Having a Question: Finding what captures your curiosity in research and in life

Laura Tomokiyo (Pitt/ Falk School)

One of the great rewards of a research career is using the tools of our specializations to explore the questions of the world.  But how do we find and stay true to the questions that inspire us?  And how do we find balance between this inspiration and the demands of our careers?  In this talk, I will present vignettes of my work with communities around the world – from Mali to Jakarta to Iñupiat Alaska – and discuss the considerations in bringing the technologies and tools of higher education to communities in the developing world.  I will also share how following the questions that inspire me has led me to the world of K-12 education, and invite discussion on emerging possibilities at the intersection of language technologies and education.

Laura Mayfield Tomokiyo received an SB in Computer Science from MIT, and MS and PhD degrees from Carnegie Mellon in Computational Linguistics and Language Technologies respectively.  After working for Cepstral, LLC as principal research scientist leading language development efforts in small-footprint synthesis, she was project scientist at the CMU Robotics Institute's CREATE lab, investigating the use of networked imagery in cross-cultural communication. She is currently clinical assistant professor at the School of Education, University of Pittsburgh, where she is working with the laboratory school to integrate contemporary ideas about computational thinking and language diversity into elementary and early secondary curriculum.