Women are trailblazing new ideas across industries, countries and cultures every day. This International Women’s Day, take a minute to read some innovative SAS Hackathon highlights for this upcoming year and from the past. You'll also learn about some incredible women and see what amazing innovations lie ahead.


AI takes on the runway

AI is under the spotlight when it comes to technology. With tools such as Chat GPT and DALL-E, it is a topic everyone is watching. While AI has already been integrated into many industries, and the fashion industry is just starting to test how creative it can be with these technology tools. The fabrics, the flow and the colors are all factors that make fashion such an artistic field. If any industry is evolving as rapidly as tech, it’s fashion. Designers are constantly trying to find ways to explore their creativity and create something new and innovative.

This year, the Women in Analytics Hackathon team has decided to combine AI and fashion to create an innovative experience. AI has been used recently to explore many creative ideas and create images, words and videos of virtually anything. This has sparked questions about whether human creativity may begin disintegrating with these new tools, but this hackathon team strives to prove otherwise. The team wants to leverage the tool to show how humans can work with AI to expand how creative and innovative people can be. Essentially, this facilitates collaboration between human designers and AI to generate novel fashion pieces in the same way traditional fashion collaborations include elements of both contributing parties. This generative AI will be utilized for a digital wearables NFT project after the hackathon.

Leading the project is Lior Cole, an American fashion model and Cornell Alumna. Lior has been recognized for her work on her app: Robo Rabbi, which combines the tenets of Judaism with technology. SAS mentors for the team will include Marinela Profi, Savera Tanwir and Varun Pappuri.

Strutting back to 2022

Last year, the WIA-x team strayed from the fashion industry and worked with the finance industry to help positively impact the environment. Fossil fuels negatively affect our planet and our consumption is predicted to rise by 50% by 2050. Meanwhile, hydroelectric, nuclear energy and wind, geothermal and solar energy are lagging in global production levels.

Working with ENEL Green Power, the team’s challenge was analyzing electricity production and EBITDA Indicators, identifying the internal and external factors that are not included in the evaluation of ENEL performance indicators and can be relevant in predicting the future trends for strategic internal KPIs. The team improved the company’s financial operations reporting with a new innovative forecasting approach.

Learn more about WIA-x's work

Women mentoring women: SAS experts support the upcoming hackathon

Mentors are a vital part of the hackathon. They help encourage and support life-changing work within teams and help bring new ideas to life. Below you will learn more about some innovative women helping mentor this year’s hackathon.

Savera Tanwir is a senior technical architect on SAS' Justice and Public Safety team. She develops solutions to law enforcement challenges in analytics, intelligence, data management and reporting/visualization. She also has 17 years of experience in mathematical modeling, analytics, risk management and computer networking. She holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from N.C. State University, has authored two books and has several publications in international journals and conferences. She is a member of the Women Initiatives Network at SAS and has been involved in various mentoring programs for girls and young women.

This year for the Hackathon, Savera Tanwir will be helping with the technical side of things and storytelling, presentation and project management on the WIA team.

Marinela Profi leads the Product Marketing Strategy Team for Artificial Intelligence and ModelOps at SAS. In this role, she positions the SAS AI portfolio across market engagement, strategy, messaging, content and product readiness.

Marinela is a keynote speaker and presenter at different global conferences, where she shares data science and product marketing leadership. She actively mentors those pursuing STEM careers and is an ongoing member of organizations like the SAS Women in Analytics Network, WomenInTech and other nonprofit associations.

For the hackathon, Marinela will be a storytelling mentor for the team and support with data analysis and statistics as needed.

Nancy Rausch is a Director of Research and Development at SAS. She leads a team of talented engineers and data scientists that develop SAS’ data governance products, focusing on leveraging AI and Machine Learning methods for automation. She holds a Master of Analytics degree from Capella University, a Master of Science from Duke University in Computer Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Nancy is a chairperson of the Linux Foundation Artificial Intelligence and Data Technology Advisory Council. She is also an Advisory board member for the NSF-funded non-profit LASER Institute, promoting learning analytics in STEM education research.

Jennifer Whaley’s background includes industry and consulting experience within the electric utility industry, focusing on generation planning, load forecasting and economic and statistical analyses. She enjoys working with customers to solve business problems using advanced analytics – particularly emerging topics about load forecasting and the challenges of incorporating distributed energy resources on the grid and improving renewable forecasts for future energy needs. Jennifer frequently presents at industry conferences and volunteers as a SAS representative for university career fairs. She is also a spokesperson on behalf of SAS as a female data scientist for the Women’s Initiative Network.

Read more stories from SAS bloggers about women in analytics


About Author

Olivia Ojeda

Olivia Ojeda is an Associate Communications Specialist on the Thought Leadership, Editorial and Content team at SAS. In 2023, she graduated with a degree in Business Administration/Marketing from North Carolina State University. Day-to-day she helps write and edit collateral and enjoys creating colorful and creative blog posts.

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