Female Disney Scientists

February 11th, 2020 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Today, I’m featuring female scientists that work or worked for Disney!

Disney Research

Kyna McIntosh profile picture

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 profile picture - she is wearing sparkly black Minnie ears with a red sequin bow

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 profile picture - she wears a black suit jacket with leather detail and white blouse

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.

Jaoana Campos profile picture; she has dark shoulder-length hair, is wearing a grey heathered shirt, and stands outside in front of a building

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.

Animation

Kaitlyn Yang profile picture. She has shoulder-length black hair and is wearing a navy button-up blouse

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 long dark hair and is smiling, looking up, standing in front of a black background

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 profile picture, she wears a heathered pink sweater over a white collared shirt with a fun print and is standing in front of a painted brick wall

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.

Disney Parks

Khadejah Scott holds a banana plant inside Living with the Land; she is dressed in her cast member attire of a blue polo shirt and khaki shorts

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 stands by a microscope wearing an eggplant colored dress and smiling

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 profile picture, she is wearing a black suit jacket and white blouse

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.

Hopefully through Disney’s CODE: Rosie and Aspire programs, individuals of various ethnicities will rise in the ranks of STEM fields within the company.

If you or someone you know who would make a great addition to this list, please contact me!

Further Exploration

Since Disney technically owns National Geographic now, you might also consider the creators and scientists featured in the 2019 Women Issue or on Women of Impact to be Disney scientists.

Statistics on women in animation are rather bleak, especially for women of color. To find out more about black women in the animation industry, check out this site.

If you have a Disney+ subscription, check out the One Day at Disney documentary and shorts (or buy the book!) where you’ll learn about women like Ashley Girdich and Natalie Mylniczenko.

Last but not least, check out this playlist I created of Disney women in STEM!

One thought on “Female Disney Scientists

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.