On February 25th, 2019 the Statistics and Probability Association under the leadership of undergraduate students Annie Wan, Emily Flanagan, Hank Flury, Danni Shi, and Stephanie Wu hosted the first S.P.A. Women in S.T.E.M. Panel. Panelists consisted of distinguished academics Daniela Witten, Bianca Viray, Zorah Fung, and Paula Heron. Representing the UW Departments of Biostatistics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, and Physics respectively, these four women both inspired and humbled attendees by answering difficult and thought-provoking questions from audience members. Topics that were discussed included the difficulties of work-life balance, the perception of women as inferior or undeserving, the sexist roles that many women unwillingly find themselves in, and, more positively, the attitudes and practices that the panelists internalized to achieve the levels of success that they currently have.
Consisting of a roughly even spread of women and men, the audience members were mostly undergraduate statistics majors in the 2019 and 2020 cohorts. Many were curious about the nuances of navigating the academic and professional worlds as well as the life paths of these highly successful women. Through the telling of personal anecdotes and moments of reflection, the panelists both commanded and radiated respect for students and their fellow colleagues. Overall, the event was executed successfully and left students with much food for thought.
Special thanks to Haozhe Li for photography and S.P.A. members for organization and support.