Algorithmic Fairness | Sian Lewis


February 12th, 2021

1 hr 5 mins 10 secs

Season 9

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

Siann is a lead data scientist and analytics manager at Booz Allen Hamilton where she helps her stakeholders cut through the clutter to make better decisions, and leads a team that transforms complex problems into simple solutions.

For her contributions to data science and social good, she’s been awarded the 2020 Women of Color in STEM All Star award, the 2019 DCFemTech award, and the 2017 Prince George’s County, MD 40 Under 40 honoree.




Corporate Profile:


[00:04:17] "When you're an immigrant, you find any form of these social enclaves. Wherever you are with people who are similar to you, who are from similar countries as you, you form tight knit communities."

[00:08:29] "You know, I went to grad school. I was terrible at it. I didn't want to be there. And I actually learned that I had no interest in actually anything health care related. So I quit after great anguish, great terror. And I was like, oh, my God, what am I going to do with my life?"

[00:14:08] "I love that people think that we are magical wizards that control the world. And then I get to burst people's bubble..."

[00:14:31] "I also love Data science because I blink and something new has come out that has fundamentally changed the way I did things. Literally every single day there's something new, there's a new package, there's a new technique, there's a new finding. There's a new paper that comes out. And I get to rethink what I learned in school. I get to rethink what I've done practically over the years. And I love that."

[00:18:42] "You're hired to solve a very specific problem. And the problems are usually in three categories: How are you going to increase usage of something? How are you going to increase revenue? Or how are you going to increase engagement on something?"


[00:03:14] Where Siann grew up and what it was like there

[00:05:30] The immigrant experience

[00:06:18] What Siann was like in high school

[00:08:13] The journey into data science

[00:10:50] How data science is used in political science

[00:14:03] What do you love most about being a data scientist?

[00:15:21] Do you consider Data science machine learning to be an art or purely a hard science?

[00:17:58] What role do you think being creative and curious plays in being successful as a Data scientist?

[00:20:57] What is a model and why is it that we even build them in the first place?

[00:22:39] How can we use algorithms to build models with equality and equality?

[00:28:25] How to make sure you’re building a fair model

[00:29:20] Some tips for feature engineering

[00:35:53] Project idea for survey data

[00:36:19] The importance of MLOps

[00:37:51] Communicating model results with business stakeholders

[00:40:17] The non-obvious skills you need for success

[00:46:22] Communicating with executives

[00:48:39] Don’t be afraid to apply for a job just because the description looks crazy

[00:52:10] Advice for women in STEM

[00:55:23] How to foster diversity in data science

[00:58:59] It’s 100 years in the future, what do you want to be remembered for?

[00:59:46] The random round

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