Vagelos Computational Science Center Seminar: Saima Akhtar (Independent Researcher)
Speaker: Saima Akhtar, Independent Researcher
Title: What is Computing Good for? Building a More Inclusive World through Empowerment and Play
What counts as computing? Where does computational work happen? Through a series of professional and personal projects, this talk explores how computing can bridge disciplines, advance science, and generate new spaces for inclusivity and imaginative thinking. Through her experience in architecture and software engineering, Saima will also speak about what feminist computational science looks like, including thinking critically about the harm and 'good' that computing brings to building equitable social and virtual worlds.
Saima Akhtar is an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in architecture and software engineering. As a trained social scientist and programmer, the questions that drive her are at the intersection of technology and design -- whether she’s building user-friendly applications or writing about the ethical implications of integrating technology into our everyday lives. Dr. Akhtar graduated with degrees in architecture from University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.) and MIT (SMArchS), and majored in psychology and architecture at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. She was a postdoctoral associate at Yale University in the Department of Computer Science, where she managed cultural heritage preservation projects between the fields of computer science and architecture. She also completed a certificate in Full Stack engineering from the Flatiron School.