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 2: Computation, Cognition, and Stanford’s Self Driving Car

Day 2 of SAILORS was action packed as it was filled with numerous activities ranging from lectures to hands on activities to live demos.

The day kicked off with a breakfast and lecture from Professor Noah Goodman, who introduced computation and cognition to the students. A tutorial on inductive reasoning followed Professor Goodman’s lecture, and campers had the opportunity to follow along on laptops during this session.

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After a meet and greet lunch with AI professors and students, campers engaged in a personal growth session on teamwork. Students were presented with a challenge: to try to keep a volleyball from touching the ground as long as possible. The girls succeeded by using a strategy they invented which involved sitting with their legs extended to prevent the ball from touching the ground.

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A live demo from an autonomous car followed the personal growth session. Campers had the opportunity to find out how the car was built and were allowed to ask questions.

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The day concluded with a session with the research projects. We hope everybody had fun and learned a lot during day 2, and we can’t wait for day 3 and the rest of the week!