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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Gordon Bell
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Gordon Bell is a pioneering computer designer with an influential career in industry, academia and government. He graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering. From 1960, at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), he designed the first mini- and time-sharing computers and was responsible for DEC's VAX as Vice President of R&D, with a 6 year sabbatical at Carnegie Mellon University. In 1987, as NSF’s first, Ass't Director for Computing (CISE), he led the National Research Network panel that became the Internet. Bell maintains three interests: computing, lifelogging, and startup companies—advising over 100 companies. He is a Fellow of the, Association of Computing Machinery, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and four academies. He received The 1991 National Medal of Technology. He is a founding trustee of the Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA. and is an Researcher Emeritus at Microsoft. His 3 word descriptor: Computing my life; computing, my life.

CGA palette
Mark Dean

If you have ever used a PC with a color display you have been acquainted with the work of Mark Dean. After achieving a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee, Dean began his career at IBM. Dean served as the chief engineer on the team that developed the first IBM PC, for which he currently holds one third of the patents. With colleague Dennis Moeller, he developed the Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) systems bus, which enabled peripheral devices such as printers, keyboards, and modems to be directly connected to computers, making them both affordable and practical. He also developed the Color Graphics Adapter which allowed for color display on the PC. Most recently, Dean spearheaded the team that developed the one-gigahertz processor chip. Dean went on to obtain a MSEE from Florida Atlantic University and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and is the first African-American IBM Fellow.

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James Dammann

If you have used a word processor today, moved your mouse on your laptop, dragged an object around on your smartphone, or highlighted a section of text on your tablet, you can thank Jim Dammann. In 1961 during his second year at IBM and just one year after completing his PhD, Jim created the concept of what today we all take for granted -- the cursor. This idea he documented in utilizing the cursor within word processing operations.

After retiring from IBM, Jim went on to inspire future generations of software engineers at Florida Atlantic University. His work there too demonstrated his creativity for he spent considerable effort enhancing their software engineering program by integrating ideas and feedback from local industries into the University curricular. Today, Jim lives in the Westlake Hills west of Austin Texas and spends most of his time in his art studio. He wrote and published The Opaque Decanter, a collection of poems about art, which provided a new view at part of art history.

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Sandra Lerner

It is difficult to imagine a time when computers were not capable of sharing information and resources with great ease. Sandra Lerner pushed the boundaries of network computing as one of the co-founders of Cisco Systems, which introduced one of the first commercially viable routers. The router was born while Sandra was working at Stanford University in the 1980’s after earning her Master’s degree there in Computer Science. To avoid the tedious task of transferring information between computers using floppy disks, she and co-founder of Cisco, Leonard Bosack, created a local area network, or LAN, between their campus offices using a multiprotocol router that Bosack developed. Shortly thereafter the pair started Cisco Systems, and began selling the router which was a success, because it could work with so many different types of computers. After Leaving Cisco in 1990, Lerner started the trendy cosmetics company Urban Decay and became a philanthropist and avid activist for animal rights.

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).

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