We are proud to announce the formation of the Pacific Alliance for Low Income Inclusion in Statistics and Data Science (PALiISaDS), a new partnership supported by a $5,000,000 investment from the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics  (SSTEM) Program.  The partnership is led by the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Washington, and also includes the University of California, Irvine, California State University Monterey Bay, California State University East Bay, California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, and San Diego State University.    

PALiISaDS will support a cohort-based, three-year bridge program that engages students at the end of their sophomore year or during their transfer from community colleges to four-year institutions and follows them during their junior and senior undergraduate years and then the first year of their chosen graduate program.  PALiISaDS will provide sustained financial support, research opportunities and mentoring to students as they transition between undergraduate and graduate education in Statistics & Data Science.  

PALiISaDS’ UW team is led by Abel Rodriguez, Professor and Chair in the Department of Statistics. Soumik Pal, Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Applied and Computational Mathematical Science program, and Adrian Dobra, Professor of Statistics and Director of the Data Science Masters program, also serve as co-PIs on the NSF award.  Other UW faculty involved in the proposal include Lurdes Inoue in the Department of Biostatistics, and Fang Han, Zaid Harchaoui and Tyler McCormick in the Department of Statistics.  

“I believe that building pipelines is key to increasing diversity and equity in higher education, and especially in graduate programs.  Of the seven institutions involved in PALiISaDS, six are minority serving institutions. And while the scholarships will be awarded based on financial need, having access to such a diverse population is bound to open opportunities for students from underrepresented groups,” said Dr. Rodriguez.  

In addition to programmatic support and scholarships for students, the NSF award will support research into how the PALiISaDS program supports students on their educational and professional pathways in statistics and data science, particularly from the perspectives of community assets and supports they bring into their programs and access during their studies.  The research effort is led by Dr. Erin Carll at the UW Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity, who serves as the fourth co-PI in UW's NSF award.    

“Given the increasingly important role that statistics and data science (SDS) play in many aspects of our global systems, it is essential that diverse voices shape the growing field. However, there is work to do to improve equity in SDS. I am excited and humbled for the opportunity to contribute to our understanding of how programs can support students as they pursue careers in the field,” said Dr. Carll.