Life after the IAG program: A young entrepreneur’s journey

We invited to Diana to share her story with all of you. A story driven by innovation, passion and courage. Told to us in her own words.

My name is Diana Voronin and I am currently a freshman majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. When my grandfather suffered a stroke, my family and I watched helplessly as he lost his ability to do daily tasks. Like many stroke patients, he could neither find motivation to do his rehabilitation exercises nor afford expensive at-home rehabilitation equipment. To solve the problem, I invented MotivateMe, an inexpensive, smart wristband that analyzes patients’ rehabilitation exercise motion data to deliver motivational feedback. Just as a Fitbit motivates users to walk more by showing them the number of steps they’ve taken, MotivateMe motivates patients by showing them the quantity of correct exercises they’ve done.

I met the IAG UC Berkeley Team while filming America’s Greatest Makers. All of the AGM competitors were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to complete a ten week hardware startup accelerator taught by the team.

My appearance on AGM and the work with the IAG team, opened the opportunity to intern at Intel in the summer after my junior year. There, I implemented a speech recognition neural network on one of Intel’s newest products, the Movidius Neural Compute Stick. Now, as a freshman in college, I will spend January interning at Microsoft and hope to start research in the area of neural interfacing and control for bionic prosthetics.

One of my newest ventures is STEAM Ahead, a community service project I started after I organized and taught SparkIT-Hillsborough, a free, weeklong STEM summer camp for middle schoolers in my community. The goal of STEAM Ahead is to help educators introduce computer science and engineering to their classes, even if the educators themselves do not have prior experience with computer science. For my work with STEAM Ahead, I have been recognized as a 2017 HERlead Fellow, 2018 Stanford she++ #include Fellow, and NCWIT Aspirations in Computing National Award Winner.

What is one piece of advice you would give to young women entrepreneurs?

Be ambitious and apply for unique opportunities even if you believe you are not qualified.

Women tend to underestimate their abilities and accomplishments, but you can only gain from believing in yourself enough to apply.

You should also surround yourself with a network of other women who have similar entrepreneurial interests.

One such network, the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), has been particularly valuable to me and has introduced me to many opportunities and new friends who inspire and support me everyday.