By Riya Girish – WiBD Intern
This year, Bentley’s User Experience Graduate Association partnered with Women In Big Data (WiBD) to host their annual design hackathon, an event where teams compete to propose innovative solutions conducive to combating prominent obstacles within modern society. The objective of this year’s hackathon was to eliminate bias while increasing diversity among the Big Data and technology community. Teams could choose to approach specific challenges provided to fulfill the objective. This year, every team that participated brought remarkable ideas to the stage, some of which could genuinely amplify the global outreach of Big Data, while increasing inclusion within the field at the same time.
2021’s Winning Hackathon team, team seven, consists of members Hilary M. Barr, Mirabel Awoniyi, Anna Nguyen and Vansham Sundrani, individuals with particularly novel proposals aimed towards developing diversity within Big data. The project they came up with in order to boost the membership base within Women in Big Data was an interactive data visualization installation along with social media, in order to spread awareness and encourage membership engagement. Specifically catered to bringing awareness to women about matters such as gender-based discrepancy within various industries, the visualization installation proposed is an interactive outlet with activities such as mind puzzles that could bring increased engagement and a peaked interest towards topics that Women in Big Data is passionate about helping. In providing students and other audiences with a more hands-on or personal connection to important issues, the likelihood of these interactors actively seeking out Women in Big Data is heightened.
Team seven’s second idea was a social media contest, in which millennials and social media users of younger generations could participate in an easy-to- access contest. The requirements were to follow Women in Big Data’s Instagram and interact with the platform, which is an easy way to introduce the organization to a large audience. The requirement for the contest could be something as simple as creating a 30-second reel for Women in Big Data’s Instagram, where the top three contestants could earn prizes, such as a scholarship. Although the proposal of a competition was common between various teams, this specific idea was unique in its simplicity and ethical application. Younger generations are much more active on social media and may be ready to jump at an opportunity that is both easy and beneficial to their future. In listening to their ideas, Women in Big Data loved that “The physical installation that highlights the disparities between women and men in the big data/tech field gets right to the heart of what WiBD is about and brings to the forefront why we think it is important to speak to this demographic of younger women. “
Additional unique propositions
Along with the phenomenal ideas introduced by team seven, many other proposals deserve recognition for their creativity. Team six introduced Connect, a virtual conference focused on building global relationships between those sharing similar interests pertaining to data science. Various other teams delivered proposals focused on creating an engaging environment through unique conferences. Team three offered a conference based on the fundamentals of spirit that encourages women to support gender equality, experience offering immersive experiences relating to big data, and practice where members can cooperate with companies to solve REAL WORLD Big Data tasks. These fundamentals would be applied through conferences based on interaction through Google cardboard, an affordable Virtual Reality tool that would make the Big Data learning experience that much more enjoyable and genuine. Team crusaders of Big Data proposed a decentralized approach with a creator hub similar to an educational social media format, in which interested participants can connect with mentors to stay engaged with Women in Big Data. Team four used Ikigai, the reason for being, the WHY, as the inspiration behind their idea. They proposed that diversity growth should be focused on “using passion as a lens to approach big data and analytics.” As Group four wisely said, “Stop learning data science to find purpose, and find purpose to learn data science”.
Why this matters
Although every team had unique proposals to address diversity within Big Data and technology, they all shared two clear focal points: A focus on engaging with younger audiences, and a focus on raising awareness about the need for more women in the future of big data science. Many of the ideas brought to the stage by teams in the hackathon can be utilized by Women in Big Data to further our goal of exposure and inclusion of anyone within data science. The 2021 hackathon provided insightful ideas for the future of Women in Big Data’s aspirations, and it was an incredible event to sponsor and contribute to.
The team behind UXGA Design Hackathon 2021: Many thanks Terez Lowry Jeffrey Villa Rebecca D’Agostine Kaydee Gilson Ankita Dutta Brian Yen Jason Gaylord Abhishek Kulkarni Revanth Krishna Walter Pultinas Cecilia Guadalupe Soto Navarro Zach Cohen
The full 2021 Hackathon Competition Video: https://youtu.be/rBunxYSHoQo
Special thanks to Tina Tang and Sunanda Parthasarathy with Women in Big Data who supported the Hackathon, working closely with the UXGA Design Hackathon 2021 Team. Also special thanks to Sora Chung and Neil Metzler for getting us engaged with the opportunity.