Rising Course 6-2 senior Jesika Haria has been selected for the 2013 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. She is one of roughly 25 computer science graduate and undergraduate students selected nationwide for this honor. Read about Haria's interests and accomplishments and about the Anita Borg Scholarship below.
Jesika Haria plunged into Computer Science at the MIT Media Lab as a freshman going from never having coded before to publishing a paper in IEEE SocialCom 2011 in less than two semesters. As she noted in her application essay for the 2013 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, this experience was the spark that ignited her passion for CS.
Now embarking on her senior year in Course 6-2, Haria says her computer science studies have continued to allow her to reach out to a wide set of interests including creating APIs for glowing alarm clock pillows to gesture recognition software for captchas (https://github.com/jharia/CaptchaCaptcher). As a SuperUROP student this past year, she has contributed to research at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) under Prof. Devavrat Shah, delving into improving ranking algorithms for an open-source conference management system. Haria commented: “My goal in life is to leverage technology and computer science to connect people, experiences and institutions across borders, cultures, age and gender differences, that we may learn from and celebrate one another.”
Haria is already working towards this dream by working with a Ph. D. student at MIT on VoiceX, an open-source platform. VoiceX is designed to create an information ecosystem for people in the developing world without access to the internet, to generate, manage, retrieve and search for information using a text-messaging based system. She hopes this effort will contribute to growing a robust network of reliable information flow in the world.
Jesika Haria is one of 25 female recipients for the 2013 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, which has provided the $10,000 award to worthy students since 2004. She will join this group for the Annual Google Scholars' Retreat in New York City in 2013. EECS undergraduate Ashwini Gokhale was selected for the Google 2012 Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. (http://www.eecs.mit.edu/academics-admissions/undergraduate-programs/opportunities/gokhale-wins-google-anita-borg-scholarship)
Google chose to honor Dr. Anita Borg (1949-2003) by enabling these annual scholarships for women undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate a thirst for excelling in technology. Borg is described as a “technology rebel with a cause … fighting tirelessly to ensure that technology’s impact would be a positive one.” In 1994 Borg created the Institute for Women and Technology, which was renamed to the Anita Borg Institute ABI) on her death in 1997. Today the ABI works worldwide to increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology and increase the positive impact of technology on the world’s women. This mission is well served through the Grace Hopper Foundation, the Women of Vision Awards and Tech Women among its many programs.