2017 Speakers

Dr. Ayanna Howard

Dr. Ayanna Howard is a professor and the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair in Bioengineering in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also holds the position of Associate Chair for Faculty Development in ECE.

Ayanna’s academic career is highlighted by her focus on technology development for intelligent agents that must interact with and in a human-centered world. This work, which addresses issues in artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics, has resulted in over 200 peer-reviewed publications in a number of projects — from assistive robots in the home to therapy gaming apps to remote robotic exploration of extreme environments. She has over 20 years of R&D experience covering a number of projects that have been supported by various agencies including: National Science Foundation, Procter and Gamble, NASA, ExxonMobil, Intel, and the Grammy Foundation.

Ayanna received her B.S. in Engineering from Brown University, her M.S.E.E. from the University of Southern California, her M.B.A. from the Drucker Graduate School of Management, and her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California. To date, her unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today, Upscale, and TIME Magazine, as well as being named a MIT Technology Review top young innovator and recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider. She also received the 2014 A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award. In 2013, Ayanna founded Zyrobotics, which is currently licensing technology derived from her research and has released their first suite of therapy and educational products for children with differing needs.

From 1993 to 2005, Ayanna was at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. She has also served a term as the Associate Director of Research for the Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines and a term as Chair of the multidisciplinary Robotics Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech.