Julie Medero is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College. Her research interest is in bringing machine learning and data analysis to social science problems. She's particularly interested in applications of natural language processing to literacy education and to social psychology. Medero is also interested in developing collaborations with community partners to provide opportunities for computer science students to participate in community-engaged learning opportunities. She received her B.A. in computer science and linguistics from Swarthmore College, and her M.S. and Ph.D in electrical engineering from the University of Washington.
WITH GROUPS CREATING PROGRAMS TO ENCOURAGE FEMALES TO CONSIDER STEM, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST BARRIER TO ENTRY THAT IS STILL PREVALENT TODAY?
In computer science, one big challenge we face is that a lot of students still don't have a clear idea of what it means to be a computer scientist. A lot of students have an image in their head of what they think a computer scientist is supposed to be like, and that image may not be one that reflects their own identity. They don't realize what an incredibly broad field computer science is, and don't know that there are many different applications of the things we teach in computer science classes. Beyond teaching technical content, those of us who work as STEM educators have an obligation to help our students see the ways that the material we teach can complement their own goals, aspirations, and values.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I'm incredibly inspired by my mom, who worked in the navy in the late 60's and early 70's maintaining submarine simulators. It's hard for me to imagine computing at that time, when computers filled whole rooms and "fixing" a computer meant tracing voltage with a voltmeter to find the exact gate that needed to be replaced, and when there were far fewer women working in computing than there are today.