Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Hi all! Happy Ada Lovelace Day! WordPress just dumped my first try at this post, so hopefully I’ll be able to maintain my enthusiasm. *kicks the blog* In any case! I was going to do research and find a new scientist that I didn’t know, but then thought it might be better to focus on someone I do know. I thought about writing about my adviser, but that had the potential to read as a bit of a kiss-up. So instead, I’ll be writing about Doctor Tanya Berger-Wolf, an Assistant Professor at UIC, because she has absolutely no bearing on my ability to get paid or graduate.

Tanya runs the Computational Population Biology Laboratory here, and has done so since 2005. Her work focuses on how algorithms can allow biologists to understand animal phenomena. One of her most well-known works is what is called (around UIC anyway), Facebook for Zebras. The project combines computer vision recognition and network theory to understand the sociality of zebras, by identifying them automatically from camera images and then assessing what natural groups of zebras are occurring. She has given talks about her work at the University of Iowa Computing Conference, the University of Chicago, and even at MIT. Her work has been published 60 times since 1999, which is an impressive track record.

In addition to the impact of her scientific research, Tanya is an incredible mentor. She was (and is again, I think) the faculty mentor of the Women in Computer Science club when I first attended it. Since she joined UIC in 2005, she has graduated 9 Master’s students and 5 PhD students, which is pure madness in the short time for 7 years.

Beyond what she has done for others, Tanya is absolutely one of my role models. She is a dancing academic (salsa!), and she is freaking fierce in the dressing department. Many women in computer science dress in more muted colors so as to not stand out, but Tanya wears lime greens and bright purple jewelry and red blazers and just color all the time. While I would respect and enjoy her company regardless of her fashion sense, I feel like this blog is definitely the place to talk up her sense of fashion. She has definitely become my academic fashion icon.

Alright folks! Have you done anything for Ada Lovelace Day?

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One thought on “Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

  1. Mia says:

    Yaaay, Tanya! I know you’ve told me about the zebra thing before, and it blows me away every time. Women in science are awesome!

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