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Our July Meetup sought to highlight work and lessons from our community members through a series of short and engaging lightning talks. Important skills for women in data (Rajvi Mehta) Rajvi, a Data Scientist at Vanguard and Philadelphia Chapter Lead of Women in Data, shared her story of becoming a data scientist, and the lessons she learned along the way. She highlighted the following advice: Always seek to update your skill set, because job titles are varied in data science, and it’s a fast paced environment Seek to improve your communication skills, because there is often a need to explain complex statistics to colleagues and clients who have different areas of expertise but who, given the right explanation, could contribute tremendously to the data scientist’s work Seek diversity in teams, as people with diverse backgrounds can bring unique perspectives on solutions, risk, team dynamics, and problem solving approaches Remember that data is not just about the numbers, but it is also about the people behind the data (the end users, the developers implementing data collection systems, the business rules influencing the data being collected, etc.

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Data visualization is paramount to both understanding and presenting your data, whatever your data may be. For our June Meetup, R-Ladies Philly member Jake Riley led an interactive workshop to elucidate aspects of the popular ggplot2 package and share helpful tips and best practices relevant to any R user. The 2 g’s in ggplot2 - defined! Jake explained that the architecture of visualizing data using ggplot2 is based on the grammar of graphics: In ggplot2, just like every sentence has a subject, verb, and noun, every plot has a coordinate system, geom, and aesthetics.

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How to communicate as (minority) data scientists? Being a minority in data science can be tough. It can be tough to get into the field, and sometimes even tougher to make yourself heard in the field. Marieke Jackson, a former epidemiologist turned data scientist, shared how basic rules from improv have helped her navigate day to day challenges. Imagine you are working with an improv partner and you mention those pesky magical flying birds that poop jellybeans.

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Our April meetup with Data Philly focused on the increasingly popular topic of Open Science. See below for the article that R Ladies Philly members Alice, Karla, and Amy co-wrote! This article originally appeared on Technical.ly Philly. What is open science? It’s like open data, but for research. Organizers of the R-Ladies Philly meetup offer an explainer based on talks from their most recent meetup. Many are familiar with the concept of open source in software development, but what is open science?

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In February and March, R-Ladies Philly continued a longstanding community data project with the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) - Philly’s largest no-kill shelter. Last year, we helped PAWS analyze data from volunteer engagement to identify patterns associated with continued volunteering. This year, we worked with PAWS to understand important facets of their sheltering system, including 1) animals’ trajectories at PAWS, 2) the adoption process, 3) geospatial patterns of adoptions, and 4) public engagement via social media.

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Board

Meet our board members

Darina Chudnovskaya, MSc

Darina is a data analyst at a hospital in the Philadelphia area. She uses R to run statistical tests and build models for epidemiological studies with the goal of developing patient interventions for disease prevention. She grew up in Philadelphia. Darina joined R Ladies Philly to meet other R enthusiasts.

Karla Fettich, PhD

Karla works as Head of Algorithm Development at Orchestrall, where she leads behavioral data analytics efforts and predictive model development for healthcare IT innovation. Currently, Karla uses R to create a new product that uses machine learning and predictive analytics to serve as a companion to nurse aides in their care for the elderly. Originally from Romania, Karla completed her B.A. in social and cognitive psychology at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany, her M.A. in social sciences at the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Amy Goodwin Davies, PhD

Amy is a Data Scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with a background in Linguistics. She completed her PhD in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focused on the grammatical representations involved with spoken word recognition. Originally from the UK, Amy moved to Philadelphia in 2012.

Chun Su, PhD

Chun is a bioinformatics scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she explores the influence of the molecular regulatory architecture on the genetic susceptibility for childhood diseases by analyzing genomics data. She completed her PhD in Biology at the University of Virginia, studying a family of parasitic plants that infect crops in Africa. She uses R extensively for statistical analysis and data visualization in her research. Chun joined R Ladies Philly to learn data science and socialize with local R users.

Alice Walsh, PhD

Alice is a computational biologist who works in pharmaceutical drug development and has lived in the Philadelphia area for the last ten years. She uses R to transform biomarker data from patients into useful insights that can help doctors make better decisions. Alice was inspired to start an R-Ladies chapter in Philadelphia after seeing a video of another R-Ladies meetup online.

Jessie Pluto

As a senior analyst at Comcast, Jessie tries to assign value to video programming and predict the impact of specific content loss. She leverages R in her work by building packages and R Markdown documents to automate answers to recurring business questions about video programming and networks. She also uses R in her day-to-day for modeling and data wrangling. Jessie holds a BA in Psychology, a post-grad certification in Applied Statistics from Penn State and is currently working on an MS in Data Science at Drexel.

Board Alumni

Katerina Placek, MSc
Co-Founder and Blog Chair: Jan 2018 - July 2019

Katie Cousins, PhD
Co-Founder: Jan 2018 - July 2018

Sponsors

R-Ladies Philly is fortunate to receive support from several amazing organizations. Contact us to learn more about becoming a sponsor.

RStudio

R consortium

WeWork

Penn Dental

Temple University Center City

Drexel LeBow College of Business

Penn Institute for Urban Research

Orchestrall

Contact

Reach out by email if would like to help plan, sponsor, or host an event. We welcome volunteers!