Cascadia R Conference 2019

The third annual Cascadia R came up to Seattle for the first time this year. It was a wonderful opportunity for those that love to use R to meet others like them and listen to thought-provoking presentations from R users across all industries. Hosted in Bellevue, the space was intimate and provided a welcoming environment to R professionals who came for the conference that Saturday morning.  

Our team received the privilege of being part of the organizing committee and ProCogia was the leading sponsor for the conference! As a team, we have always been focused on our local community and what we can do to be engaged around our tech hub – Seattle. This was another incredible opportunity for us to be involved in and we loved every minute of it! ProCogia hosted two trainings the day before the conference - one in Basic R and the second in R Shiny. 

Raphael Gottardo - the head of the Translation Data Science Integrated Research Center at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center - kicked off the conference sharing how Fred Hutch is changing the world of cancer and diseases using data science. David Smith, Microsoft’s Cloud Developer Advocate, came up after Raphael and shared a personal note about how his partner will live after being diagnosed with cancer because of the research that Fred Hutch has done. There was not a soul in the room that was not moved by the personal impact that data science had on someone standing directly in front of them.  

The following session split into two with several speakers in the Community and the Application of R tracks. There were excellent speakers in both sessions that were well-versed in the topics. I sat captivated as each speaker came forward to present during the session. The lunch was intentionally longer than most people were used to in order to provide plenty of time for people to meet and get to know each other – one of the main focuses of the R community. As a part of both the committee and the leading sponsor, I hope that the people that came to the conference created lasting bonds that will support both their personal lives and professional careers. The day continued with two more track options: Machine Learning and R in Production – it was extremely difficult to choose which one because the lineup was just too good to be true for both sessions. Thankfully, we did not have to choose during the lightning talks. Everyone came back together to listen to quick 5-minute presentations (which everyone managed to stay within somehow –WOW – I know I would struggle with that) from another group of excellent presenters that had the most interesting information.  If you would like to see the speakers, their topics, and what you missed out on, you can follow this link.  

The conference closed with the one and only Gabriela de Quieroz speaking on how R Ladies began just a few short years ago and how the close-knit groups have grown exponentially across the globe with chapters opening in cities everywhere – surpassing the wildest expectations. She inspired the dreams that seem out there in each of us. As a woman in the data science field, I often find myself looking for other females that I can connect with. To hear Gabriela discuss her personal struggle as a college student to meet other women in data science, I was encouraged that there are others out there no matter how it may look on a day-to-day basis.  

David Smith wrapped up the conference with, “I came for the language and stayed for the community,” and  I could not have agreed more. The day was filled with people from all walks of life getting together. The R community is truly one of the most welcoming communities I have known and from everything I have heard, this has been an intentional effort by leaders of the R community. 

As I wrap up this blog post, I want to say THANK YOU. First of all to the incredible R community and each member that comprises the community. Secondly, to the leaders of the R community that have developed a safe and welcoming place for people to be who they are and excel in a pretty great programming language! The conference could not have come together without the committee members putting in time outside of their full-time jobs to put this on. Another big THANK YOU to the sponsors who made this conference possible and each person that showed up to attend this conference. And last but most certainly not least, the speakers that spent time putting together and presenting their information. It takes a lot of work to put together great, relevant content and present it to a group of strangers.  

The third annual Cascadia R Conference was oh so memorable. Thank you again to all the great people that made this conference possible. We are looking forward to the conference next year in Eugene, Oregon! You can see more details from the conference and follow the upcoming conference at www.cascadiarconf.com ! 

If you are looking for ways to be involved in the local community, feel free to reach out to us. ProCogia offers data science consulting services and on-site training for your team. Send us an email outreach@procogia.com for more information on these services.