Women in STEM: Carol Reiley

Women in STEM: Carol Reiley

Women in STEM: Carol Reiley

When we were looking for the next candidate in our series exploring women in the sciences, the search was practically over before it started. First of all, Carol Reiley is multi-talented, extending her influence and drive into many different fields.

She’s an executive and an entrepreneur, not to mention an author and a model, though she commonly refers to herself a roboticist—saving the world, one robot at a time. And, as of last year, she’s also a mother!

Her daughter’s initials are NAN, a reminder that despite how much data science plays a role in her life, her daughter is, “not a number.”

Raised in Vancouver, Washington by Chinese-American parents, Reiley got a Bachelor in Science from Santa Clara for her research with underwater robotics, then went on to earn her Masters in Computer Science from John Hopkins for her work in haptics (3D touch or technology that can create an experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user).

Recently, Reiley co-founded an autonomous vehicle startup called drive.ai, which sought to make retrofitted kits that would turn normal cars into self-driving cars. Last year, it was bought out by Apple, but she’s already on to the next project, looking to launch another startup in women’s healthcare.

In addition to her new business, she’s a brand spokesperson for Guerlain Cosmetics and a creative collaborator with the San Francisco Symphony, where she hopes to examine what role technology will play in the future of music. And somehow she still finds time to read up to 100 books a year!

When asked what advice she’d give to a startup, Reiley is a proponent of failing fast, the idea being that you shouldn’t, “be afraid to launch a crappy product in order to quickly test your key initial assumptions.” 

So how does her work in technology find its way into her everyday life? Robotics, she says, has taught her, “more of what it means to be human.” As a result, Reiley is adamant that tech has to find a balance between intellect and ethics, while taking on the responsibility of educating people in the sciences who aren’t ordinarily exposed to it. 

We recently caught up with Reiley, who had this to say to our budding coders at Tynker: “I love to be at the steep slope of the learning curve. That’s where we thrive.”

Reiley is truly inspiring and definitely someone to keep an eye on. Fortunately, it won’t be hard to find her—she’s everywhere!

Tynker enables children to learn computer programming in a fun and imaginative way. More than 60 million kids worldwide have started learning to code using Tynker.

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