I Chose STEM 2019

I Chose STEM 2019


In support of International Day of Women and Girls in STEM

When we encourage women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, we double the world’s potential to solve problems. Join Microsoft Research on February 11, 2019, in San Francisco to meet with and learn from women who are pioneers in their fields and have created meaningful impact through technology. Learn from their successes and failures while networking with future colleagues and collaborators. Spend a day with researchers, engineers, and startup CEOs, including:

  • One of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company focused on creating an end-to-end system that stores digital data in DNA
  • A Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient and co-founder of an early-stage artificial intelligence focused venture fund
  • Master inventor and Distinguished Engineer at IBM Watson
  • The fair Machine Learning lead working on eradicating hate speech on Twitter

Recruiters will be onsite to answer questions about securing your dream job. Also, take time to talk with our fellowship and grant manager to learn about funding opportunities from Microsoft Research.

Women in STEM, and supporters of women in STEM, join us!


Time (PST) Session Speaker
10:00 AM Welcome Gretchen Huizinga, Executive Producer and Host @ The Microsoft Research Podcast
10:05 AM-10:45 AM Stem Chose Me! Vanessa Milan, Senior Designer @ Microsoft
10:45 AM–11:45 AM Creating impact through STEM careers
  • Carolina Galleguillos, Senior Machine Learning Engineer @ Google
  • Edaena Salinas Jasso, Software Engineer @ Microsoft
  • Laura Chiticariu, Chief Architect @ IBM Watson
  • Eren Manavoglu, Partner Scientist @ Microsoft
11:45 AM–12:45 PM Building a company and failing fast
  • Riva Tez, Co-founder @ Permutation Ventures
  • Lauren Washington, Co-founder @ Fundr
  • Miki Heller, VP of Operations and Strategy @ Astranis
  • Rian Buckley, Founder @ Fitcode
12:45 PM–1:30 PM Networking Lunch Meet with recruiters and potential collaborators and colleagues
1:30 PM–2:30 PM Keeping an eye on AI
  • Ayse Naz Erkan, Machine Learning @ Twitter
  • Shubha Nabar, Senior Director, Data Science @ Salesforce Einstein
  • Tulsee Doshi, Product Lead for ML Fairness @ Google
  • Alicia Chang, Instructional Designer @ Google
2:30 PM–3:10 PM Applying STEM – a journey to Ikigai Kitty Yeung, Creative technologist and manager at the Garage @ Microsoft
3:10 PM–5:00 PM Networking Reception Learn about funding opportunities from Microsoft Research, meet with recruiters and hiring managers, share your latest findings, and get feedback on next steps.

*Subject to change


Rian Buckley | Fitcode

At the age of 26, Rian Buckley founded Fitcode—a fashion data company that enhances the shopping experience by focusing on fit, not size. In just three years, she secured $3.7M in funding, grew Fitcode to over 300,000 users, and developed partnerships with powerhouse brands and retailers like JOE’S Jeans, AG Jeans, Hudson Jeans, Silver Jeans and more. Rian is passionate about identifying problems and innovating award-winning solutions to help retailers provide personalized, differentiated experiences. She escapes the startup grind with her husband, newborn son Zane and their 130-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback, Zu.

Laura Chiticariu | IBM Watson

Laura ChiticariuLaura Chiticariu is the Chief Architect of Watson Natural Language Understanding (NLU), where she builds NLU systems that are accurate, scalable and transparent. She believes in the notion of “Transparent Machine Learning” in NLU: leveraging machine learning techniques, while ensuring that the NLU system remains transparent – easy to comprehend, debug and enhance.

Previously, Laura was a Researcher in the Scalable Natural Language Processing (NLP) group in IBM Research – Almaden, where she built and led the transfer of NLP technologies to multiple IBM products, including IBM BigInsights, IBM Streams and Watson Knowledge Studio, and completed multiple customer engagements with Fortune 100 and multi-national organizations.

Laura has been teaching NLP in universities within and outside the U.S. and developed two online courses in the process. Laura holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a major in Automation and Industrial Informatics from Politehnica University of Bucharest. In her spare time, she enjoys introducing kids to computer programming.

Mary Czerwinski | Microsoft

Mary CzerwinskiMary Czerwinski is a Research Manager of the Visualization and Interaction (VIBE) Research Group.

