On June 13th, IBM Developer and Heriot-Watt University in Dubai, in collaboration with Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) conducted the Women in Data Science Stanford (WiDS) regional event for Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The audience wasn’t limited to the region, we had over 100 attendees from all over the world!
We had extraordinary women speaking about very interesting topics from different domains like Research, Biology, Academia, Cyber Security, etc.
The event kicked-off with Dr Eva-Marie Muller-Stuler’s keynote session. She is the Data and AI practice leader at IBM and she spoke about how we can leverage data science opportunities in this time of the COVID-19 crisis.
Next up, we had 2 brilliant speakers who gave 20-minute tech-talks. The first tech-talk was by Dr. Bushra AlBlooshi who is the Research & Innovation Manager at Dubai Electronic Security Centre and she spoke about how AI is shaping the future of CyberSecurity especially in the UAE. Following that, we had Dr. Hind Zantout who is an Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University. Her talk was about Ethics in AI and why is there a need for legislation.
We then had a round of lightning talks where speakers were given 5 minutes to speak about an interesting topic with high-level detail. There were 5 speakers for this session:
- Melissa Sassi, Chief Penguin — IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator, IBM: she spoke about purpose & passion in your career, entrepreneurship and imposter syndrome
- Tilila El Moujahed, Data Scientist, Microsoft: she spoke about Using Data Science to analyze your genome and how it can be used to cure diseases
- Neamat EL Gayar, Associate Director of Research, Heriot-Watt University: she spoke about the difference between conducting machine learning research and applying ML for an industry-based use case
- Dina Mohammed Laity, Head of Data Science, Property Finder: spoke about Delivering Successful Data Products and some of the key differences
- Divya Sharma, HR Leader — Global Business Services, IBM: she spoke about creating a career in data science. This talk drove the upcoming panel.
With data science being one of the most trending jobs out there, there is a lot of confusion on how you get started with a data science career. The first panel, led by Chada, was about careers in data science for women. The panelists answered some of the most pressing issues when it comes to data science careers. The panelists included: Divya Sharma from IBM, Dr. Haleh Najafzadeh from GE Aviation and Melissa Sassi from IBM.
After we all had a short break, we began the second phase of our event. In the second phase, we had 2 tech talks speakers: Nabila Sofia Echadli who is a Cyber Security and Data Expert and CEO at Anthenorm Intelligence, and our second speaker Rema M. Algunaibet who is an A.I. and Robotics Project Leader. In the first talk, Nabila spoke about Meta Data and the future of data science in Cybersecurity. Whereas, in the second tech talk, Rema spoke about Elevating Customer’s Experience (CX) with A.I. and Robotics.
Next, we had another round of lightning talks where speakers were given 5 minutes to speak about an interesting topic with high-level detail. There were 5 speakers for this session:
- Lama Halwaji, Design Lead for IBM Garage MENA, IBM: spoke about how you can apply design thinking to a data science project
- Fatema Takavoli, Freelancer: spoke about using Data Science in the food and beverages industry
- Mona AlZubaidi, Data Scientist, Siemens Logistics: she talked about the journey of moving from doing research in academia to data science in industry
- Dr. May Laith Naser Al Tae, Learning Technology and Innovation Director, Abu Dhabi School of Government: spoke about how the digital age has propelled access to knowledge to new unprecedented levels — Future of work and skills
- Ameera Bawazir and Deena AbuHijleh, ex IBM Interns: they both spoke about how data science and AI can help transform the processes in the media industry.
The last session was a panel that was again hosted by Chada. The topic of discussion was ‘Future Outlook of Data, at times of crisis’. The panelists spoke about how the future of data science looks like and the next steps after COVID-19. The panelists were: Nabila Sofia Echadli from Anthenorm Intelligence, Tilila El Moujahed from Microsoft and Dr. Hind Zantout from Heriot-Watt University.
Communities and Conclusion
In the end, Susan Malaika discussed the various communities for women interested in the data science field. You can see the links to join the communities below:
- Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) UAE — http://arabwic.org
- Data and AI Association for the Middle East and Africa https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8729078/
- Dubai Women in Data — https://www.meetup.com/Dubai-Women-In-Data/IEEE
- Women in Engineering UAE — https://ieee.ae/en/communities/wie/LeanIn
- Creative Women in UAE — https://leanin.org/circles/creative-women-in-uae
- Women in Tech Dubai — https://www.meetup.com/Women-In-Tech-Dubai/
Missed the event? Don’t worry here’s the playlist of all the talks: Playlist
Thanks to the WiDS ambassadors and Susan Malaika for pulling off this amazing event.