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.
About The Program
The Alben Foundation launched its Women in Data Science initiative in 2020 in concert with Entity Academy and several academic partners. Our program is designed to address the need to "change the culture" for women in the technology industry with a focus on data science. We partnered to develop a certificate program that can be attended online with substantial personal components, such as mentoring and guidance. The program works with students to place them in data science related jobs and build a network of mentors. The program to date has drawn on corporate support and instructors at WozU.
- Alex and Susan Alben
Asof July 2022, roughly 850 women have begun their Data Science careers. Our partners anticipate at least 500 more enrollments by the end of Q4 2022. The latest data reported by Zippia on April 2022, shows only 20% of data scientists are women. We are challenging that statistic head-on.
The student population remains consistent with prior years, retaining women with backgrounds education, arts and humanities, military service, retail, STEM, and more. These students are joining with the intentions of upskilling or reskilling into a field with job security, high average salaries, and advancement opportunities. ENTITY’s newest employment report shares graduates who have recently secured careers at Publicis Media, Warner Media, Walmart Labs, Belk Inc, and the University of Washington. Popular job titles for grads include: Senior Data Analyst, Data Science and Forecast Analyst, Business Analyst, and Data Coordinator.
THE ALBEN ACCELERATOR
Students who are currently financing their programs under an “Alben Accelerator” make up 5% of the total Data Science student population. The Alben Accelerator is a low-interest payment plan that grants affordable access to the 8-month mentorship and training program, regardless of credit score and educational background.
DATA SCIENCE RECOVERY PROGRAM
The Alben Foundation’s funding has also helped support the costs of growing ENTITY’s Data Science Recovery Program, which provides students who have fallen behind in their coursework with opportunities to get back on track. Instead of immediately dismissing students who are faced with competing obligations, the Data Science Recovery Program services students with additional hard skills tutoring and soft-skills coaching with an emphasis on self-regulation strategies, meta-cognition, and self-efficacy development. This program has helped retain and graduate students who would’ve otherwise quit their studies.
Here is a video snippet, demonstrating an employer’s perspective on
ENTITY students and theData Science Virtual Academy
“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
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."