On 10 March this year, uDASH hosted its first panel discussion on Data Science leaders, in celebration of both International Women’s Day and Women in Data Science Day.

Every 8 March on International Women’s Day, all around the world, events and online discussions focus on the significant roles and contributions of women to society. The day also coincides with Women in Data Science Day—so at uDASH, we had a lot to celebrate that week!

With the promotional support of the Australian Data Science Network (ADSN) uDASH hosted ‘Breaking Barriers and Driving Innovation: Women’s Impact and Leadership in Data Science’—a panel discussion with female-identifying academic and industry leaders. Guests heard from this mix of leading experts and had the opportunity to network with fellow data scientists extending beyond UNSW over a light lunch. A livestream was available for those wanting to tune in from elsewhere and is now available [here].

With an audience of more than 50 people, the discussion spanned how to develop the key skills for success in data science, solutions to the biggest hurdles for female-identifying data scientists, successful diversity and inclusion initiatives in the data science field, and career advice for aspiring young female-identifying data scientists.

uDASH host Dr Sahani Pathiraja led a diverse range of panellists including:

Eva Taase - She Loves Data

A highly experienced business professional with a diverse range of experience gained in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and Australia. Eva has worked in various fields such as procurement, quality and change management, and senior management. She is passionate about tech and data and has been volunteering for non-profit organization She Loves Data since 2017, leading the ANZ region and global data analytics team. In January 2023, Eva began working full time for She Loves Data as a Program Manager for the new certification program SLDxDigital.

A/Prof. Katja Hanewald - UNSW

An Associate Professor in the School of Risk and Actuarial Studies and the Coordinator of the Actuarial Co-op Program at UNSW Sydney. She is also an Associate Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) and the Director of Research CEPAR’s Ageing Asia Research Hub. Her research models longevity and healthy ageing trends and develops risk management and insurance responses to population ageing.

Prof. Lucy Marshall - Macquarie University

A Professor of Engineering and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. Lucy is a water resources engineer, with expertise in hydrologic modelling, environmental model optimisation, and quantification of uncertainty in water resources analysis. She has a special interest in understanding how environmental observations can be used to quantify uncertainty in systems undergoing change. Her research has spanned the development of new models in the most heavily instrumented watershed in the United States to making flood predictions in ungauged catchments across Australia. Lucy is passionate about inclusive education in STEMM and championing the next generation of STEMM leaders to become innovators and problem solvers.

Hema Prasad

A seasoned Data & Analytics executive leader with more than 20 years of global experience enabling large-scale business transformations via data, analytics & business intelligence for Fortune-50 and ASX clients in USA, India and Australia. Specialising in data strategy, data platforms modernisation, data architecture, governance, big data, cloud & platform engineering, data science and analytics, Hema is a highly regarded and recognised data practitioner. An active public speaker, industry advisor and mentor, she is passionate about working with students and aspiring data professionals to raise awareness on data & analytics and STEM career pathways.