At AT&T, research scientist Alicia Abella is known as a "change agent," an innovator who is keeping her corporation on the cutting edge of developing new and better ways to help people and companies communicate with each other -- including through innovations in teleconferencing, Web-based solutions and iPhone application-based approaches that increase work efficiency and rapid-response collaboration across the globe.
"We are really trying to enhance the way individuals communicate with each other over distance and time," says Alicia, Executive Director of Innovative Services Research at AT&T Labs where she heads a cadre of researchers and technicians focused on data mining (the practice of searching and analyzing large stores of data for patterns and relationships not previously discovered), user interfaces, mobile services, environmental sustainability and other emerging technologies. "In our work," she says, "we draw upon our lengthy experience in human-computer interaction and our understanding of how technologies --such as social networks -- change the way users interact with each other and with AT&T services."
Alicia earned her Ph.D. in computer science from Columbia University, and her Masters of Science degree from Columbia, and Bachelor of Science from New York University, both in computer science. Although well-known for her technical expertise, Alicia, a first-generation child of Cuban immigrants, is equally recognized for her dedication to helping young students reach their educational objectives, especially serving as a strong advocate for fostering the development of minorities and women in science and engineering.
As executive vice president for the Young Science Achievers program, she works intently to bring an interest and excitement in science and engineering to high school-aged women and minority students through a program of mentoring and scientific achievement. She also chairs the AT&T Labs Fellowship program in which she helps encourage, advise and evaluate candidates for a prestigious graduate scholarship from AT&T that is focused on at women and minorities.
What do you feel can be done to spark an interest in science and engineering among women and minority students?
Read more about AT&T sponsored Nifty Fifty program speaker Alicia Abella here.
Hear Alicia discuss her work on CollaboraTV (CTV), a social TV viewing prototype from AT&T.