Female Robotics Prodigy Makes Mark as One of Few Young Women in the Field
Many girls don’t feel at home in tech. An October study from Gallup and Google found that, while girls and boys between seventh and 12th grade were equally likely to have learned computer science at school this year, just 12 percent of girls aspired to careers in computer science, compared with 33 percent of boys. Only 37 percent said they’d been encouraged by an adult to pursue a career in computer science, compared with 52 percent of boys.
Researchers say this reflects differing perceptions about who belongs in STEM fields, ensuring the ongoing gender gap in computer science. Women are only in about a quarter of tech jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One 2019 study by researchers at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence projected that, if current trends persist, the field won’t reach gender parity in the 21st century.
But if the girl that the washingtonpost.com wrote about has anything to say about it, that is all going to change. Katie Stevo is 18, and her future and the world should be her high tech oyster.
Post-graduation, Katie saw herself attending one of the two premier universities in her backyard, Harvard or MIT, and then walking in the footsteps of her tech heroes, Elon Musk and the late Steve Jobs. Although she favors Silicon Valley-sounding mantras — “make the world a better place” and “solve unsolvable problems” — Katie speaks with an innocence long lost on Big Tech amid the rush of privacy scandals, disinformation epidemics and partisan clashes.
“I hope down the line whatever company I make or product I create will bring a lot of joy to people in their lives and help them,” Katie said. “Even in ways they didn’t think they could be helped.”
Katie believed she could overcome any challenge she faced with the support of her family — “Team Katie Stevo,” they call themselves.
As she entered her senior year at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols, an elite Massachusetts private school, Katie showed no signs of slowing down. Obsessed with machines and their inner workings since kindergarten — her hands are streaked with scratches from reaching into the bowels of a robot — Katie believed she was on a fast track to joining the ranks of tech company founders who increasingly shape modern life.
Her latest project — a program that recognizes handwritten digits — was meant to be an introduction to neural networks, the cornerstone of modern artificial intelligence. Katie has worked with neural networks since before she had her driver’s license, and she’d long since finished the project.
But she couldn’t pass up the bonuses because, she says, she does not believe in “good enough.”
With that kind of drive and passion, it is no wonder people are referring to Kaite as possibly the next Elon Musk. And that would not surprise anyone who has seen her work.
Taylor Telford’s article about Stevo goes in-depth about her educational background and awards she has garnered In AI. Mostly the article shows a clear-headed teenager who is going to make the future much brighter for her generation.
read more at washingtonpost.com
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