Photo credit: Makers
Marissa Mayer began her college education at Stanford University in pre-med classes, but quickly became hooked to computer science. She graduated with a M.S. in computer science, and also earned many patents in both artificial intelligence and interface design. After graduation, Mayer received 14 job offers, but chose to join Google and was a critical member of the engineering team for 12 years. She then became the head of Yahoo!, and has been recognized countless times for her great achievements and contributions to these companies.
“When you need to innovate, you need collaboration.”
“You can be good at technology and like fashion and art. You can be good at technology and be a jock. You can be good at technology and be a mom. You can do it your way, on your terms.”
“I love technology, and I don’t think it’s something that should divide along gender lines.”
“I took a computer-science course to fill a prerequisite at Stanford, and I realized that every day was a new problem, and every day you got to think about how to solve something new, how to reason through something new, how to develop an algorithm to solve for something you hadn't worked on before.”
Image Credit: Fast Company
Cynthia Breazeal is a pioneer of the robotics field, and specializes in human-like expressions on robots and social exchanges between humans and humanoid robots. Cynthia is both an Associate Professor at MIT - where she received a PhD and founded the Personal Robotics Group - and the founder and Chief Scientist of Jibo, a robotics company that creates robots to be used as human personal assistants. The company, though founded as recently as 2016, already has $85 million in funding.
“I wanted to create robots with social and emotional intelligence that could work in collaborative partnership with people. In 2-5 years, I see social robots helping families with things that really matter, like education, health, eldercare, entertainment, and companionship.”
“[Robots should be created] not only with smarts, but with heart, too.”
Allison Okamura, born in Fontana, California, is an extremely influential figure in the diverse field of haptics. She was one of the guest speakers at the 2017 SAILORS banquet, where she talked about how haptics incorporated in robotics could help improve current surgical procedures and benefit the medical field. She received her bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley, her master's and PhD degrees from Stanford in mechanical engineering, and is now the head of the CHARM Lab at Stanford. Professor Okamura has won countless IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) awards, and is working on developing new haptic technology such as the vinebot.
"The science and technology of haptics is about creating an interface where you can really interact in a profound way with [haptic] devices"
"All the research we do in technology has served to me to impress upon the amazing emotion and personality of the human sense of touch"
Born in the small town of New Palestine, Indiana, Ahrendts had five siblings and a family home so crowded that she’d go to the cupboard under the stairs for a little peace. The day after she graduated college, she moved to New York, joining Donna Karan and later becoming president. She also served as executive VP of Liz Claiborne Inc., which owned Juicy Couture. Eventually, she was recruited as CEO of Burberry, where she’s credited with righting the deteriorating brand.
She’s the first and only woman on Apple CEO Tim Cook’s executive team. Her “new” Apple store makeover celebrates artistic uses of machines rather than just the computers themselves.
“You’re going to see relationships with technology across anything that’s a brand. I don’t care if that’s in home or what you wear. I just think it’s a new fact of life.”
“I am the third out of six children, and I am raised with very strong core values and a very strong upbringing. I always put myself in other people’s shoes.”
“Wherever I’ve worked, I’ve just always tried to do my best, achieve my best, build a great team around me.”
“Remember, the universal language is not texted, emailed, or spoken. It is felt.”
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The daughter of two math teachers, Russakovsky was born in Ukraine and grew up in Palo Alto, California. She attended a Stanford math camp in high school, inspiring her to start the SAILORS summer camp later in her career. Russakovsky studied mathematics as a Stanford undergrad, and also earned her PhD in computer science at Stanford under Professor Fei-Fei Li. She pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon before receiving a post as Princeton Professor.
She’s frequently talked about her own doubts and experiences being a woman in the mathematical world, along with her emphasis on mental health.
“Reach out and find mentors! Don’t isolate yourself. Make friends and find a variety of mentors. Not only female mentors. Having a diverse peer support group in your field and diverse mentors really helps when you’re struggling with something.”
“Start small, make sure it’s done right and that it will make an impact; then scale up from there. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
“It’s very clear we have diversity problems in AI. If you look around the room at any conference or event, you notice there are minority groups who are missing.”
“Just because you don’t want to be in a group of people who are all different from you where you stick out, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not interested in math and science.”
her personal website
35 Innovators Under 35
Girl Power in the World of AI
Li was 16 when her family moved from China to a small town in the US called Parsippany, New Jersey. She majored in physics at Princeton, borrowing money from friends to buy her parents a dry-cleaning business, and working there on weekends. After her graduation, she declined offers from Wall Street in order to go to Tibet to do a year of research on Tibetan medicine. After returning and earning a PhD in computational neuroscience and AI at Caltech, she joined Stanford, and later, Google. Until recently, Li was the only woman in Stanford’s AI lab. She’s the director of the SAILORS program, and recently helped launch a nonprofit called AI4ALL to draw students from all underrepresented groups into AI.
- “AI is not created in a vacuum. It’s created by us. It can only help if we want to help.”
- “AI is about to make the biggest changes to humanity, and we’re missing a whole generation of diverse technologists and leaders.”
- “Our culture has a tendency to call a few of them [AI technologists] geniuses. And then mortals just think, ‘We’re not geniuses.’ It’s not true. If someone has a fantastic biology background, he or she can contribute in AI and health care. AI has many aspects. AI is everywhere. It’s not that big, scary thing in the future. AI is here with us.”
- “AI is a technology that gets so close to everything we care about. It’s going to carry the values that matter to our lives, be it the ethics, the bias, the justice, or the access. If we don’t have the representative technologists of humanity sitting at the table, the technology is inevitably not going to represent all of us.”
Elle Women in Tech 2017 ; CNN Article and Interview; Wired Interview
Plus direct information from SAILORS 2017.