February 11th, 2020 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Today, I’m featuring female scientists that work or worked for Disney!
Kyna McIntosh has been working for Disney Research since 2013 after graduating from Carnegie Mellon with her Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and Art. Her many projects include the Magic Bench which enables multiple guests to interact with augmented reality and virtual Reality characters and objects. This technology combines a depth sensor, color sensor and haptic feedback in the bench without any expensive equipment like what might be seen in The VOID experiences. Maybe we’ll see Kyna’s work in the Play Pavilion at Epcot soon?
Ye Pan worked as a research and design postdoctoral associate and then became an associate research scientist at Disney Research. Before working for Disney, she earned her master’s and doctorate in Computer Science at University College London and her bachelor’s degree in Communication and Information Engineering at Purdue University. Her research has focused on enabling multiple authors to create in virtual and augmented reality spaces. I think she would make an excellent collaborator for many of my colleagues in Learning Sciences!
Cristina Segalin is a research scientist specializing in machine learning and computer vision. She earned her degrees (bachelors, masters, and doctorate) in computer science in Italy and then completed a postdoc at Caltech. Cristina’s research for Disney used deep learning algorithms to train a computer to detect smile intensity of groups.
Joana Campos worked at Disney Research in 2017 and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. She earned her PhD at the Universidade de Lisboa in Portugal. Joana tried to make chatbots that could remember information from conversations to appear more human-like.
Kaitlyn Yang is a visual effects supervisor at her own production company called Alpha Studios. Her credits include multiple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family. She earned her undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Digital Arts from the University of Southern California and was born with spinal muscular atrophy.
Yasmin Khan has worked for Pixar for almost 20 years as technical support and technical director. She describes her work as debugging visual and technical problems for Pixar films. Yasmin studied engineering technology at the University of Illinois.
Jennifer Perez is an associate software engineer at Walt Disney Animation Studios but she wasn’t always in a technology field. Jennifer completed the Disney College program, worked as a producing editor for ESPN and then did the CODE: Rosie program where she learned engineering skills.
Khadejah Scott was an agricultural sciences intern at Epcot in 2018 while attending Austin Peay State University. She researched the relationship between wasps and leaf miner flies to reduce the damage caused by leaf miner eggs laid in plants. You might have had her as your Behind the Seeds tour guide! As of 2019, Khadejah was working as a horticulturalist in her native Memphis!
Sara Blosser did a reproductive endocrinology internship at Walt Disney World before pursuing her PhD at Montana State University. For her internship, she did chemical tests to monitor pregnancies in African elephants and conducted behavioral observations of cotton-top tamarins. She has worked for the Indiana State Department of Health since 2015.
Andrea Bolds worked as a chemistry intern at Walt Disney World where she worked on maintaining water quality for aquatic animals at Epcot and Animal Kingdom. She earned her undergraduate degree in bioengineering and biomedical engineering at Wright State University. Andrea went on to serve as a Water Chemist Manager for Disney for 4.5 years and now applies her scientific skills at Nestlé.
We Need More Diverse Scientists
I tried my best to find diverse researchers among Disney and Pixar employees but struggled to find even a handful who identify as both female (or ninbinary) and Black, indigenous, or Latinx.
If you or someone you know who would make a great addition to this list, please contact me!
Last but not least, check out this playlist I created of Disney women in STEM!