What brought you to Lincoln Laboratory?
When I was an undergraduate in computer science at the University of Massachusetts, I heard about a new grant called the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service Program. After you graduate, you work for the government for however many years the scholarship sponsored your degree. I signed up, and Paula Donovan from the Cyber Security and Information Sciences Division came to my school as a speaker. I realized we had a lot of the same career goals and motivation and thought wow, this woman is really cool and I want to work for her. So I gave her my resume and applied for an internship — then I got a job offer when it ended.
What are some projects you’ve worked on at the Laboratory?
I started working mainly on cyber threat detection programs and then moved into software development and did programming for open source software. I also worked on a program called Material, which is about improving the way analysts can use foreign language information. Another project was related to the Laboratory’s COVID-19 contact tracing effort, where I built a website to gather and showcase datasets so that researchers can easily share with external collaborators. The website helps them see what areas need more data so they can set up new experiments to fill in those gaps.
Right now, I’m shifting again into research about ethics in artificial intelligence systems. It’s a pretty new area with not as much prior work, so it’s been interesting digging into that.
You are known at the Laboratory as someone who champions equity, could you talk a little about what this means?
I think it has to do with the fact that I bring up grievances a lot. If something isn’t politically correct, or I hear about unfair treatment, I always speak up. I’ve had many women message me or come by my office and say hey, I’m having trouble with this or that, and I just need some advice.
No workplace is perfect and there are always going to be challenges, especially in STEM where the imbalances have been here a long time. However, I still think it’s important that we all acknowledge those issues instead of acting like they don’t exist or pretending we’ve already solved them. I’m really proud to work at a place that supports me and helps raise my voice, instead of silence it, when I bring up these issues.