2023 Career Transitions Workshop, Part 1: Early Career Panel

Sunday, May 21, 7:30– 8:30 pm, Jasmine/Palm

Organized by: VSS Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee (SPC)

Organizers: Claudia Damiano, KU Leuven; Stephanie Shields, The University of Texas at Austin; Maruti V Mishra, University of Richmond
Moderator: Claudia Damiano, KU Leuven
Panelists: Angelica Godinez, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin; Sabrina Hansmann-Roth, University of Iceland; Madhu Mahadevan, Magic Leap; N Apurva Ratan Murty, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Alex White, Barnard College

Career transitions are both exciting and scary. Some of the uncertainty regarding a new role, however, can be reduced by talking to others who have made similar transitions. This year VSS-SPC and FoVea together present a two-part ‘Career Transitions Workshop’ on navigating these diverse pathways, with Part 1: Early Career Panel and Part 2: Where do I go from here? Round-Table Discussion.

Part 1 will feature a panel discussion on early career transitions, from the undergraduate level up through securing faculty positions and jobs outside of academia. A panel of vision scientists with a variety of chosen career paths will discuss their stories, the transitions they’ve gone through in their careers, and how they made the key decisions that led them to their current jobs. After each panelist gives an overview of their story, audience members will be invited to participate in a question-and-answer session with the panel. The panel will include representatives from both academia and industry, so attendees will hear firsthand perspectives both on navigating academia and on transitioning between academia and industry. Especially given the recent layoffs in industry and the pandemic’s lasting impact on hiring in higher education, we hope the panel will provide useful insights into current trends affecting early career researchers and ideas for how trainees can increase their chances of success in today’s professional landscape.

Following this panel discussion, participants will be invited to attend Part 2 of the Career Transitions Workshop, where they can take part in small group discussions and enjoy light snacks and drinks.

Note: All are welcome to attend both parts of this workshop, to only attend Part 1, or to only attend Part 2.

Angelica Godinez

Postdoctoral Researcher, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Angie, is a vision scientist and postdoctoral researcher working in Martin Rolfs’ Active perception and Cognition lab at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and in the German Excellence cluster Science of Intelligence. As part of the cluster, her research is aimed at understanding visual processing for perception and action as an attempt to improve current models of perceptual processing and contribute insights to AI and robotics. Prior to her postdoc, Angie received a BS in Psychology and MS in Human Factors and Ergonomics from San Jose State University. During this time, she worked in the Visuomotor Control Lab at NASA Ames Research Center where she conducted low-level vision research (i.e., eye-movement responses to changes in stimulus contrast and luminance) and applied research on the physiological changes due to vibration and acceleration. For her PhD in vision science at the University of California, Berkeley, she worked with Dennis M. Levi on the impact, recovery and possible adaptations of poor binocular vision. While at Berkeley, she completed an internship at NVIDIA where she applied her knowledge of visual processing to gaze-contingent rendering in an attempt to reduce bandwidth and increase rendering speed in computer graphics.

Sabrina Hansmann-Roth

Assistant Professor, University of Iceland

Sabrina Hansmann-Roth, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Iceland and a Co-PI of the Icelandic Vision Lab. She obtained her PhD from Université Paris Descartes followed by postdoctoral positions at the University of Iceland and the University of Lille. She is interested in the mechanisms used to represent information in visual memory. For that, she investigates probabilistic representations of visual ensembles, visual priming and perceptual biases such as serial dependence. She was a former member of the VSS Student-Postdoctoral Advisory Committee and looking forward to this year’s career transitions workshop, sharing her experiences and discussing with ECRs and the other panelists.

Madhu Mahadevan

Research Scientist, Magic Leap

Dr. Madhu Mahadevan is a vision research scientist at Magic Leap, Inc. She started her career as a clinical optometrist in India with a primary focus on low vision eye care and contact lens management. She then completed her PhD working with Dr. Scott Stevenson on visual attention and eye movements from the University of Houston, College of Optometry, TX. During her doctoral program, she was a research intern at Nvidia, Santa Clara, CA working on auto calibration of eye trackers in virtual reality headsets. After graduation, she joined as a user experience researcher at Human Interfaces, Austin, TX where she used product research methods to help multiple stakeholders interested in enhancing user experience across consumer and enterprise products. She is currently working at Magic Leap, Inc on their augmented reality headset where she uses applied vision concepts and optometric principles in conjunction with product research methods to evaluate design decisions and make optimal choices to help users have a comfortable viewing experience.

N Apurva Ratan Murty

Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ratan received his PhD in Neuroscience from the Center for Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. His PhD research with Prof. S.P. Arun elucidated the computational mechanisms underlying viewpoint invariant representations in the monkey inferotemporal cortex. He is currently a NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence fellow and Research Scientist at MIT with Profs. Nancy Kanwisher and Jim DiCarlo. In his current research, he uses methods from cognitive neuroscience, human neuroimaging, electrophysiology, and artificial intelligence, to investigate the development and cortical organization of human visual intelligence.

Alex White

Assistant Professor, Barnard College

Alex White has been studying vision since he first attended VSS as an undergraduate in 2006. He is particularly interested in visual word recognition, selective attention, eye movements, and awareness. He got his PhD working with Dr. Marisa Carrasco at NYU in 2013. After a meandering but fruitful postdoctoral journey, he started a faculty position at Barnard College in 2021. An NIH K99/R00 award facilitated that transition. For more information on his current research, see his lab website. Alex also co-organizes the Visibility events at this conference.

Claudia Damiano

Postdoctoral Researcher, KU Leuven

Claudia Damiano holds a PhD from the University of Toronto (2019) and is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium, specializing in scene perception and visual aesthetics. Broadly, her research aims to understand how visual features impact aesthetic preferences and guide attention. In her current project, she explores the cognitive and emotional benefits of interacting with nature using eye-tracking and virtual reality techniques. Her work contributes to our understanding of the relationship between human perception and the appreciation of natural environments. Claudia has served as a panelist on similar early-career panels, offering advice to Master’s and PhD students about transitioning to a postdoc position. As a moderator, she will ensure that the panel offers valuable insights and actionable advice to attendees.