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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Review: Women in Statistics and Data Science: Past, Present, & Future

By Altea Lorenzo-Arribas (YSS), Cecilia Lanata-Briones (RSS History Section) & Lucy Teece (YSS), organisers of the event.

Video recording of the Women in Statistics event at the Royal Statistical Society.

On the 8th March we gathered at the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) in London to celebrate International Women’s Day and specifically Women in Statistics and Data Science by highlighting progress through the history of the discipline.

“Past of Stats & Data Science” speaker: Dr Linda Wijlaars

Dr Linda Wijlaars (University College London) started the talks by focusing on the Past of Statistics and introducing the fascinating life of Dr Janet Elizabeth Lane-Claypon. Lane-Claypon was a pioneer in epidemiology who conducted the first major retrospective cohort study, which included a description of confounding, and the first use of the t-test outside of the Guinness factory.

“Present of Stats & Data Science” speaker: Prof Deborah Ashby

RSS President, Professor Deborah Ashby (Imperial College London), examined the Present situation of women in statistics and data science. She focused on the current representation of women fellows, award winners and presidents in the RSS and other organisations worldwide. She also highlighted the achievements of many influential women working in the field of statistics and data science, and inspired the audience with stories of the women that have supported her through her career.

“Future of Stats & Data Science” panel: Maria Skoularidou, Fatima Batool, Dr Susan Lovick & Dr Lauren Rodgers.

The last session looked at the Future of the profession with the help of a great panel of four women working in statistics and data science both in industry and academia. Dr Susan Lovick (Phastar) described her own experience as a woman in statistics and the great supportive environment she has found at Phastar. Dr Lauren Rodgers (University of Exeter) described the great support, events and grants offered by the Women in Mathematics Committee of the London Mathematical Society to encourage diversity and inclusivity in the field. Fatima Batool (University College London) concentrated on her role as ambassador of the Women in Data Science programme, emphasising the depth of data science and the evergrowing diversity in the field. The last speaker of this session, Maria Skoularidou (University of Cambridge) introduced the RSS’s newly formed Women in Data Science and Statistics Special Interest Group .

The talks were followed by a wine reception sponsored by Phastar that encouraged great networking.

You can find the slides from the event below:

Finally, for an overview of the fascinating Twitter discussion generated around this event check out the following link:

Professor Deborah Ashby said she had “never seen so many women in the RSS HQ” and now we can’t wait to meet even more of you next year!

Statisticians on Tour to the Liverpool Early Career Researchers Conference 2019

By Sarah Nevitt (RSS Medical Section and Young Statisticians Section (YSS))

The University of Liverpool was the host of the inaugural Early Career Researchers Conference 2019 bringing together early career researchers in Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) were sponsors of the conference, and three Liverpool based volunteers who are active volunteers with the RSS, as well as statistical and STEM ambassadors coordinated a special afternoon showcasing the RSS and ‘Hands on Statistics’ outreach activities.

Sarah Nevitt (RSS Medical Section and Young Statisticians Section (YSS)) firstly introduced the ‘Who, What, When, Where and Why?’ of the RSS; including the work of the RSS promoting the importance of data and statistics for the public good, getting involved with the RSS by becoming a member, attending section and local group events, the professional accreditations and training courses offered by the RSS as well as volunteering opportunities. Especially relevant for this conference of Early Career researchers in Data Science, Sarah also highlighted the work of the YSS including careers events, young statistician conferences, the RSS Statistical Excellence Award for Early Career Writingand how to keep in touch with YSS, especially on social media.

Laura Bonnett (RSS Education and Statistical Literacy committee and Teaching Statistics Special Interest Group), then lead an interactive afternoon of ‘Hands on Statistics’ demonstrating a range of different activities developed by the RSS Education and Statistical Literacy committee. These activities demonstrate a range of statistical concepts including probability, distributions, populations, sampling, means, standard errors, confidence intervals, as well as some more complex concepts such as simulation studies, random walks, Kruskals counts, Pollard’s Kangaroo and Capture-Recapture in a fun and interactive way using playing cards, dice, meerkats, penguins, ducks and Usain Bolt. The conference attendees then had a chance to develop and demonstrate some ‘Hands on Statistics activities’ of their own using our bank of statistical resources. Some excellent animal themed activities were developed including ‘Elephant Scales’ demonstrating Bayesian methods, distributions and iteration using stuffed elephants and ‘Count the poo, find the wombat’s blue,’ building on the concepts of populations and samples and also demonstrating the importance of sample size. The winning ‘Hands on Statistics activity’ of the afternoon was ‘Can you guess the colour?’, ademonstration and clear explanation of Bayesian methods and probability with playing cards. We shall certainly be taking some of these excellent ideas with us to careers fairs in the future!

Maria Sudell (RSS Merseyside Local Group) rounded up a great afternoon by sharing her experiences of being a STEM ambassador for the last four years, as well as some great tips for running outreach activities and details of how to sign up as a STEM ambassador.

We hope to have inspired many new RSS members and STEM ambassadors to try out some of our ‘Hands on Statistics’ activities and provided the encouragement to develop some outreach activities of their own!