Diversity in Data Science: Challenges and Possibilities 


Data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are among the fastest-growing technologies of the 21st century. The rapid adoption of AI and data-driven decision making will have a substantial impact on job availability, privacy and security, education at all levels, business operations, accessibility of information, scientific activity, and how we interact with each other and with the world around us. The potential challenges of this transformation include data bias, misinformation and disinformation, privacy and security concerns, and autonomy and accountability. In order to ensure that all members of society benefit equally from these technology advances, it is essential for the industry to recognize, understand, and mitigate against potential negative consequences. One of the best ways to accomplish these goals is to increase the diversity of the engineers who create these systems.

Dr. desJardins will talk about the current state of AI, machine learning, and data science; the future of AI technology; the importance of diversity for creating robust, effective engineering solutions; and how we can thoughtfully ensure that these technologies will positively affect our lives and the lives of generations to come.


Dr. Marie desJardins is the Dean of the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences. In this role she will lead collaboration among faculty and other stakeholders in pursuing the growth and development of College programs and initiatives, align an interdisciplinary collaboration that increases pathways from undergraduate to graduate study in growing fields, and promote a culture of research and scholarly productivity through innovative teaching and engaged learning.
Prior to joining Simmons, Dr. desJardins served as Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's College of Engineering and Information Technology, where she oversaw multiple assessment activities, including leading a successful re-accreditation of four undergraduate engineering and computing undergraduate curriculum. A career educator, Dr. desJardins has published over 100 scientific papers in journals, conferences, and workshops. Her research is in artificial intelligence, focusing on the areas of machine learning, multi-agent systems, planning, interactive AI techniques, information management, reasoning with uncertainty, and decision theory. Dr. desJardins graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in engineering and computer science, and earned her PhD in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.