The Women in Robotics group now has more than 800 members across the globe and has been running informally since 2011. Well, it decided it was time to make things official. Its first board of directors are eight women who have contributed to robotics activities in many ways, from role models to spokespeople, from event organizers to campaigners.
Here are the inaugural board members:
President & Founder: Andra Keay
Andra Keay is Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics and founder of the “25 Women in Robotics you need to know about” list.
Treasurer: Laurie Linz
Laurie Linz is a Software Engineer and founder of the Boulder/Denver chapter
Secretary: Sue Keay
Sue Keay is Research Director of Cyber-Physical Systems at CSIRO’s Data 61 and lead of Grace Hopper Down Under.
Lisa Winter is a Mechanical Engineer at Quartz, a two-time world champion at Battlebots, and a mentor for girls in robotics.
Sabine Haeurt is an Assistant Professor of Swarm Robotics at Bristol Robotics Lab, President and Co-Founder of Robohub and a contributor to the “25 Women in Robotics you need to know about” list.
Sarah Osentoski is VP of Engineering at Iron Ox, former COO of Mayfield Robotics and a board member of Women in Machine Learning.
Hallie Siegel is Managing Editor of Robohub and a contributor to the “25 Women in Robotics you need to know about” list.
Cynthia Yeung is COO at CafeX. She has also worked at Google and Softbank Robotics.
The Robot Report has launched the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, which will be on Dec. 9-10 in Santa Clara, Calif. The conference and expo focuses on improving the design, development and manufacture of next-generation healthcare robots. Learn more about the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum.
The group aims to advance diversity and equity in robotics by providing local meetups and a global online community for women who work in robotics and women who would like to work in robotics. Activities can include outreach, organizing celebrations, speaker events and panels, but the core activity is peer networking and mentoring for women.
“Statistically, women [working] in robotics are unlikely to be working with other women, and that contributes to the much greater professional drop out rate for women as compared to men,” said Andra Keay. “There’s not much point in doing STEM outreach to get girls and women interested in robotics, if they’re going to drop out after a few years in the workplace. And the robotics industry has an increasing skills shortage, so we can’t afford to lose talented women. I can’t control pay scales or promotions at other companies, but I can create a supportive environment here.”
The board will meet every two months and may grow to include more representatives from other regions. If you’re interested in joining the community, sign up here.