2021 Birds of a Feather Session


Erin Chapman

Pronouns: she/her
American Statistical Association and Institute of Mathematical Staitistics

Session: Birds of a Feather

American Statistical Association's Dedication to Justice, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The American Statistical Association is committed to strengthening our professional community by making it more just, equitable, diverse and inclusive in all forms of our operation. We have recently formed the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Outreach Group led by Dr. Kimberly Sellers, a long standing leader in the statistical sciences field. The JEDI group is working with members to identify and overcome any systemic racism and hindering biases of any kind, identify and developing resources in our professional community to enable growth and appreciation for different cultures. We will share openly our diversity and inclusion efforts and solutions we have implemented. By making recommendations for policy and infrastructure changes to the board of directors and other senior leaders we will drive positive change within the organization. This will include potential changes to the services and benefits of ASA members, educational guidance and support for students, adding new professional development programs, development activities and conference committees. We will also be running a public relations campaign to make the knowledge and support of this group known within the wider statistical community. We also want to propose mechanisms to the public on how to use statistics and data science in systems responsibly so that they don’t unintentionally contribute to widespread racial and ethnic bias in society. For example, common issues to address would be facial recognition algorithms, predictive policing and optimization of machine learning algorithms. We would also like ways to support the findings statistics and data sciences to support the development of inclusive algorithms that increase support for minority groups. As a member of the programming committee, I know we would love to hear any ideas you have for activities or initiatives for this group, we would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments, we would appreciate that feedback as well. The short term vision is to make these changes within the ASA but also provide an example for the general scientific communities in which our members participate. We know our goals are lofty so we will be starting with high value targets over the next year to support inclusivity and eventually spread not just to conference and professionals but K-12 to post-secondary students. We want to make sure everyone feels safe joining our organization, attending meetings and events, and using other resources available via the ASA.

Bio: By day, Erin Chapman is your average computer scientist and mathematician. By night, she’s a data scientist out to change the world. Her personal work involves using data science to advocate for and create more inclusive environments. As part of that work, Erin was recently nominated to the American Statistical Association’s outreach group for Justice, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (and yes, it is referred to as the JEDI group). She is currently serving on the program committee and is helping to form the direction this group will take in the future. The JEDI group as a whole is currently writing the responsibilities for each committee and the essential individual roles on each one. The program committee is also writing their intentions for involvement and support of minorities in statistics. As part of this, they would like input from the statistical community on ways any minority group feel they could use support. The standards developed by this group are intended to be copied or used as a model for other statistical organizations, so input from the community is key at this stage. They currently have a very sparse website http://www.datascijedi.org but does have links to their social media accounts which are becoming more active as the communications committee ramps up. If you want to learn more about what the JEDI group is doing, current status, have ideas for the future or just want to talk about how awesome data is, join Erin for a birds of a feather chat! Note: This BoF session is intended to be an extremely safe and inclusive space for everyone. To help people potentially feel more comfortable speaking up, Erin would like you to know she is a disabled female who works with a service dog and is a parent of a disabled child. If you have thoughts but aren’t ready to share them in public, please reach out to Erin at erin@mcgladreychapman.com. If you have any questions as to what a safe and inclusive environment looks like, please refer to the conference’s code of conduct for further details.”