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90: Mechanical/Robotics/Computer Science – Nothing Cooler than Being a Woman in STEM – Alexis Block

Alexis Block earned a Bachelor’s Degree BS in Mechanical and a Masters in Robotics from the university of Pennsylvania and her final degree will be a PHD in Computer Science. Her research: “HuggieBot”

[0:50] Her undergrad is in mechanical, but her PHD is in Computer Science, how is that possible? – Her first programming class was during her sophomore year in college, and her masters in Robotics blended mechanical, electrical, and computer science.

[2:10] Goes into the interactions of robots with humans and how people react to the robot.

[4:00] Alexis talks about some of the experiments she ran – people prefer to be squeezed somewhat tightly by a robot and what she plans to do after her research.

[8:20] She takes us through her journey of college and how she found a great advisor

[9:40] What does a typical day look like for Alexis – in her research, every day is different

[10:55] What has Alexis really fired up today? the ability to use robotics for social good.

[11:30] Ah-ha moment – in high school they had to do a science project and made it all the way to nationals – that is what really was needed to invalidate what everyone was saying about how it is so nerdy to be in STEM as a female.

[13:20] Getting through college – take risks and follow your interests. There is no shame in asking for help.

[16:20] Best advice – don’t let anybody tell you can’t. A habit is to take breaks to refresh and clear your head. And a book she recommends is “Getting More” Stuart Diamond

[17:50] Parting guidance – asking for help does not make you weak, it shows how courageous and driven you are.

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