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Women, innovation and technology - read inspiring testimonials from our incredibly talented community members 

International Women's Day recognises a number of exciting and important missions aimed at raising greater awareness of issues impacting women's equality, taking a stance to call out inequality while working to forge positive action, highlighting and applauding when important gains are made and celebrating women's achievements and accomplishments.

At Lucy Cavendish College we are committed to equality and diversity. Together we can all help create an inclusive world.

Laura Reyna (MPhil, Technology Policy 2020) “I am currently working on a paper on AI workforce diversity in Latin America, developing my final project on algorithmic governance with gender perspective for Paris Peace Forum and leading the Future of Politics Pillar for Davos Lab at WEF/Global Shapers. As a Chevening Scholar, my goal is to go back to Mexico and continue my work at PuentechLab, Laboratory for Technology Policy in Latin America. PuentechLab is a female led organisation that I founded and has now impacted +10,000 leaders, +50,000 people and +50 communities of specialists in Latin America about the relevance of governance of technology. Technologies such as AI, are too powerful to be left to a few. Their impact in everyday life is so big, that we need the best and most diverse minds thinking about the right policies to ensure a smooth and human-centered transition. As an example, imagine a +45 single mother that worked as a cashier in Mexico, who just lost her job due to automation. Who is going to help her come back to the labour market? Who ensures that the new technologies that substitute her are unbiased, inclusive and solve the problems that were supposed to solve in the first place? Are politicians in emerging countries taking action to think about this? Wondering if they know what AI is?

I came to Cambridge and Lucy, because I want to raise these uncomfortable questions or as we say in Spanish to ask the #PreguntasIncorrectas. I am here to serve and to ensure a human centred future.”

Agnieszka Słowik (PhD, Computer Science) “I have been interested in machine learning/AI research for a while before starting my PhD in Computer Science. I was captivated by the intellectual curiosity of AI, as well as interdisciplinarity of the field and the pace of change. Based on my own experience and that of my friends, being a woman does make a difference when pursuing a career in science. At the early stage the challenges are more personal and subtle (building up confidence even if the environment is biased against you, setting boundaries in professional life), and later there might come challenges on the institutional level if one wants to combine starting a family with an academic career. On the bright side, things have been improving in the past years. For instance, we now have ‘Women in Machine Learning’, an international organisation that supports women in AI research. There is a lot of support for girls and women who want to follow this career path.

I am currently working on reasoning and generalisation in intelligent systems. In my recent paper Exploring Structural Inductive Biases in Emergent Communication we studied these topics in the context of so-called multi-agent games with a communication channel”

Ernestine Hui (PhD Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Graphene Technology) “My PhD is on ‘Graphene brain-on-a-chip platform for the study of neurodegeneration’ where I combine materials science, electrical engineering, and biology to investigate the causes and progression of diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease. I work between the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and the Cambridge Graphene Centre. This interdisciplinary field is very hands-on and requires me to go into the labs to physically do experiments, which is the part that I personally love about science. It’s my third year living in Lucy and over the years I’ve seen this place grow and mature with many changes yet to come. Personally, for me, especially in the world of engineering where women are in the minority – especially women of colour, it’s been extremely encouraging being in the presence of so many intellectual, strong, and talented women, in a safe and diverse community where ideas are shared and valued.”

Gita Moghaddam (Aluma - PhD Biotechnology, 2012) “I am leading the TumourVue team that has addressed this by developing a disruptive surgical imaging technology, which is cost-effective and operates in a passive mode (i.e. label-free; no pre-operative patient preparation). Empowered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) computational capacity, our imaging device provides patient-specific margin of brain tumours via real-time feedback during surgery. This implies that the imaging device can improve safe resection of brain tumours which is well-known to correlate with improved progression-free and overall survival in patients with brain cancer. This allows to mitigate the socioeconomic burden of brain tumours. This year I am proud to be listed as a cofinitive’s #21towatch 2021.

I arrived in Cambridge with a ‘creation’ view and dream of making a research impact in healthcare. A fundamental drive for my entrepreneurial actions, however, was the rich sense of community at both the University and our College. The College has a strong community of changemakers, some renowned internationally and some are local champions. Almost all ladies I met at Lucy have an inspiring story – being a role model in challenging ingrained traditions of their village to shining as the first female scholar from their country to being a hero in maintaining gender equality within their society. The College community offered me a safe space to seek counsel and benefit from support of wonderful College members and their constructive feedback.”

Sarah Morgan (Alumna - PhD, Physics 2012)  “My research focuses on applying data science approaches to better understand mental health conditions, including machine learning, network science and NLP methods. Whilst I was in the Physics department, I co-founded the Cambridge group for women and non-binary people in Physics ( That was a brilliant way to meet other women and to support each other through the ups and downs of research.I really enjoy being a scientist- I have always liked puzzles and problem solving and I feel privileged to be paid to study something as fascinating as the human brain. I think women do face particular challenges in science, and there is definitely still work to be done to improve the working environment for women in STEM, but there is also a lot of support out there. By working together we can make STEM more welcoming for everyone.”

Aya Salama (Alumna - Advanced Computer Science, 2017) “I work as a software engineer at a Cairo-based tech start up that I co founded at the beginning of 2020. We started off right before life as many of us knew it changed because of the pandemic. Instead of the world coming to a complete standstill, technological solutions helped keep it going and helped fill the gaps that emerged because of the pandemic-induced disruption. This empowerment that can come through technology (when used properly) is what got me into the tech space, pushed me to study computer science and engineering as an undergraduate and further pursue a masters in advanced computer science at Cambridge.

After completing the Mphil I wanted to channel my skills towards socially responsible projects and further develop my technical skills. To that end, I joined an “AI for good” community of volunteers that works on tackling various social problems through the use of technology and artificial intelligence(AI). I also started a local initiative, “IndabaXEgypt”, that is an extension of a pan-african community,”Deep Learning Indaba”, aimed at building technical capacity across the continent, specifically in the AI space. My latest work in community engagement and building was as a co-organizer of the 4th “Machine Learning for the developing world(ML4D) 2020” workshop. ML4D is a workshop that fosters the community of researchers and practitioners tackling problems of the developing world through technology and was co-located with the flagship conference in AI, NeurIPS.

Besides my current work as a software engineer, I’m proudly on the research team of one of the first research labs focused on data science in Egypt, “The data Science Hub” at the American University in Cairo.

Technology is omnipresent in our modern societies and it has the potential for positive impact benefits when developed ethically and in ecosystems where diverse opinions are expressed, acknowledged and considered.”