Jean Yang, Leadership Development Chair
[jeanyang [at] csail [dot] mit [dot] edu]. I am a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science (course 6, area 2) interested in programming language design and program synthesis. I believe that we can better leverage computing power to make it easier to write correct and efficient programs.
It is unfortunate that women leave male-dominated fields for reasons that include bias, isolation, lack of support, and lack of role models. I want to help women pursue their passions without facing so many challenges unrelated to their technical ability.
I helped found GWAMIT in fall 2009 to create an environment where all members of the community have well-informed discussions about issues such as implicit and explicit bias, "cultural" differences between genders, and work/life balance. I want to see these discussions translate into institutional changes that make MIT more woman-friendly.
To start provocative discussions about issues relevant to graduate women (from bias to collaboration to personal branding), I co-led our first conference in spring '10 and also the Spring '11 Empowerment Conference. My other contributions to GWAMIT have been mostly related to branding and publicity. I designed the GWAMIT logo and created the website. From spring 2010 to fall 2011, I led our blogging efforts and maintained our social media presence.
Working with so many talented, passionate women has been one of my favorite parts of graduate school. I look forward to training new leaders to take on GWAMIT's mission and enabling them to leave their mark at MIT.