Editor’s Letter—Vol. 30, No. 2

Dear CHANCE Colleagues,

On January 21, 2017, women stood unified for human rights at the Women’s March in Washington, DC, and around the country. Women are coming together in statistics, too. In October of 2016, the ASA sponsored a conference entitled Women in Statistics in Data Science (WSDS). The WSDS brought together hundreds of statistical practitioners and data scientists, highlighting the achievements and career interests of women in statistics and data science. Attendees were varied in career stages, and represented industrial, academic, and government communities. People shared their perspectives on the role of women in today’s statistics and data science fields.

The impact of women in statistics has been enormous. Women such as Florence Nightingale David, Gertrude Cox, Janet Norwood, Enid Charles, Elizabeth Scott, Helen M. Walker, Aryness Joy Wickens, Margaret E. Martin, and Stella Cunliffe have helped to shape the field. But contributions from women often go unrecognized. More work is needed to level the playing field in terms of visibility and opportunity. In this issue, we share contributions from WSDS 2016 meeting speakers. Our thanks to Dalene Stangl for her enormous effort in organizing the issue and editing the articles.

In the first article, Donna Brogan tells the personal story of her career, the challenges of sex discrimination, and her pursuit of equal rights and opportunities for women. Cathy Furlong then discusses developing leadership skills through volunteer activities. Joanne Wendelberger discusses challenges in data science and how statistics can be used to address many Big Data challenges. Susmita Datta encourages statisticians to become involved with omics biomedical research and particularly in personalized medicine. Erin Wiley elaborates on the challenges and importance of effective communication. Kimberly Sellers, Emma Benn, Maria Garcia, and Meghan Kellam discuss addressing implicit bias among women statisticians and data scientists. Ming-Wen An and Donna Lalonde describe the ASA’s Committee on Funded Research and how it can assist researchers and promote collaborations. Lastly, Dalene Stangl describes why she is still “kicking and screaming” after a career spanning three decades in “From Truth or Dare to Truth and Dare.”

In our columns, Dalene Stangl interviews her column (Taking a Chance in the Classroom) colleague Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, the recipient of the 2016 ASA Waller Education Award, which honors individuals for innovation in elementary statistics instruction. Mine discusses her teaching philosophy and practice. In the Odds of Justice, Mary Gray discusses discrimination and the law, and educates us regarding our rights.

Planning for WSDS 2107 is underway. Visit the website for details.

Scott Evans