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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John Hennessy
John Hennessy

Have you ever wondered how computers can execute complex commands in mere seconds? John Hennessy is a pioneer of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architecture which employs small, highly-optimized sets of instructions to greatly enhance computer performance. He was instrumental in transferring the technology, specifically MIPS RISC architecture, to industry. He co-founded MIPS Technologies and co-authored the classic textbook with David A. Patterson, on Computer Architecture.

As Stanford faculty he rose to be the Chairman of the Computer Science Department, Dean of the School of Engineering, then Provost and finally the President of Stanford in 2000 (and till date). Hennessy holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Computer Science from SUNY Stony Brook. He is an IEEE Fellow and was selected to receive the IEEE Medal of Honor in 2012. Hennessey also launched significant activities that helped to foster interdisciplinary research in the biosciences and bioengineering at Stanford.

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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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.

Router
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.

Bletchley Park
Dr. Sue Black
Dr. Sue Black

Dr. Sue Black has demonstrated the power of social networking. She used Web 2.0 technologies to help raise awareness of, and critical funding for, Bletchley Park, the UK World War II center for decrypting enemy messages. She has also been an active campaigner for equality and support for women in technology fields, founding a number of online networking platforms for women technology professionals. A keen researcher, Dr. Black completed a PhD in software measurement in 2001. Her research interests focus on software quality improvements. She has recently won the PepsiCo Women's Inspiration Network award, been named Tech Hero by ITPRO magazine and was awarded the first John Ivinson Award from the British Computer Society. In 2011 Dr. Black set up The goto Foundation, a nonprofit organization which aims to make computer science more meaningful to the public, generate public excitement in the creation of software, and build a tech savvy workforce. Read Sue's blog about The goto Foundation: http://gotofdn.org

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