Mary’s research focuses primarily on emotion tracking, information worker task management, health and wellness for individuals and groups. Her background is in visual attention and multitasking. She holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington. Mary was awarded the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Service Award, was inducted into the CHI Academy, and became an ACM Distinguished Scientist in 2010. Mary became a Fellow of the ACM in 2016. She also received the Distinguished Alumni award from Indiana University’s Brain and Psychological Sciences department in 2014 and a Distinguished Alumni award from the College of Arts and Sciences from Indiana in February, 2018.

Ayse Naz Erkan | Twitter

Ayse Naz ErkanAyse Naz Erkan is a Staff Machine Learning Engineer at Twitter. Originally from Istanbul, Naz moved to the US in 2004 for a PhD in Computer Science at the Courant Institute of NYU. She did research on deep learning applications for off-road autonomous robot navigation in Yann LeCun’s lab and studied semi-supervised learning at the Max Planck Institute For Biological Cybernetics as a visiting research assistant. After graduating, she started working for Julpan, a stealth startup in NYC, as an early engineer. She joined Twitter in 2011 with the acquisition of Julpan, where she is currently managing the Content Understanding and Applied Team Learning team and is the FairML lead at Cortex, Twitter’s central machine learning team.

Carolina Galleguillos | Google

Carolina GalleguillosCarolina Galleguillos is a senior machine learning engineer at Google, where she works on search quality. In 2017, she was named on Forbes’ list of 20 Incredible Women Advancing A.I. Research.

She has been at large tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard, and Conversant as well as startups such as Set Media and Thumbtack, building computer vision and machine learning production systems, and directing teams of scientists and engineers to deliver machine learning solutions. At Set Media, her team delivered the computer vision technology that was at the core of the company’s video recommendation system.

Carolina received an engineering and computer science degree from the University of Chile, and M.S. and PhD degrees in computer science from UC San Diego.

Miki Heller | Astranis

Miki Heller is the VP of Operations and Strategy at Astranis, a startup building low-cost telecommunications satellites to bring internet access to the developing world. Prior to joining Astranis, Miki worked at IDEO, Teach For America, the SF Mayor’s Office, and the White House. She graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Edaena Salinas Jasso | Microsoft

Edaena Salinas is a Software Engineer at Microsoft. She’s currently working on building applications in the following areas: cloud native, infrastructure, machine learning, data processing. Prior to that, Edaena worked in the Knowledge Technologies and Intelligent Experiences at Microsoft Research and other teams at Microsoft.

On her free time, Edaena started The Women in Tech Show, a weekly podcast featuring technical interviews with prominent women in tech. The podcast serves as a platform where others can learn about technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and find role models.

Edaena is an ambassador for TECHNOLOchicas. TECHNOLOchicas is a national initiative to raise awareness among young Latinas and their families about opportunities and careers in technology.

Other interests include: cats, drawing, cooking and exercising.

Vanessa Milan | Microsoft

Vanessa MilanVanessa recently joined Microsoft Research to pioneer an AI & Research design studio for the NYC, Boston, and Montreal labs. As a User Experience designer, her work has spanned products, tools, and services—and now AI & research-based projects. At MSR NYC, she’s introduced an incubation-style, “fail fast” and human-centered design approach, that’s guided by the principles of inclusion, accessibility, fairness, and ethics. With a Bachelor of Science in Photography from Drexel University and a Master’s in Publishing from Pace University, Vanessa’s career path towards UX design and technology has been a non-traditional one.

Shubha Nabar | Salesforce Einstein

Shubha NabarShubha Nabar is a Senior Director of Data Science at Salesforce Einstein where she and her team make machine learning technologies accessible to the hundreds of thousands of businesses that use Salesforce every day. In 2017, she was featured as one of 20 Incredible Women Advancing AI Research by Forbes Magazine. She has over a decade of experience building data products and data science teams at Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Salesforce. Previously, she received her PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Asta Roseway | Microsoft

I am a “Fusionist” working in Human Computer Interaction at Microsoft Research. My focus lies primarily around the intersection of Art, Technology, and Science and how this combination could help generate the next generation of emerging solutions for the Environment, Emotional Health, Social Consciousness, and Sustainability.

