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The 2020 Bioinformatics Community Conference brings together the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference (BOSC) and the Galaxy Community Conference into a single event featuring training, a meeting, and a CollaborationFest. Events run from July 17 through July 25, and is held in both the eastern and western hemispheres.

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Monday, July 20 • 23:30 - 23:35
Codeathons as a tool for improving diversity in computer science 🍐

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Abstract


The presenter(s) will be available for live Q&A in this session (BCC West).

ALLISSA DILLMAN 1, RANA MORRIS 2, PETER COOPER 3, ERIC SAYERS 4, BART TRAWICK 5

1 Allissa Dillman, NCBI/NLM/NIH, Bethesda MD 20892 allissa.dillman@nih.gov
2 Rana Morris NCBI/NLM/NIH, Bethesda MD 20892
3 Peter Cooper NCBI/NLM/NIH, Bethesda MD 20892
4 Eric Sayers NCBI/NLM/NIH, Bethesda MD 20892
5 Bart Trawick NCBI/NLM/NIH, Bethesda MD 20892

Project Website: https://ncbi-codeathons.github.io/
Source Code: https://github.com/topics/womenled-nih-2019
License: MIT License

Women are underrepresented in computer science, accounting for only ~18% of the population
receiving degrees in this field. These numbers have been dropping since the 1980s when female
representation was at ~37%. A perceived lack of experience and of few opportunities of female
mentorship are often cited as barriers to women entering computationally intensive fields. Hackathons
are one place where early career computer scientists can explore their creativity and code as part of a
team. Additionally, these events also allow the opportunity to network with others in the biological,
data, and computer science fields, improving representation throughout career stages and creating
opportunities to find novel mentors. Finally, hackathons are a great way to learning new skills, tools and
technologies on the fly from peers. However, hackathons typically also have a gender gap that reflects
the overall participation rate in computer science, with only around 20-25% of participants being
female. Our goal was to facilitate collaboration among communities in science and technology who may
often not interact and to increase the representation of women in computer science activities. To this
end, we created the women-led biodata science codeathon, an event with all-female organization and
leadership and where team projects were proposed, led, developed and presented by women. The
event itself was held May 8-10, 2019 on the National Institutes of Health main campus in Bethesda
Maryland. We had forty-six women from 11 NIH institutes, 10 universities, two consulting firms, two
industrial companies, and a software company work together as teams on eight projects using cloud
infrastructure provide free of charge by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The majority
of our participants were first time hackathoners and many of them cited the fact that this event was
women-led as the reason for their interest. The event was so successful several teams continue to
collaborate on their codeathon projects, through on-going analysis, writing manuscripts, and working on
posters for upcoming conferences. Many women were asking for another iteration of the event before it
had even finished. The 2nd annual women-led BioData Science Codeathon at NIH will take place in the
fall of 2020. We are continuing to empower diverse coding, science and technologies groups with the
goal of creating more codeathons and other data and computational events that will encourage data
democratization for all.
Document Outline

Speakers

Monday July 20, 2020 23:30 - 23:35 EDT
BOSC