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Updates From the Women in Data Science Meetup

On Tuesday, May 24th, Hanover teamed up with Data Innovation DC and Women Data Scientists DC to sponsor a “Women in Data Science” Meetup. Several Hanoverians were in attendance, including Anirban Ghosh, Rachel Upton, Kathleen Darbor, Rakita Garner, Ashley Richardson, and Cam Wall. Anirban gave a brief talk to introduce Hanover to DC’s data science community, then we all enjoyed presentations by two speakers (as well as a little Mezeh in between talks), Amy O’Connor and Dr. Marie desJardins, both data science leaders from industry and academia.


Amy O’Connor is a “Big Data Evangelist” for Cloudera. Her talk focused on the rate of change in today’s world of ever advancing data and technology and the associated social and economic impacts – including the blending of personal and professional lives (e.g., sleeping with your phone), the convergence of the virtual and physical worlds (e.g., using sensors in phones to create interactive billboards), and the breakdown of boundaries between traditional industries. Particularly interesting are the implications for science and technological advances. For example, data from new devices for Parkinson’s patients may enable doctors to more accurately monitor symptoms and progression, and in turn improve drugs and treatments. Because of the complexity (and amount) of such data, the insight of data scientists in this and other areas will be invaluable in the future. Basically, it’s a brave new technological world out there with many exciting opportunities for data scientists!


Dr. Marie desJardins is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as well as a professor of Computer Science. She discussed the importance of data science, disparities in the field, and strategies for success. For example, she highlighted the importance of introducing data science at a younger age, fostering a more welcoming environment for students, and encouraging a focus on successes (rather than failures) and confidence in personal abilities.


Key Takeaways:

  • “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
  • There are many exciting opportunities for using data to drive change!
  • Be passionate about what you do, because personal and professional lives are increasingly difficult to separate – it’s about blend more than balance.
  • Don’t give in to imposter syndrome – believe in abilities, focus on successes rather than failures, and if necessary “fake it until you make it”
  • Fight for yourself

Authored By: Kathleen Darbor , Senior Research Associate-Quantitative Research

Data Science

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