She taught herself math “late”… and now re-engineers the STEM ceiling

She taught herself math “late”… and now re-engineers the STEM ceiling

Claudia Galván, President of the Society of Women Engineers, is one of my favorite interviewees thus far.

She is a truly self-made woman. Fluent in multiple languages (including math), she is paving the way for more women to embrace careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

My favorite quote from the interview, which is over at The Economist’s Look Ahead site:

Often #aptitude is born of #attitude. You don’t have to be born with an innate ability for math and science to go into STEM.

This woman – inventor of the first “social robot” – wants you to start getting in your own photos

This woman – inventor of the first “social robot” – wants you to start getting in your own photos
Have you bought a Jibo? Would you? Here’s an excerpt of my interview with Jibo’s inventor, Dr. Cynthia Breazeal.
The daughter of two computer scientists, Dr Cynthia Breazeal once aspired to become an astronaut. Then she discovered social robotics, deemed it “much cooler” than space and set out to “humanise technology so that it’s warm, not beeping at you, and treats you like a human being”. Enter Jibo, the MIT professor’s latest robot: intended for families, Jibo is currently priced for pre-ordering at around the price of an iPad. (Jibo, Inc. raised $25.3m in Series A funding earlier this year). Jibo is also intended as a platform for developers to create social robot apps. With its streamlined, sleek design, price point and its nascent app marketplace, Jibo could very well do for consumer robotics what the iPhone did for mobile phones. Here, Dr. Breazeal holds forth on how insect intelligence led her to eschew space robotics and why she refuses to let her house “feel like the Starship Enterprise”.

Would you like fries with that? (says the English major)

Would you like fries with that? (says the English major)

Should a university education be about broadening cultural horizons, honing technical knowledge, or both? Although I later became a science, medical and health reporter, my major in college was decidedly not oriented towards the applied sciences. So far, the choice has not hindered my ability to fund my life, but writing this piece about the debate over liberal arts vs. S.T.E.M. did make me reflect on my choice.

If you had to do it all over again, which would you study? Or, perhaps more pressing, what do you want your children to study? (If they go to college at all… but that’s another piece.)