The South Big Data Innovation Hub sponsored five graduate students for a panel at the undergraduate conference “StatFest”, which is a one day conference aimed at encouraging undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups (African American, Hispanic, Native Americans) to consider careers and graduate studies in the statistical and data sciences. These graduate students from various southern institutions were awarded travel fellowships through the South Hub SNAP-DS program, “Stimulating New Activities and Projects in Data Science”.
The South Hub developed the SNAP-DS program to provide travel support and student stipends to students to attend workshops and assist with data collection, tools or collection development, data synthesis, or exposure of ongoing siloed activities that could be made available to the larger Hub community. This SNAP-DS model will catalyze Hub members to develop, collect, and expose data and resources for the benefit of the entire national Big Data Hub network. The pictured students utilized their SNAP-DS award to participate as panelists for the 2017 StatFest held at Emory University to share their experiences of being a statistics major, and as a minority or persons of color in the field, to encourage undergraduate students to enter the statistics field.
In preparation for StatFest 2018, here are a few student testimonials describing this unique opportunity. Travel awards are available this year.
Renee Dale, Ph.D. candidate in Biology and MS candidate in Statistics at LSU:
‘StatFest showed me the value of encouraging undergraduates who are interested in math and statistics to consider an interdisciplinary field such as biostatistics. Students may not be aware of these opportunities, or what kind of degrees allow them to get good jobs down the line. I was particularly inspired by the fantastic mentorship demonstrated by the speakers, and I hope to follow in their steps in the future.’
Jemar Bather, M.S. candidate in Statistics at NYU:
‘This was the second StatFest conference I attended. It has given me the opportunity to network with other minority professionals in statistics and learn how they overcame the hurdles I am currently encountering. I am looking forward to attending my third StatFest in 2018 at Amherst!’
Brittney Bailey, Ph.D. candidate in Biostatistics at Ohio State University:
‘I was invited to attend StatFest as a graduate student panelist. I expected that I would just be there to provide some advice and perspective for prospective graduate students, but I walked away with much more. I took notes during each presentation, in part to try to capture the passion that was expressed by the different speakers and panelists. I was able to network with potential employers, collaborators, and colleagues. I learned how other institutions are investing in their undergraduate students and it gave me ideas for how I want to engage students in the future. I also received advice on tailoring job application materials, what to look for in a career, and how to balance work and life in different career settings.’
Ishmael Ohene Asamoah, M.S. candidate in Applied Statistics at the University of Akron:
‘Meeting corporate professionals, professors, and students who have a common burning desire to acquire all the relevant skills necessary for a successful career in the world of statistics and data science during the StatFest 2017 was truly an eye opener and an opportunity to grow and network. This September event held at Emory University ran me through a good number of areas that I can consider in applying my skills to as a Data Scientist. [A] bright light was thrown on [a few] modern and advanced statistical techniques that are useful in this modern-day business and research [via] my individual discussions with the Professors who attended. I was left with a very strong quest to research more into these areas and the results of my [findings]; so far [research] into these advanced methods, has greatly added value. I can’t wait to get together again under this umbrella of knowledge next year. The richness of the networks will forever stick with me in the years to come.’
Brittany Green, Ph.D. candidate in Business Analytics and Statistics at the University of Cincinnati:
“I really enjoyed participating in StatFest both in terms of giving tips to undergraduates on my current experience in a graduate program, and receiving advice and building connections with those in industry and academia.”
Excited to attend this event? Click Here for more information about StatFest 2018!