inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Kate Tolstaya

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I was born in Russia and moved to the US when I was 6, along with my mom, dad and little brother. I knew no English when I started first grade, but by second grade, my classmates were already asking me for spelling help. I’ve also taken a few years of Spanish so I’m 2.5-lingual.

I’m currently a senior at the University of Maryland studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I’m excited to start my PhD in Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania this fall. I’m planning to focus on networks and signals processing for aerial robotics.

What # would define your life journey?
It’s really hard to pick a number to represent my whole life journey, since I’ve just started it. 2100 could be a good number because I hope I get to see how amazing the world is in 84 more years.

Favorite website / app:
Strava is my favorite app for logging my biking, running and swimming workouts. I recently started training for a triathlon and I’m really excited to make consistent workouts a part of my lifestyle.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
I’m inspired by individuals who have found success in both academia and industry. One of the coolest people I’ve ever met is Red Whittaker, who designed robots to help with cleaning up the Chernobyl nuclear accident. He has inspired me to seek out way to make a real world impact as a roboticist.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Meghan Trainor – NO is so catchy!

Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I was at TreeHacks this spring and I really wanted to create an augmented reality game. My team and I had an amazing idea to use a Google Cardboard and a Microsoft Kinect, along with a PS Vita controller to hack together a motion controlled game. It was super difficult to get all the networked components to communicate correctly, but it was super cool when the game finally worked!

Ideal Job:
Leading a robotics research group at a company or a university.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Work hard to stand out at your current stage in your career or education, so that the coolest opportunities are available to you (and make sure to keep an eye out for them!)

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