My research often begins with the same question “What if?” which often leads to unconventional explorations in human computer interaction which would include projects such as DuoSkin, temporary interactive tattoos, and Lightwear, wearable light therapy for seasonal affective disorder. I’m also a strong advocate for a diverse and inclusive culture, and I helped to establish Microsoft’s first ever Artist in Residence program that enables Artists to work collectively with our Researchers. Some of the art that has come out of this program has been showcased at venues such as Ars Electronica, Biofabricate in NY, and the Seattle Art Museum. I also co-founded Digigirlz, one of Microsoft’s longest running diversity programs that aims to educate and inspire high school girls about the Tech Industry.

Karin Strauss | Microsoft

I am a principal researcher at Microsoft (MSR). I am also an affiliate professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at University of Washington.

My research lies at the intersection of computer architecture, systems, and biology. As traditional semiconductor scaling has started to slow down, I investigate alternative approaches to continue the improvement we have been seeing in computer systems over the last few decades. Approaches I have been studying include hardware accelerators for machine learning, emerging memory technologies, and the use of biotechnology to the benefit of the IT industry. I also work on system software for these new architectures.

Lately, my focus has been on creating an end-to-end system that stores digital data in DNA, for which I was named one of the 2016 “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company. I have the privilege to work with a team of brilliant researchers and we have been making quite a lot of progress. Check out one of our announcements. The DNA data storage project has been chosen as “Best of What’s New” by Popular Science in 2016 and highlighted by influential publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MIT Technology Review, and Scientific American.

I received my PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007. During my studies, I’ve collaborated very closely with top-notch researchers at IBM Research, where I also worked on the Blue Gene project. After graduating, I worked for almost 2 years at AMD Research, where I also had amazing colleagues.

For a complete list of publications, please click the tab “Publications” above.

If you are interested in DNA storage, click here.

Riva Tez | Permutation Ventures

Riva-Melissa Tez co-founded an early-stage artificial intelligence focused venture fund based in San Francisco (Permutation Ventures). Her written works includes essays on artificial intelligence and financial tools, including a 2016 Microsoft campaign for The Economist. She is currently co-authoring a paper on economic policy and is interested in tools and policy changes to unlock innovation. She was a 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient for Finance.

Lauren Washington | Fundr

Lauren is the cofounder of Fundr, a platform that removes bias from the seed investing process by automating due diligence and portfolio creation for startups and investors. In 2017, she co-founded Black Women Talk Tech to help black women create billion dollar tech companies. Through its conferences, workshops and promotion of black women in the industry, it’s impacted over 500 tech founders and helped get 13 funded. As CEO of her first company, KeepUp, Lauren was one of 11 winners out of 7000 applicants for the 43North competition- the largest global business competition- winning $250K and a year of office space and mentorship.

Throughout her career, Lauren has been on the cusp of innovation and digital strategy in various industries and over a multitude of brands. She helped drive some of the first social media and mobile marketing efforts early in her career at both InStyle magazine and TVGuide.com. At Neutrogena Cosmetics, Lauren worked in the innovation department to guide the development and launch of new products. As an in-house consultant for Omnicom Group, she rotated through DDB, Interbrand, PHD and Sterling Brands, creating and bringing brand strategy to life for top global companies. In her most recent role as the Director of Strategy at the digital and social media firm, Attention, she led a department of qualitative and quantitative research and strategic planning for all clients.

Lauren received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in Journalism and Mass Communication and her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management with majors in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Marketing and Finance. She was the Board Vice Chairman of the non-profit, The Global Language Project, the head of the Social Impact Committee in the Kellogg Alumni Club of New York and a Management Leadership for Tomorrow mentor.

Kitty Yeung | Microsoft

Kitty Yeung is a physicist, artist, maker, fashion designer and musician based in Silicon Valley, California. She currently works as a creative technologist and manager at The Garage, Microsoft.

Kitty’s earlier career had been focused on hardcore scientific research and academic training while pursuing artistic endeavors through painting, music and graphic novel creations. She received her PhD in Applied Physics from Harvard University and a M.Sci., B.A. and M.A. in Natural Sciences from University of Cambridge. After conducting research at Intel, Kitty found the perfect way to integrate art/design with science/technology. Her work focuses on applying cutting-edge technologies to both garment design and manufacturing processes and quantum computing education. See work on www.artbyphysicistkittyyeung.com