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Press Release: Women in Data Science (WIDS) Stanford

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Stanford University to Retain Strong Connections to Women in Data Science (WiDS) Worldwide as WiDS Becomes Independent Non-Profit

Stanford University will remain tightly integrated with Women in Data Science (WiDS) Worldwide as WiDS embarks on a new chapter as an independent non-profit. The spin-out, which began earlier this year and finished last month, was officially announced last week at WiDS’ September 14th virtual conference. 

Responding to a need to highlight the work of talented women in data science, WiDS began as a one-day technical conference at Stanford in 2015. Since then, WiDS has transformed into a global movement to elevate and empower women. Today, WiDS reaches 150,000 participants in more than 160 countries each year through a datathon program, skill-building workshops, secondary school curriculum, conferences and a podcast series. WiDS’ new structure will enable further growth with a global focus.

“After decades of seeing women underrepresented in technical fields, I launched WiDS with colleagues at Stanford to build community and impactful programs. I’m encouraged with what we’ve already accomplished, and we have a lot more work to do to reach 30% representation for women in education, innovation, and leadership by 2030,” says Dr. Margot Gerritsen, the Co-founder and Executive Director of WiDS Worldwide and Professor Emerita at Stanford. “Stanford will continue to play an integral role in WiDS’ new chapter, from co-hosting our annual conference and advising for our Datathon to faculty, staff, and student involvement in WiDS’ initiatives.”

“WiDS is a key element of Stanford Data Science’s support of women and other groups who have historically been excluded from the field, which is essential to our mission of strengthening cutting-edge research and the people conducting it,” says Stanford Data Science Director of Engagement and Partnerships Elizabeth Wilsey. “We’re excited to continue sharing ideas, resources, and participating in each other’s programming as WiDS looks to reach new audiences and Stanford Data Science invests in exciting new opportunities for students and faculty.”  

Stanford Data Science (SDS) is an interdisciplinary program that accelerates data science education and data-driven discovery across Stanford and beyond. Through programs, events, and community, SDS empowers students and faculty engaged in data-intensive science to explore, collaborate, and exchange ideas. 

SDS hosts a wide range of programming, such as Data Science Scholars and the Data Science for Social Good summer fellowship, as well as four distinct research centers, including the Stanford Causal Science Center (SC2) and the Center for Sustainability Data Science (SuDS). 

SDS will soon launch a new industry affiliate program that will provide a pathway for companies to engage Stanford data science researchers around topics of shared interest. This year’s SDS Distinguished Lecture Series will kick off on Tuesday, October 10, with University of Washington Professor Jeff Heer sharing his work on data visualization, human-computer interaction, and social computing. 

As part of Stanford and WiDS’ continued integration, the joint WiDS Stanford 2024 conference will be held at Stanford University on March 8, 2024, with registration opening in late October. More details on the conference, as well as the annual WiDS Datathon, will be available soon through WiDS Worldwide and Stanford Data Science. Stanford will remain a home for WiDS programming as it continues to work closely with the organization to ensure women can take full advantage of opportunities in data science.