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A Saturday in the Heart of Data Science for high school students

A Saturday in the Heart of Data Science for high school students

“It's pretty impressive that you all came here on Saturday!” exclaimed Jean-Yves Jamin, Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young (EY). Tickets for the Discovery Day organized by the Université de Montréal campus have sold out. Indeed, why dedicate a sunny Saturday to an activity about statistics? “We heard about this at school and were curious,” third-grader Richarli said.H High school at École Cavelier de Lasalle.

Twenty-six youth aged 3 yearsH,4H And 5H They went to EY's offices in downtown Montreal on February 10 at 9 a.m. and remained there after 3 p.m., which marked the end of the activity.

Fruitful cooperation

This day aims to introduce high school students to mathematics, statistics and data science. It was the EY Black Professionals Network that approached the Cap campus to propose their first Black History Month collaboration. “CAP Campus is happy to partner with companies, which gives us the opportunity to show how the knowledge is applied on the ground,” said Aisha Al-Saghiri, President of CAP Campus. The Canadian Institute of Statistical Sciences joined in organizing the activity.

This partnership, among other things, allowed participants to visit the impressive EY offices, which are located at 23H Maison Manouvre floor. “It's interesting to be able to bring young people into beautiful offices, where they don't often have the opportunity to go,” says Aisha Al-Saghiri. Today was indeed an adventure for some. “It's my first time taking the subway!” said Rachani, a third-grader.H High school at École Cavelier de Lasalle.

The other side of statistics

The day started with a fun mathematics workshop presented by UdeM mathematics students Kaylan Bruno, Andre Juvenal Agbano, and Lemke Angie Docpon.

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Promise attends Saint Laurent High School. She was initially not very attracted to statistics, despite her love of mathematics, but eventually enjoyed the activity: “Honestly, I liked it very much. It was necessary to find a pattern In something that was a bit random. This is a 4-year-old studentH The high school has already participated in a week of summer immersion on the Kapp Campus and intends to continue participating in unit activities.

The workshop was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Mary Pearl Nkosi, a consultant at EY, which included four students: Bagwedam Sambiani, a PhD student in statistics, Vincent Lafontaine, a BA student dual-majoring in mathematics and computer science, Annie Hutkamer, a student doing a BA in mathematics, and Carmel Shango. PhD student in mathematics, statistics option. The conversation demonstrated the diversity of paths – two panelists described starting their studies in music – and the difficulties they faced. Carmel Shango thus returned to the barriers she had to overcome as a woman in her field of study and the need to study what she loved.

At the hugely popular workshop on emojis and African culture, led by Dorothy Bee (Sahara Nile Publications), young people learned more about global emoji usage statistics, as well as creating an emoji in their own photo. When asked what their favorite activity of the day was, Rachasani and Richerly agreed: “Emoji workshop!” The duo won an award for the emoji they designed. “What I liked was that we heard the story of something that has been around forever for young people our age,” Richarli said.

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Make the numbers talk

After a workshop presented by Afromusée de Montréal, the day ended with a discussion bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds led by mathematics graduate and science journalist Philippe Robitaille-Grou. They used the opportunity to demystify, define and differentiate statistics and data science. “Statistics is a tool for practicing data science,” said Jean-Yves Jamin.

Contrary to popular belief, “You don't need a bachelor's degree in mathematics to do statistics,” says Frédéric Anthony Galli, a business intelligence analyst at HEC Montréal and a UdeM alumnus. “I wasn’t good at math,” said Rama Su, now a data science expert and CEO of The Study Project. “Statistics help form an opinion about observable facts,” she continued.

“What I learned is that you can answer questions using statistics, and you can use that in your daily life,” Promis summarizes. It goes without saying that mathematics and statistics have multiple uses in everyday life. “In every program, job, and field, there is mathematics,” noted Frederick Anthony Galli. Whether you're a math enthusiast like Hana Zouiten, a consultant at EY, or not, data is valuable. “When we want to find our way in the world, we can use this information. Statistics help develop critical thinking,” Jean-Yves Jamin emphasized.

The day concluded with words by Dorothy William, an activist and historian specializing in black history, who encouraged the students in attendance to continue their journeys. “Never forget the importance of perseverance,” she reminded.

Visit capcampus.umontreal.ca To learn more about Cap Campus' mission and initiatives.