What has you most excited about the future of your profession?
It’s exciting to see that data science is one of the fastest-growing professions and shows no signs of slowing down. When I began my career as a statistician, there were fewer tools and methodologies to leverage. Today, we have a wide variety of techniques at our disposal in the A.I. field.
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Or, what advice would you give young women looking for a career in your field?
I would tell my 20-year-old self to be more ambitious and set more challenging goals. I would encourage women to love math and try coding and not be discouraged if they are one of the only women in a technical class. In my first semester at Georgia Tech, I was the only woman in most of my grad classes. The men were mostly engineers and technically better coders than me. It’s important not to get discouraged. I took extra coding classes and turned a weakness into a strength. Remember that no one will be better than you on every front, so you will always have something to bring to the table.
What challenges will the next generation of female leaders face?
I believe the challenge of balancing your work and private life in a constantly changing field will remain for some time. With the current pandemic, women have a higher share of the burden of taking care of children (and their schooling) at home. I felt pressure to balance both my career and family life. I hope that future generations will have the freedom to pursue what makes them happy. Our society is becoming more progressive, and as a result, women’s success is becoming less tied to marriage or children.