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Dionne Swift

1 February 2021 1,216 views No Comment

Dionne Swift

Principal Statistician, Procter & Gamble

PhD, The Ohio State University
BS, Oakwood University

Dionne Swift works in the data and modeling sciences department at Procter & Gamble, providing statistical capability, leadership, and technical and collaborative research skills to biosciences and life sciences organizations to amplify and accelerate product and technology innovation. Her current research focuses on high-dimensional data analysis, multi-omics integrative analysis, and Bayesian data analysis and causal inference with applications in genomics, proteomics, and microbiome research.

Swift lives in Franklin, Ohio, with her husband and two sons, but grew up in a small rural area outside Georgetown, South Carolina, in the Low Country. Since middle school, she knew she would pursue a math- or science-related occupation. Math and science were her favorite classes.

Swift says she was fortunate to have math and science teachers who looked like her in both middle and high school. These teachers included Janie Gray, Melinda Taylor, Henrietta Nesmith, and John Pinkney. They were relatable role models who sparked her interest in math and science. They, along with her parents, were always supportive and encouraged Swift’s educational pursuits.

After high school, Swift enrolled at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, as a mathematics major and chemistry minor. John Blake, the head of the math department, was the first professor to discuss pursuing a PhD with her. Until then, attending graduate school or pursuing a PhD was something Swift never considered. He, along with her organic chemistry professor, Kenneth LaiHing, actively encouraged Swift to consider graduate school and provided opportunities for undergraduate research.

Initially, Swift considered applied mathematics for graduate studies. However, after two summer internships at Eli Lilly and Company, she decided to pursue a PhD in statistics. Charlie Sampson, who was the director of Lilly’s Global Statistics organization, encouraged her to consider his alma mater, Iowa State, for graduate studies and arranged a campus visit. Although Swift did not attend Iowa State, she is still very much appreciative of his mentoring and advice. She attended The Ohio State University, where faculty members such as Douglas Wolfe and Joseph Verducci provided support and guidance that were instrumental in her development.

Because of the impact of all the role models and mentors in her life, Swift has a desire to inspire others to achieve their educational and professional dreams. With this goal in mind, she is active in the initiatives of the ASA Committee on Minorities in Statistics, including serving as a mentor since 2012. She also is a mentor at Procter & Gamble and helps deliver programs to build the African American (AA) community equity in addition to recruiting AAs from STEM disciplines and driving the retention and advancement of AA PhDs. Her proudest moments are when the individuals she mentors or coaches reach their personal and professional goals. The quote, “Some of us will make tiny ripples and others will send waves crashing, but each one will change the surface of the water forever,” by Robin Dance, summarizes Swift’s philosophy of the impact one can have.

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