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Women in STEM

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Mashable

Prof. Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL, discusses the future of artificial intelligence, emphasizing the importance of balancing the development of new technologies with the need to ensure they are deployed in a way that benefits humanity. “We have to advance the science and engineering of autonomy and the science and engineering of intelligence to create the kinds of machines that will be friendly to people, that will be assistive and supportive for people and that will augment people with the tasks that they need help with,” Rus explains.

GBH

GBH reporter Esteban Bustillos spotlights graduate student Karenna Groff '22, the NCAA Woman of the Year, and her efforts to make a difference both on and off the field, from her work as an EMT at MIT to her efforts to reduce maternal mortality in southern India. “Using sports as a platform to drive forward equity in all these different walks of life has always been something that I want to be a part of,” explains Groff. 

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung spotlights Elise Strobach PhD ’20 - co-founder and CEO of AeroShield Materials, a company developing super-insulating windows. Strobach is a recipient of funding from the MassVentures fund for deep-tech startups with a focus on underserved founders or those based in underserved regions. “We want to do cool things that have big impact,” said Strobach. “The minute I first visited Massachusetts, I just really felt that, ‘Wow, this is a place where that can happen.' "

The Washington Post

Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah emphasizes the importance of representation in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which featured Riri Williams (Ironheart) as a Black female engineer at MIT. Attiah notes that she is “grateful that ‘Black Panther 2’ exists to show us what #BlackGirlGenius looks like.” 

Bloomberg

Prof. Danielle Wood speaks with Bloomberg about the future of space technology and sustainability. Wood explains that she and her team are focused on developing a “space sustainability rating, which is a method to incentivize organizations to actually do what they can to reduce space debris now in Earth’s orbit.” 

Inside Higher Ed

Prof. Kerstin M. Perez writes for Inside Higher Ed about the challenges posed by balancing inclusive teaching with personal and professional endeavors. “I quickly realized that some tenets of inclusive and antiracist teaching advice can undercut the career trajectories, classroom respect and mental health of instructors who are minoritized in their fields—whether due to race, gender or some other nondominant cultural identity—if those tenets are not thoughtfully adapted to our distinct positions in the academy,” writes Perez.

Parents

Parents reporter Tanay Howard writes that “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” offers up powerful role models, in particular Shuri and Riri Williams (also known as Ironheart), who is depicted as an MIT student. “Seeing Shuri and Riri Williams do their thing in Black Panther is not only an exciting dynamic for Marvel comic readers but an inspiration to Black girls and women,” writes Howard.

Forbes

Forbes reporter Marija Butkovic spotlights Alicia Chong Rodriguez MS ’18, Founder and CEO of Bloomer Tech, for her work in building a cardiovascular disease and stroke database that can generate non-invasive digital biomarkers. “We envision a world where the future of AI in healthcare performs the best it can in women,” says Chong Rodriguez. “We also have created a digital biomarker pipeline where our digital biomarkers can explain, influence, and even improve health outcomes for women.”

Politico

Prof. Cynthia Breazeal discusses her work exploring how artificial intelligence can help students impacted by Covid, including refugees or children with disabilities, reports Ryan Heath for Politico. “We want to be super clear on what the role is of the robot versus the community, of which this robot is a part of. That's part of the ethical design thinking,” says Breazeal. “We don't want to have the robot overstep its responsibilities. All of our data that we collect is protected and encrypted.”

Forbes

Prof. Ariel Furst, and alumna Claire Beskin and Loewen Cavill were named the winners of the first annual MIT Female Founders Pitch, reports Stephanie MacConnell for Forbes. Furst’s company, Pharmor, has developed an inexpensive protective coating that allows microbes to be produced and transported in non-ideal conditions. Beskin’s company, Empallo, uses machine learning to unlock information on siloed patient data. And Cavill’s company, AuraBlue, has developed a wearable device that can predict hot flashes and enable a cooling pad to counteract the change in body temperature in menopausal women.

Forbes

Alumna Anurupa Ganguly SB ’07, MNG ’09 speaks with Forbes contributor Rod Berger about Prisms of Reality, a virtual reality platform she founded that provides math learning through movement, experience and discovery. “We envision a dramatic re-engagement of our students with their education,” says Ganguly. “Our students, many for the first time, will find a profound sense of purpose in their math learning and their lives.”

TechCrunch

Ifueko Igbinedion PhD ’22, Marlyse Reeves PhD ’22 and Wharton alumni Isoken Igbinedion, and Simone Kendle founded Parfait, a company that uses technology to more efficiently design and create wigs, reports Ron Miller for TechCrunch. “The four women have built a solution that lets women simply choose a wig and answer a series of questions to come up with the final design,” explains Miller. “They have mixed this with machine learning to help with sizing and proper tinting, while bringing in human stylists to make the final decisions when needed.”

ABC News

Shirley Ann Jackson ’68, PhD ’73, the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is retiring, reports Kendall Ross for ABC News. “It’s about being able to walk so you can carry someone else,” says Jackson. “The most influential the positions I’ve had and the more powerful they’ve become, the more I’ve been able to help people develop open doors." 

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Diverse Issues in Higher Education reporter Lois Elfman spotlights Shirley Ann Jackson '68 PhD '73 for her distinguished professional career in academia, industry, and government. “Sometimes, a window in time opens for you, and if you are prepared to step through then it can create opportunities for you to make a real difference in the world,” says Jackson. “I’ve had that kind of extraordinary set of opportunities. I have always felt it’s important to make a difference and leave and imprint.”

The Boston Globe

Julie Chen ’86, SM ’88, PhD ’91 has been named the next chancellor of UMass Lowell, reports Shirley Leung for The Boston Globe. “With three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she has been a fixture on campus for 25 years,” writes Leung. “Chen is considered one of the region’s leading experts in nanotechnology, earning her the nickname ‘nanoqueen’ in a field that builds structures and devices working at an atomic scale.”