Jasmine Williams: My first step to healing from WISDOM (Women in Stats, Data Science, and Omics)

As it grew nearer to the fall season my heart and mind grew heavier. This was the first birthday and holiday gatherings without grandma. I became distant from everything outside of my family and work, and knew I had to get out of this emotional funk. The 2017 Women in Statistics and Data Science conference brought together hundreds of data scientists and statisticians from all walks of life in an intimate setting to share their personal and professional experiences.

I made it just in time for Dr. Susmita Datta’s “Making Your Mark” opening remarks where she shared her journey to becoming a statistician working in academia. Not everything in her story seemed as glamorous as her resume/CV but it didn’t make her story unworthy to be told. A balanced mix of sacrifices and risks were taken for Dr. Datta to be who she is, what she is, and where she is today.

“Use your fear to grow”, “Open heart, open mind”, and “Don’t be afraid to take a risk to modify your goals” are a few of the #motivationalmonday mantras I mentally collected and stored from my overall experience at WSDS. Most of these, if not all, are mantras that we all live by to figure life out.

My grandmother wasn’t a R-Lady, statistician, data scientist, epidemiologist, or any –gists for that matter. But she was a woman that took risks that brought her out of the comfort zone; she used her fear (young widowed mother) to grow in order to raise her children and grandchildren, and inspired her friends, family, and family-friends to have an open heart and mind approach to life.

I am so fortunate to be part of R-Ladies that showcases the WSDS17 motto: knowledge, community, and influence (WSDS17 Motto). We all have hardships but it so important to push yourself and so as we enter 2018 let’s push.