ESP Biography

JESSICA VAN BRUMMELEN, MIT Computer Science Graduate Student

Major: EECS

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: G

Picture of Jessica Van Brummelen

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Jessica is an MIT computer science graduate student aiming to empower young learners with technology to solve real-world problems. With a team of researchers, she has developed tools to allow anyone to program conversational agents, like Amazon Alexa. This research builds on MIT App Inventor, which for a decade has made it possible for non-expert programmers, including those as young as primary school students, to develop smartphone and tablet applications.

Jessica also has a passion for teaching. At MIT, she taught high school students engineering fundamentals through the Women in Technology Program. She also taught undergraduate students research skills as a teaching assistant. During her undergrad at UBC, she taught a physics lab and held computer science office hours. She believes that given the right tools, knowledge and skills, anyone can create significant positive change in his or her community.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

C14443: Create Your Own Conversational AI Agents in Spark 2021 (Mar. 13 - 27, 2021)
Have you ever asked your friendly Siri or Alexa what the weather would be today? Or maybe to set a timer for 10 minutes? Come learn about how these conversational AI agents work, and build your own! We'll go over how to use Convo, a conversational programming interface, to do everything from creating a virtual friend to telling an adventure story to making a recipe book. The possibilities are endless!

C12799: Programming Amazon Alexa with MIT App Inventor in HSSP Spring 2019 (Feb. 23, 2019)
Have you ever wondered how Amazon Alexa decides what to say? This course teaches students computer programming, mobile app development, and conversational artificial intelligence using Amazon Alexa and MIT App Inventor. MIT App Inventor is a visual drag-and-drop coding platform that has made it possible for non-experts to develop smartphone and tablet applications for over a decade. Through this platform, students will program mobile apps and Alexa Skills, ultimately developing their own project to solve a real-world problem. Students will learn about conversational artificial intelligence, which is the ability for a computer to have a conversation with a human, how it currently works, and what it might look like in the future.