Dr. Ayanna Howard is a Professor and the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair in Bioengineering in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is also the Associate Chair for Faculty Development in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab. In addition, Ayanna founded and is the Chief Technology Officer of the company Zyrobotics which provides mobile therapy and educational products for children with differing needs. Ayanna likes to exercise and do Zumba in her free time. She has been a certified Zumba instructor now for about eight years, and it has been a fun way for Ayanna to unwind from her work. In terms of her research, Ayanna is a roboticist who builds, designs, and programs robots that interact with people in the real world. Ayanna completed her undergraduate studies in engineering at Brown University, received her master’s degree and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, and earned her MBA from Claremont University, Drucker School of Management. Before joining the faculty at Georgia Tech, she worked as a Senior Robotics Researcher and Deputy Manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. Ayanna has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Brown Engineering Alumni Medal, the Computer Research Association A. Nico Habermann Award, the Anita Borg Institute A Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award, The National Society of Black Engineers Janice Lumpkin Educator of the Year Award, the IEEE Early Career Award in Robotics and Automation, the California Women in Business Award for Science and Technology, Engineer of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Council of Engineers and Scientists, the Allstate Insurance Distinguished Honoree for achievement in science, the NASA Space Act Award for Fuzzy Logic Engine for Space Applications, the NASA Space Act Award for Path Planning Graphical User Interface, the NASA Honor Award for Safe Robotic Navigation Task, the NASA Lew Allen Award of Excellence for significant technical contributions, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Technology and Applications Program Honor Award. She has also been awarded the Georgia Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering Outreach Award, Faculty Woman of Distinction Award, Class of 1934 Outstanding Interdisciplinary Activities Award, and the Residential Life Cornerstone Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Community. In addition, Ayanna has been named an Honoree of The Root 100 and among the MIT Technology Review Top 100 Young Innovators of the Year. Ayanna joined us for an interview to discuss her life and science.
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