Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Meilina Reksoprodjo, a student in AI and Data Science, is the latest addition to RightBrains’ growing Ambassador team. For her, technology is an undeniable part of life, and she aims to make technology work for the good of society. We asked her a few questions.
What is your current role?
I’m currently an Artificial Intelligence and Data Science in Engineering student at Radboud University and the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven. I’m also a Teaching Assistant at Radboud University.
Have you always wanted to be in digital technology?
Nope! In my final year of high school, I was struggling to choose between humanities and a more technical study. I took French and I considered studying French at university. My other option was to study physics or computer science, but I was not entirely convinced.
A classmate introduced me to Artificial Intelligence, and finally, I was hooked! I really enjoy the interdisciplinary nature of the study, and that it is such a young and dynamic field where there is a lot to discover.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Overcoming imposter syndrome in the tech industry: People underestimated and stereotyped me, and it gave me the impression that I was not suited for a career in technology. I doubted my study choices. But I’ve learned to mindfully handle these comments and feelings and focus on my mindset. When you shift your fixed mindset towards a growth mindset, you discover it helps you so much more during your study and career.
What is your career goal? What do you hope to achieve?
In the age of big data, it is undeniable that we steer towards more data-driven predictions. These data-driven decisions are based on models that want to maximise performance, not taking into account how fair or justifiable a decision could be. And that concerns me quite a bit - how would you feel if some black-box algorithm gives you an unintelligible output that decides how your future will be?
I’d like to stay in the digital field, either working as a data scientist or as a researcher on how to make fair, equitable and explainable algorithms. I want to work towards a fair and inclusive future for everyone, where we can make technology work for humans, not against us. Even though I’m only 20 years old right now, it doesn’t hurt to dream big.
Any advice for others?
Never underestimate your own strengths - you actually have a lot more to offer than you actually think.
How did you hear about RightBrains? And why did you become involved?
I found out about RightBrains through LinkedIn, and it was so nice to see a community of like-minded women in technology that advocate for an inclusive and diverse future workforce! A future where the concept of diversity and inclusivity isn’t seen as a performative PR stunt, a business model or as buzzwords in digital technology.
Why do you think organisations like RightBrains are important?
Organisations like RightBrains are important as they are force-multiplier in the aim of helping to build a more representative industry. It’s hard to change an entire industry on your own, but with a strong community base, we can push this goal to a higher level. Never underestimate the power of a community!