Mathematics and statistics professor and director of the data analytics program at Washington State University, Nairanjana “Jan” Dasgupta has been elected president of the international Caucus for Women in Statistics for a one-year term to begin in 2021.
CWS is a professional society formed in 1971 for the education, employment and advancement of women statisticians. It supports an inclusive statistics and data science community by fostering opportunities for education, employment and advancement of women in statistics through advocacy, resources and promotion of research that impacts their careers.
“I feel blessed to be working in a field I love,” Dasgupta said. “Teaching at WSU has always been energizing for me because I thoroughly enjoy the beauty of statistics and mathematics as well as working with students and faculty. I look forward to serving as the 2021 president of the Caucus for Women in Statistics and anticipate a great year.”
Dasgupta is founding director of the Consortium for Interdisciplinary Statistical Education and Research at WSU and is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association, where she has been active in committees focused on career and leadership development.
Dasgupta will be a strong advocate for under-represented minorities, including women in statistics and other data fields, said Charles Moore, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statics at WSU. “She has been fearless in taking on new roles without hesitation. As president of the Caucus for Women in Statistics she will be an effective and strong leader.”
As CWS prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, “we have come a long way,” Dasgupta said. But with lines between statistics and data science beginning to “blur,” students and newcomers in the field face issues of non-inclusive cultures that were presumed already resolved.
“The generation before us tackled these issues and made possible for me and others to succeed,” she said. “Yet in my role as a director of data analytics, students have told me about some of the issues they face. Hence, one of my goals is to facilitate mentorship for the newcomers, going back to our history and relearning how to tackle issues of bias culture.”
Membership in CWS is open to anyone—from academia, industry, government and elsewhere—who supports the group’s mission to advance the careers of women statisticians.