Impact Scholarships 2021 Update

6 min readNov 29, 2021

Fostering more inclusion and belonging in tech and open source with the Impact Scholarship

For the first time at PyData Global Conference, we initiated a new program called the Impact Scholarship program, and we’d now like to share the results on how this program will move forward in 2022.

The purpose of the Impact Scholarships is to foster diversity within our community while supporting inclusion and creating a sense of belonging to anyone identifying as part of an underrepresented group in open source or tech environments. This program is to also provide those interested in further developing their career and increasing their professional impact an opportunity to do so.

We received over 250 applications from 53 different countries within a very short time span. In total, 120 people were accepted to be part of the Program. Participants came from varied backgrounds and, through their applications, demonstrated leadership, community support, and willingness to make a difference, be a role model for others, and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive tech world. Impact Scholars had access to the PyData Global Conference including talks, tutorials, and sprints. The workshops they attended during the event were designed to help them increase their visibility and impact as well as connect with other professionals in the field to learn from their experiences.

On Oct 19th, a Pre-Conference Get-Together happened, in which the PyData Global Impact Community gathered for the first time:

The Program encompassed 17 hours of talks on personal development, open source, data science, DEI & AI Ethics during the PyData Global Conference. The Impact Program was hosted by a conference chair & Oyidiya Oji and we were incredibly grateful to have all of the speakers joining us as volunteers to share their knowledge and inspire the Impact Scholars.


Panel with PyData Global Conference Speakers
The panel was around career advice/guidance, open source contributions, data science 101, etc. And, of course, how it is to be a PyData Global Speaker.

Session 1 with Jesper Dramsch and Sarah Krasnik moderated by Sanket Verma
Session 2
with Musasizi Francis Kamanzi, Nabanita Roy, Quan Nguyen, Eli Sander, Eduardo Blancas Reyes moderated by Conrad Ho

How to kick start your career in data science?
Impact Scholars were divided into groups and assigned a mentor. Each mentor shared a short presentation and used the remaining time of the session to answer questions of the participants on how to start / advance their careers in Data Science.

Mentors: Lauren Oldja, Harshita Diddee, Anfal Alatawi, Opeyemi Fabiyi, Chin Hwee Ong, Valentina Bono, Alisdair Wallis, Ben White, Kolawole Precious

How to start a PyData chapter?

Sanket Verma, PyData Delhi organizer, shared in this session how to start a PyData chapter.

#IamRemarkable workshop

#IamRemarkable is a Google initiative that strives to empower everyone, particularly underrepresented groups, to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond.

By joining this workshop, participants learned how to:

  • Improve their motivation and self-promotion skills
  • Change social perceptions and refresh the conversation around self-promotion
  • Increase self-confidence
  • Learn about the importance of allyship and how to be a better ally in the workplace and beyond
  • Take the first steps in being an #IamRemarkable facilitator

Facilitators: Conference Chair & Sidra Tariq

How to engage more in the open source community?

During this session, Mannie Young and Marlene Mhangami shared about how to get started with open-source contributions.

Becoming a Tech Conference Speaker 101 (including CfP tips)

In this session, Rosana de Oliveira Gomes gave tips and advice for participants to get started on their journey of presenting at tech conferences. She explained different approaches when considering scientific/generic conferences and meetups.

Personal Branding 101 for Tech Professionals

Emily Cook shared with the participants how to get personal branding right and in a way that it feels authentic and can help them boost their visibility and impact.

Increasing your impact with Emotional Intelligence

In this session, a Conference Chair helped participants to explore how Emotional Intelligence can help them build authentic relationships, lead without authority, increase their impact and make their work a force for good in the world.

Tech for Posterity. Challenges for the Future of AI Ethics and DEI

This workshop was moderated by Oyidiya Oji and included the talks:

AI Ethics and DEI are a leadership responsibility (Tebogo R. Mazibuko)
Safe spaces: Where everyone is safe to be themselves (Marie Roker-Jone)
Open discussion: How to be an ally
Panel: How to overcome impostor syndrome?
DEI hiring and AI ethics (Hnin EiEi Tun)
The importance of safe spaces in the workplace (Kave Bulambo)
Panel: The Future of Work

Finally, to close the 3 days-program, Impact Scholars also attended Naomi Ceder’s keynote Ball of Confusion: The world, data and ethics.

Testimonials from the Impact Scholars:

“The impact program was a great experience, and a much needed one as, that helped me boost my confidence in my data skills, network, learn about the PyData community and the importance of giving back through open source and speaking events.”
-Blessing Eseosa Osarumwense

It was a great program where we get to meet experienced candidates from different backgrounds. The best part of the Impact Program was that they made sessions available for people at all experience levels i.e. beginner to expert. I enjoyed being a part of data science sessions and sprints. Got to meet amazing fellow scholars and learn a lot from their insights.
-Aliya Rahmani

Impact Scholars provided the proper awareness, and learning opportunities for people enthusiastic about Python and eager to contribute to its bustling open source community. The sessions on Personal Branding, Self Promotion Skills, Emotional Intelligence, and AI Ethics were highly insightful, relatable and sticky. Despite the virtual environment, the facilitators and speakers created an approachable and conducive atmosphere for discussions. I appreciated the punctuality of sessions, it really enhanced the program experience. All in all, the program delivered what it promised and that too online, which by itself is an outstanding achievement.
-Rohan Wadhawan

Testimonials from Volunteer Speakers:

“ As a speaker you never know what to expect from your audience as you present your talk. I was so moved by the feedback and responses to my talk on why it’s important to build inclusive organizations. I look forward to participating next year and would definitely recommend the conference to anyone looking to learn and connect with other like minded professionals in tech.”
-Kave Bulambo, Lead Organiser — BlackInTech — Berlin & WomenInData — Berlin

It was a delight answering questions during the panel discussion. The group of impact scholars was surprisingly large, considering the time, and very engaged. We talked about getting into open source and data science and where we see the potential for personal development and career growth, especially for people from traditionally underrepresented groups. Overall, a great experience and I recommend anyone who gets the chance to participate on either side in this program to interact with these highly motivated individuals.
-Jesper Sören Dramsch

Participating in PyData Global 2021 as a speaker and panelist was such a great experience. As a non-native English speaker, I had to overcome a lack of confidence in my communication and technical skills to engage with the open source community fully. I hope sharing my experience inspires others to do the same.
-Eduardo Blancas Reyes

Moving forward

For us at NumFOCUS & PyData, DEI initiatives and fostering a better sense of belonging are at the forefront of our main focuses and commitments to the community. With that, we are pleased to announce that we will continue engaging the Impact Community by providing the Impact Scholars with monthly meetings, access to the Impact Mentoring Program, Coaching Sessions, and opportunities to develop their technical skills further.

Are you interested in joining the 2022 cohort and being part of the PyData Global Impact Community?

Sign up here if you are interested in receiving information about updates regarding the program and application dates for 2022. We would love to have you involved with this newly-burgeoning program.




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