Day 8: Human Genomics, Stanford’s Autonomous Car, and Field Trip to Dropbox

The SAILORS arrived this morning excited for today’s field trip to the Dropbox office! But before that, they enjoyed a breakfast Q&A with Professor Gill Bejerano, who talked about how he ended up in the field of genomics despite starting college with little interest in either biology or computer science.

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After breakfast, Prof. Bejerano went into more detail about how machine learning is critical for finding the “bugs” in people’s genomes that cause disease. As he explained, combing through a patient’s genome manually is too expensive and time-consuming to keep up with demand; researchers are therefore looking toward automation to solve this problem.

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The girls then headed outside to see Stanford’s self-driving car in person! CS department member Dr. Brice Rebsamen explained how the car worked, but also talked about the problems that he and his colleagues encountered. From blind spots to bad weather, there are a lot of difficult issues that autonomous car researchers need to resolve in order for their vehicles to be safe and ready for the road.

Following the demo was this week’s field trip! The campers had the chance to tour the Dropbox office in San Francisco. They first met Justin Bethune, the company’s global diversity program manager. After a casual lunch, the girls split off into groups to tour the office, from the rooftop garden to the colorful working spaces.

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The girls meet Judith Williams, global head of diversity at Dropbox

The day concluded with a panel featuring five female employees of Dropbox, who spoke about their background and life at the company. They also gave advice to the SAILORS girls about staying motivated while pursuing a STEM career.

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We hope everyone had fun today, and we’re looking forward to the final two days of the program!

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Day 3: Field Trip to the Computer Science History Museum with Edward Feigenbaum, Biomedical Informatics, and more!

Day 3 kicked off with a casual breakfast Q and A session with Assistant Professor at UCSF School of Medicine Marina Sirota. Marina talked about everything from her experience in high school to why she decided to pursue biomedical informatics.

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After the Q and A session, the students learned about biomedical informatics from a presentation Prof. Sirota gave. Campers were introduced to how biomedical data, when used hand in hand with AI, can be utilized to improve the problem solving process in human health. Marina also discussed how existing drugs could help cure other diseases.

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The campers then met with their research groups and continued learning and working on their projects.

The day concluded with a fun and educational field trip to the Computer Science History Museum in Mountain View. Prof. Edward Feigenbaum, often called the “father of expert systems,” and Sue Mickel led the campers on guided tours around the museum. The students learned about everything from the origins of the first computer to the development of robotics to the evolution of artificial intelligence. We hope the campers are just as excited as we are for day 4 of SAILORS!

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Day 4: Robotics Demos and Field Trip to Computer History Museum

Day 4 began with a relaxed breakfast where the girls had a Q/A session with SAILORS teaching assistant and operation chair Pamela Toman.

Campers then had the opportunity to engage in a lecture about robotics with Dr. Mohammad Khansari. The presentation covered a wide range of topics ranging from the types of robots to the impact of robots in the real world. Many robots, such as haptic touch robots and underwater robots, were also demo-ed during this session. Students had the opportunity not only to learn how these machines worked, but also got to interact with and control the robots.

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After the lecture, the students had another session with their research projects. A field trip to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View followed the research project activities. Prof. Edward Feigenbaum, Penny Nii, and Sue Mickel led tours that taught students everything from the evolution of computers to the development of AI.

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From seeing the Babbage engine, the world’s first automatic computing machine, to learning about notable women in computer science history, like Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and women of ENIAC, the museum trip proved not only to be fun but also educational.

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As Day 4 draws to a conclusion, we hope that the campers are just as excited as we are for Day 5!