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Beyond Big Data: Supporting Students and Early-Career Professionals

1 February 2022 No Comment
Claire Bowen, SDSS 2022 Program Chair

    A wave of déjà vu hit me when I read Dave Hunter’s Amstat News article, “SDSS: Data Science and Statistics on the Pittsburgh Waterfront.” As the 2020 SDSS program chair, he described how the conference would expand the career service and include a corporate-student meetup event, speed mentoring, and lunch/dinner conversations at the convention center and downtown Pittsburgh.

    With the pandemic, we know these events did not happen. However, reading Dave’s article two years later, I find myself optimistic about an in-person conference in Pittsburgh with similar activities. Registration opens online February 15, and the lightning abstract submission deadline is March 10.

    As I reflect on the past two years, I know many of us were grateful we could work from home, but we know students and early-career professionals missed out on developing their professional networks. While brainstorming ideas for what to do this year, the committee unanimously agreed to focus on students and early-career professionals.

    To give everyone a chance to reconnect and encourage new connections, we plan to showcase student work with a student poster session as part of our opening mixer Tuesday evening, June 7. The event will provide a welcoming environment for students to network.

    On the second day, we will host a career plenary panel featuring individuals from government, industry, and government. Panelists are the following:

    • Rebecca Doerge, Glen de Vries Dean, Mellon College of Science, Carnegie Mellon University
    • Leonard Lucas, adviser scientist, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program
    • Chris Volinsky, assistant vice president for data science and AI research, AT&T

    The panel members will start by answering a few introductory questions for 15–20 minutes before splitting into three focus groups based on their sector. We will then ask mid- and late-career SDSS attendees to participate and help answer questions.

    We will also have a speed mentoring session for students and early-career professionals that allows them to quickly meet several attendees. This event will be paired with informal lunch meetups, in which students and early-career professionals sign up to have lunch with a particular mentor.

    Additionally, we reached out to sponsors to support student travel awards. We hope to have several students attend 2022 SDSS and expand their professional network.

    Of course, these events will only be successful if we have additional volunteers from the 2022 SDSS community. If you plan to attend 2022 SDSS as a mid- to late-career professional and these activities interest you, participate by filling out this form.

    People who know me know I am a wannabe foodie. This is why I’m so excited the Westin Pittsburgh hotel is walking distance from the famous Strip District—a ‘foodie heaven.’ I promise to find good food after each day’s exceptional talks and events, so make your travel plans now!

    Get Ready for SDSS

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