Skip to main content

U of I hosting Women in Data Science Conference on March 4

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is participating in the Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference being held at an estimated 150 locations worldwide on March 4, 2019. The event, which will feature local speakers working in data science fields and a live stream from Stanford University, will take place at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) from 1:30-7:00 p.m in the auditorium. WiDS Urbana-Champaign is an independent event organized by NCSA. This event is free and open to all.

“Hosting WiDS Urbana-Champaign at Illinois is an opportunity to highlight the campus expertise around data science led by women,” said Alice Delage, Associate Project Manager for NCSA and the Midwest Big Data Hub at the University of Illinois. “Data science and technologies are increasingly impacting our lives and society, and it is imperative that women and minorities be part of these transformations. We want to showcase the groundbreaking work being done in that area by Illinois female data scientists and to inspire more women and underrepresented communities to engage in the field.”

Speakers and panelists

The WiDS event will feature the following speakers as they present sessions on opportunities for women in data science, technical vision talks, and the variety of data science and technology careers available in the Midwest.

  • Melissa Cragin, Executive Director of Midwest Big Data Hub
  • Donna J. Cox, Associate Director for Research and Education, NCSA
  • Ruby Mendenhall, Associate Professor, Sociology & African American Studies
  • Elizabeth Ainsworth, Adjunct Professor, School of Integrative Biology
  • Cathy Blake, Associate Professor, iSchool
  • Colleen Bushell, Senior Research Scientist, NCSA
  • Megan Konar, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Elif Ertekin, Associate Professor, Mechanical Science and Engineering
  • Rini Bhattacharya Mehta, Assistant Professor, Comparative & World Literature
  • Emily Scherbring, Assistant Director of Human Resources, NCSA
  • Melissa Haynes, Crime Analyst, Urbana Police Department
  • Beth E. Ladd, Director Data Innovation Lab, Caterpillar
  • Amy Russell, Hydrologist, USGS
  • Kitan Akinosho, Student, Carle Illinois College of Medicine
  • And more…


University of Illinois’ WiDS ambassador is Emily Scherbring, Assistant Director of Human Resources, NCSA and co-ambassador Alice Delage, Associate Project Manager, MBDH and NCSA. WiDS Urbana-Champaign is sponsored by NCSA, the Midwest Big Data Hub and Women@NCSA.

Schedule and registration

To look at the day’s events, get more information, and register, go to

Also, make sure to check out our Facebook event.

To hear from other speakers from other host universities around the world, listen to the WiDS podcast.

About Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference

The Global WiDS Conference aims to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and support women in the field. The technical conference provides an opportunity to learn about the latest data science related research and applications in a number of domains, and connect with others in the field.

About NCSA

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation’s science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students, and collaborators from around the globe use advanced digital resources to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing one third of the Fortune 50® for more than 30 years by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

About the Midwest Big Data Hub

The Midwest Big Data Hub (MBDH) incubates collaborative partnerships among academic, industry, government, and non-governmental organizations to drive economic development and capacity-building for data science practices, policies, standards, and applications.

The Midwest Big Data Hub is one of four regional Big Data Innovation Hubs launched in 2015 with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Based at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the MBDH has four “satellite” sites at Indiana University, Iowa State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of North Dakota, and a growing network of academic, industry, and non-governmental partners. The MBDH serves twelve states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Disclaimer: Due to changes in website systems, we've adjusted archived content to fit the present-day site and the articles will not appear in their original published format. Formatting, header information, photographs and other illustrations are not available in archived articles.

Back to top