Sian Lewis: Advancing Data Science and LGBTQ+ Inclusion at Booz Allen
“Algorithms help determine a lot of important aspects of our lives, such as job eligibility and access to loans and funding. Because of this, it’s important that people of all backgrounds have a role in making data-driven decisions.”
Sian Lewis is a specialist in deep learning, natural language processing, and predictive analytics. Recently receiving an award in the “Data” category in the 2019 DCFemTech awards, she’s also a committed advocate for LGBTQ+ issues and greater diversity and inclusion in the tech world.
At Booz Allen, “I’ve been able to combine both of my passions: data science and the ability to do social good in a big way.”
Leading by example
“When I was growing up, I was always ‘the only’—the only girl in AP math, the only woman in the room, the only black person, the only out queer person,” Lewis reflected.
Now, she’s working toward justice and visibility for underrepresented individuals in the conference room and the community at-large. She’s helping the military improve healthcare through more coordinated digital records and improving diversity in the field itself through her activities with Booz Allen’s Women in Data Science (WiDS) group.
With WiDS, she helped create the “Hackathon for Hiring,” a gathering that presented participants with two challenges: Build a model to predict female employee attrition rates, and use natural language processing to assess industry job ads for gender inclusivity.
Strengthening the LGBTQ+ community
Lewis also engages with GLOBE, Booz Allen’s LGBTQ+ employee forum, and has executive board duties with the Wanda Alston Foundation, which provides housing and support services to at-risk LGBTQ+ youth in the District of Columbia. In 2017, she was included among the Prince George’s County 40 Under 40 honorees for public service.
“I’m building a future for people who feel like they’re the ‘only,’ so they don’t have to be,” she said.