Pilot program kicks off in Bay Area high schools
STANFORD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–At the Stanford Women in Data Science Conference (WiDS) today, a new WiDS High School outreach program was announced to inspire high school students to consider careers involving data science, artificial intelligence (AI) and other related areas at their annual WiDS Conference. The program is geared to all high school students, but particularly encourages younger women to consider pursuing data science by educating students about the opportunities within the field and highlighting successful female role models.
The program is being piloted in several high schools, including Eastside Preparatory in East Palo; Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Sequoia High School in Redwood City, and Fremont High School in Sunnyvale. The WiDS High School Outreach Program provides videos specifically designed for secondary school students along with discussion guides and other materials that are being used in a variety of settings—from math and computer science classes to robotics clubs and career centers.
Post-pilot, High School teachers and other secondary school educators will have an opportunity to participate in the program. Interested educators can register today to receive information and notifications about the WiDS High School Outreach Program launch.
“Efforts to solve gender disparity in STEM needs to start at a young age,” says Karen Matthys, Executive Director, External Partners at Stanford’s Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering (ICME) and Co-Director of the WiDS initiative. “We want to engage students before they are tempted to believe the stereotypes that girls are lacking when it comes to STEM, or that if you like science somehow you’re not ‘cool.’ We want to show these kids role models who are in the field and demonstrate just some of the many ways there are to be involved in data science—in whatever area they are passionate about—from healthcare to environmental studies, from music to government. That’s why we created this program.”
Data science, machine learning and AI touch virtually every aspect of life today. It’s a dynamic and fast changing field with ample opportunity. Through day in the life video clips showing young women on the job in data science, talks about the challenges with bias and privacy, discussion guides, a glossary and more, the program will encourage students to consider the possibilities of data science and how it can be used to impact the world—from healthcare to conservation to finance to human rights and beyond.
“I love watching how this curriculum is opening my students’ eyes to the field of data science,” says Marianne Chowning-Dray, Math teacher from Eastside Prep. “They’re beginning to understand how far-reaching the impacts of data science can be and how they might be a part of it.”
The Women in Data Science (WiDS) initiative aims to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and to support women in the field. WiDS started as a conference at Stanford in November 2015. Now, WiDS includes a global organization, with approximately 150+ regional events worldwide; a datathon, encouraging participants to hone their skills using a social impact challenge; a podcast, featuring leaders in the field talking about their work, their journeys, and lessons learned; and ongoing education initiatives.