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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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

@ symbol
Ray Tomlinson
Ray Tomlinson

Have you ever considered that someone, at some point, was in a position to choose what symbol would be used separate the user from their location in an email address? That person, it turns out, was Ray Tomlinson, and in 1971 he chose "@". Tomlinson is credited with demonstrating the first email sent between computers on a network, and when asked what inspired him to make this selection he said, “Mostly because it seemed like a neat idea.”

After completing his Master’s degree at MIT in 1965, Ray joined the Information Sciences Division of Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since then he has made many notable contributions to the world of network computing. He was a co-developer of the TENEX computer system that was popular in the earliest days of the Internet; he developed the packet radio protocols used in the earliest internetworking experiments; he created the first implementation of TCP; and he was the principle designer of the first workstation attached to the Internet.

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).

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.

RISC processor
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.

Image credits