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Ayanna Howard, Ph.D.

Hometown: Pasadena, California

Engineering Major: Electrical Engineering

Degree Granting Institution(s): Brown University, University of Southern California

Job Title: Robotics Research Engineer with the Telerobotics Research and Applications Group and principal investigator of the Safe Rover Navigation Task at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Job Responsibilities: The Rover Navigation team seeks to develop a computer program that will allow a rover to successfully explore martian terrain, so I try to think of innovative technologies for future robotic space missions. We attempt to design programs that will allow robots to gather, analyze, and act on information about their surroundings using human intelligence and learning as a template.

Interest in robotics has grown in recent years. As the technology and artificial intelligence capability matures, more companies are designing and building robots for everyday usage--from vacuum cleaners to toys. College and even high school classes are training the next generation of engineers through robotic design classes. The future robotics profession looks bright with a promising job outlook.

Best Advice: Dreams are goals without steps. Don't let anyone negatively influence your goals, but rather use it as the fire to propel you forward. Belief and confidence in yourself does not magically occur, but is practiced. Practice striving and trying to reach your goals--thus making your dreams a reality.

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