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ILONA BODNAR

Place of birth:

Manhattan, NY

Family Heritage:

Argentina

Education:

B.S. in Computer Science Games at the University of Southern California (USC)

Current job:

Research Scholar at USC Interaction Lab

Bio

In short, I hardcore play with computers. In high school, I played with computers and education; I led a club called Technovation, which was a mobile apps development organization for girls that used MIT App Inventor to address a problem in their community, and another called Girls Who Code, which taught the basics of computer science (in our case, a language developed by Apple called Swift) to our members. I've also played around with Arduino-based boards, like the Intel Galileo, and developed projects on those, such as mini DIY security systems, in addition to picking up small things on Codecademy.com.

Bio

Now, I work at USC's Interaction Lab, which uses human-robot interaction to address cognitive, mental, physical, and emotional problems, and am a member of numerous organizations on campus, such as SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), SWE (Society of Women Engineers), GiT (Girls in Tech), WiC (Women in Computing), and many more. I love computers and I love people, and I want to use each to better the other.

Why would you recommend exploring careers in science and technology to other Latina girls?

Nothing is more fun than making and breaking things. You get to explore your creative side and put your imagination to the test. Unlike other disciplines, where you're bounded to the physical limitations of the physical world, you can bend, break, and remake every rule about everything with computer science and technology.

Even the most seemingly impossible things become possible; with virtual reality, you can bring a dinosaur to life. With certain algorithms, you can make a computer learn and recognize things it has never even seen before. With robots, you can help people with cognitive disabilities better their social interaction. With code, you can do anything.