculum challenging, but believe they are up to the task of mastering the data science program:
Dominique says: “The hands-on projects are definitely hard enough to make me think and accomplish. I love the challenge”
Taleeah says: "I believe the curriculum is challenging but doable. I get stuck, but never long enough to I doubt my capabilities. The hands-on projects do help by giving me a chance to figure things out step-by-step on my own."
“I feel like I'm on the right path. It’s challenging but in a great way and I'm learning a lot even about myself.”
“It’s challenging which I like because I tend to get bored – this keeps me on my toes!”
REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE
The Alben Foundation is working to pave the way for jobs for graduates of the data science program. To this end, our partner is working with Perseev, an online magazine that curates news stories for a particular person’s interests using AI. They were hiring for “annotators” who essentially are responsible for going through news articles and marking certain elements of the articles (names of people, businesses, etc.) to strengthen Perseev’s AI neural network.
We are able to help place participant Sharnette at Perseev after being in the Data Science Virtual Academy for only a month prior to winning the position. Here are some of her thoughts about working with AI/Data Science: "What excites me most about this position is that I am participating in training computer systems how to recognize linked in information … all while being able to stay abreast of current events. You learn early in ENTITY's Data Science Virtual Academy to be very specific in your commands in order to yield the desired result. This is also true for my position as an annotator."
DATA SCIENCE GUIDE
The Alben Foundation is also partnering to develop a guidebook that contains research about the field of data science (the job opportunities, the need for more women in the field, etc.) along with some of the information that our beloved mentor, Dr. Muddy Bhatt, provided when he gave his talk to the DSVA students. Dr. Bhatt has been providing insights on getting a job in the field of data science, what to expect during a data science job interview, some "do's and don'ts" for interviews, and some typical career paths for data scientists.
THE FACES OF WOMEN IN DATA SCIENCE