Participating in the PyMC-Data Umbrella sprint: Interview with Sandra Meneses#

Image with a picture of Sandra Meneses, the PyMC and Data Umbrella logosand the text "Open source contribution to PyMC"

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am originally from Colombia and I have been living in Berlin for the past 6 years. I moved here because I wanted to be a data scientist. I had experience working with databases and a sound knowledge about Statistics, as my major was in Industrial Engineering, therefore, I saw this as the natural path for me. I finished my masters in Data Science in 2018 and I have been working in Machine Learning since then. Initially, I worked with NLP, my last project (reciprocal recommenders) involved Graph Neural Networks, so now I am into graphs. I love what I do, it makes me happy knowing people are using what I help to build.

  1. How did you first become involved in open source? In what ways? What has been your experience contributing to open source prior to the Data Umbrella PyMC Sprint?

I have been trying to contribute to different projects, but it’s not always easy. Your questions or comments are not answered and you feel frustrated. I have got some small PRs merged in some projects which gave me a lot of satisfaction. It feels good to know that a piece of your code will be used by thousands, if not millions.

  1. How did you learn of the Data Umbrella PyMC sprint and what inspired you to attend?

I joined the sprint because I have heard recently about Data Umbrella and I really liked the concept, I checked their website and I found the PyMC sprint. I haven’t used PyMC much before the sprint. I only tried it once a year ago while I was reading the Statistical Rethinking book, but I have never used the library for a real project. That’s the value the Data Umbrella sprints bring, you don’t need to know the code base of a project to participate and they carefully planned different webinars to bring you up to speed. Apart from that, the social component is very appealing; when I tried to contribute before, I was alone in the process. In a Data Umbrella sprint, there are not only volunteers to help you, but also other people like you wanting to contribute and experiencing similar doubts.

Read the full article here: Interview with Sandra Meneses: Contributing to PyMC, April 2022