Career Profiles

Explore profiles of real professionals and students to learn how they got started, what they love about computing, and all about the fascinating work they do.
Joy Buolamwini

Joy Buolamwini

CO-founder of Techturized LLC, Atlanta, United States

Degree(s):

BS Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology
“Willingness to learn is all you need to succeed in computer science. Everything else will come through the pursuit of the things that excite you. To improve your skills, volunteer for projects that will give you an opportunity to apply what you have learned and expand your knowledge base.”

After an enchanting introduction to computers as a child, I knew I wanted to someday master the art of creation through ones and zeros. My opportunity to fulfill this desire arrived in high school when I had the chance to design a website for the Latin club. By reading online tutorials I taught myself XHTML, Cascading Stylesheets JavaScript, PHP and web design. I participated in various computing competitions that led to unexpected recognition. I feel so lucky to have found my passion. I am currently pursuing a career in computer science and developing technologies that benefit people of all means. I am a two time Astronaut Scholar as well as a Google Anita Borg Scholar and was recently awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Zambia.

Learn more about Joy at: http://jovialjoy.com/2010/01/02/thoughts-choosing-to-study-computer-scie... and http://vimeo.com/7941813

On a typical day, I start by checking the status of projects I am involved in. After that I attend lectures, and then meet with group members or clients to provide updates on projects. Depending on my to-do list, I may code for several hours, research solutions to technical challenges, or design mobile devices or a new web platform. On other days, I may be presenting my work at a conference or other venues. Recently, I gave a talk at the Kennedy Space Center to a group of Astronauts on the opportunities I have had as a computer science student.

In 2011, I teamed with Trachoma program at Carter Center to develop an Android based assessment system to be used in a pilot in Ethiopia 10 weeks later to replace the paper systems used at the time. I wrote code under mosquito nets and interacted with health workers, coordinators, and the beautiful people of the Amhara region’s villages. The pilot showed promising results and the system was adopted to be used the following months during a campaign in which roughly 40,000 people were surveyed to glean data and insights to impact the lives of 17 million people.

Joy in Ethiopia

Giving a Talk to Standing Ovation for Astronauts Scholars

Skydiving after getting my degree

With my amazing cofounders

Showcasing newly developed web platform

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Explore profiles of real professionals and students to learn how they got started, what they love about computing, and all about the fascinating work they do.

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MATLAB graph
Cleve Moler

Cleve Moler improved the quality and accessibility of mathematical software and created a highly respected software system called MATLAB. He was a professor of mathematics and computer science for almost 20 years at the University of Michigan, Stanford University, and the University of New Mexico. In the late 1970’s to early 1980’s he developed several mathematical software packages to support computational science and engineering. These packages eventually formed the basis of MATLAB, a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numerical computation. MATLAB can be used to solve technical computing problems faster than with traditional programming languages, such as C, C++, and Fortran. Today, Professor Moler spends his time writing books, articles, and MATLAB programs.

Listen to what Professor Moler has to say about his life’s work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT5umwNSAxE

Turing machine
Alan Mathison Turing
Alan Mathison Turing

Did you know that computing has been used in military espionage and has even influenced the outcome of major wars? Alan Mathison Turing designed the code breaking machine that enabled the deciphering of German communications during WWII. As per the words of Winston Churchill, this would remain the single largest contribution to victory. In addition, he laid the groundwork for visionary fields such as automatic computing engines, artificial intelligence and morphogenesis. Despite his influential work in the field of computing, Turing experienced extreme prejudice during his lifetime regarding his sexual orientation. There is no doubt that computers are ubiquitously part of our lives due to the infusion of Turing’s contributions.

First computer mouse
Douglas Engelbart
Douglas Engelbart

In 1967, Douglas Engelbart applied for a patent for an "X-Y position indicator for a display system," which he and his team developed at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. The device, a small, wooden box with two metal wheels, was nicknamed a "mouse" because a cable trailing out of the one end resembled a tail.

In addition to the first computer mouse, Engelbart’s team developed computer interface concepts that led to the GUI interface, and were integral to the development of ARPANET--the precursor to today’s Internet. Engelbart received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University in 1948, followed by an MS in 1953 and a Ph.D. in 1955 both from the University of California, Berkeley.

Punch card from a COBOL program
Jean Sammet

Jean E. Sammet was one of the first developers and researchers in programming languages. During the 1950’s - 1960’s she supervised the first scientific programming group for Sperry Gyroscope Co. and served as a key member of the original COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) committee at Sylvania Electric Products. She also taught one of the first graduate programming courses in the country at Adelphi College. After joining IBM in 1961, she developed and directed the first FORMAC (FORmula MAnipulation Compiler). This was the first widely used general language and system for manipulating nonnumeric algebraic expressions. In 1979 she began handling Ada activities for IBM’s Federal Systems Division. Ada is a structured, object-oriented high-level computer programming language, designed for large, long-lived applications, where reliability and efficiency are paramount. Jean has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. from the University of Illinois, both in Mathematics. She received an honorary D.Sc. from Mount Holyoke (1978).

Liz Gerber - Image credit Lisa Beth Anderson
Liz Gerber
Liz Gerber - Image credit Lisa Beth Anderson

Liz Gerber earned her MS and PhD in Product Design and Management Science and Engineering at Stanford. She specializes in design and human-computer interaction, particularly how social computing supports the innovation process. Her current research investigates crowd-funding as a mechanism for reducing disparities in entrepreneurship.
Gerber's work funded by the US National Science Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including Transactions on Computer Human Interactions, Design Studies, and Organization Science.
As an award-winning teacher and researcher, Liz has touched the lives of more than 6,000 students through her teaching at Northwestern's Segal Design Institute and Stanford University's Hasso Plattner's Institute of Design and through her paradigm-shifting creation, Design for America, a national network of students using design to tackle social challenges.

Image credit - Lisa Beth Anderson

Image credits