Erwin Counting the Ways to Mentor Women in Mathematics
Samantha Erwin, data scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), has a doctorate degree in mathematics. Erwin and her female colleagues represent the 30 percent of students receiving doctorate degrees, while 70 percent of doctoral degrees in mathematics and statistics are earned by men.
Erwin understands the significance of encouraging other women to pursue careers in mathematics. She was one of six speakers during the Careers Using Mathematics panel at the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics (NCUWM).
“NCUWM is the flagship conference women in mathematics should attend,” said Erwin. “It gives women a chance to learn about careers and graduate programs throughout the country.”
During the conference, she also hosted two breakout sessions, “Careers in Data Science” and “Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree.”
At PNNL, Erwin’s research focuses on developing mathematical models to elucidate biological mechanisms. She works on projects in multi-omics, multiscale modeling, biological threats, and One Health.
“Sam is an outstanding data scientist and role model,” said Lauren Charles, chief data scientist at PNNL. “She cares deeply about supporting women in math and data science, going above and beyond to promote and mentor women in these highly technical areas.”
Women make up about 40 percent of those who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics and statistics in the United States. The number drops to 30 percent at the doctoral level, according to the National Science Foundation.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln wanted to create a platform to support undergraduate women in mathematics to pursue graduate study in mathematics and to seek careers in the field. That was the primary motivation to start the first NCUWM in 1999. The 25th Annual NCUWM was held on January 20–22, 2023, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Travel and registration for all the students to attend is free, and registration is limited to juniors and seniors.
For Erwin, this was her third NCUWM. She first attended NCUWM as an undergraduate at Murray State University and was later invited while a graduate student with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Published: February 14, 2023