STEM Outreach and Operations

Tanzeem Haque - Data Engineer

HerWILL’s Lead for STEM Outreach and Operations, Tanzeem Haque is a Data Engineer by profession. Along with being exceptionally brilliant with data and all things related to data, Tanzeem is also an explorer, writer, poet, and overall fascinating human being. She says HerWILL changed her life, and we say that she is one of the people who gave HerWILL its life. Tanzeem makes the world a data-driven insightful place every day.


Datathons, Hackathons, and Job Opportunities

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Power of Data and Women’s Potential – Young Bangladeshi Women Compete to Conquer the Data world

Bangladesh has recently witnessed a historic breakthrough in women’s empowerment through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) with its very first, one-of-a-kind nationwide all-women Datathon from 26th-28th January 2021 led by HerWILL – Women Inspired in Life and Leadership. It was a part of The Ada Lovelace Celebration 2021 organized by BdOSN. The Datathon was prefaced with Data Science workshops to teach the fundamentals of Data Science to help contestants succeed. 177 technology students from 21 districts and 27 Technical Universities of Bangladesh had participated in the workshops and the Datathon.

How many of us know what a Datathon is? Most are familiar with hackathons where you compete to show the mastery of computer programming to either solve a problem or build something new. Datathon, on the other hand, uses a pre-existing dataset, often collected from a researcher working on a particular subject matter. Datathons are usually 24-72 hour long intense competitions requiring the expertise of different statistical methods to data modeling and machine learning with data science-related programming languages like R or Python.

Can you imagine how cool this is for any young girl passionate about pursuing STEM? In the digital world we now live in, the importance of Data Science applications has been well established. We live and breathe data, and generate them infinitely on a daily basis without even thinking about it. 95% of the world’s problems from all aspects will be solved with better data insight. There will be a day when the theories of Data Science in simple terms will be taught starting in elementary schools. But that day is not yet in sight in the near future.

HerWILL wanted to speed up the process with organizing the Datathon as one of its objectives to invite more women into STEM. Altogether 16 renowned academic and industry experts from all over the world dedicated countless hours to mentor, supervise, and judge the contestants to learn and do their best. Global volunteers around the clock worked to help out with every little detail to be perfected. It was one of the most well-orchestrated virtual events Bangladesh has seen.

HerWILL identified the potential and genuine interest in Data Science from the young female minds in Bangladesh and decided to break the geographical barriers to put them in direct contact with the best names in Data Science from around the world. With the expert leaders from six countries in four continents, participants got a global view of the Data Science application and fair competition with a focus on learning. On the flip side, these experts got exposure to the hidden talents, tenacity, and work ethics of Bangladeshi girls who may not have been on their radar before this event. The opportunities to be created from this event with the influence of the judges/supervisors/mentors are endless.

We were thrilled beyond words when we had the renowned Computational Biologist Professor Dr. Burkhard Rost, Professor at Columbia University NY and Head of the Department for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at Technical University Munich to give a talk on “Artificial Intelligence Captures Language of Life Written in Proteins” at the final segment of the Conference.

HerWILL’s Operational Lead Tanzeem Haque worked her magic from ideation to the flawless execution of this event, as we watched in awe working in the background to support her. Her leadership is also a testament to what a singular person can show when empowered by her leaders and supported by the team.

Was this a dream? Believe us, it surely was the dream of the founding team who wanted to bring such a sophisticated event to Bangladeshi girls and women. We look at the proud faces of these brilliant girls and we keep saying that the “sky is the limit” is an understatement. We were touched, honored, and simply awestruck by the hardworking, talented, and dedicated winners of the Datathon – Reeshoon, Fardifa, Tahiya, Nowshin, and Tasfia from Team Reinforced Noobs; Anisha, Priyeta, Adiba, and Muntaka from Team Tessera; Rabeya, Tapotee, Purnata, and Adrita from Team DU Hurukka.

To echo Queen B, “who run the world? GIRLS.” This is true for all the winners here who have the potential to be the queens in the world of STEM. Reflecting on her experience, Tanzeem Haque, shared, “I am honored and blown away by the brilliance of the teams and for the opportunity to mentor them. The girls have every right and reason to be proud of themselves”. Now what exactly is HerWILL and what do we do here? In a nutshell, HerWILL – Women Inspired in Life and Leadership, is a US-based women’s empowerment social enterprise with the goal of achieving true gender equality by 2030 (UN SDG 5) through education, discussions, advocacy, and innovative technology. We walk the talk when we say that we value gender equality, women’s empowerment, cooperation, and collaborative success. We envision to create a world of equal opportunities where women have the freedom to reach their true potentials at every stage of life and career. With its multi-fold initiatives, HerWILL is working relentlessly to foster cross-cultural knowledge sharing and partnerships to build a one-stop-shop of resources to make women successful.

“We did a little in teaching Bangladeshi women about unlocking the secret of the universe with Data. But these young women taught us a whole lot about the power of passion, persuasion, and performance with limited resources and endless challenges”, said Farhana Hasan, Founder and CEO of HerWILL.