What is your name, age, location?
My name is Gabrielle Ras, I'm 22 years old and I live in Maastricht.
What's your background?
I lived in Curacao for 18 years where I attended primary and secondary school. When I was 18 I moved to Eindhoven to study Industrial Design but after a year I switched to Knowledge Engineering and I moved to Maastricht. For the past 3 years I have been very involved with my studies and sit on the board of our study association. At the beginning of this year I got involved with the Dutch Nao Team. In April, I participated in the RoboCup IranOpen and in July I went to Brazil to participate in the RoboCup 2014.
What inspired you to study engineering and design?
I always had a passion for science, engineering, design and art. This led to a bit of an internal battle for what I wanted to study and devote a greater part of my life to. I believe I have found a balance now. When I studied Industrial Design for a year I realized it was not for me. I actually wanted something with more reasoning and analytical thinking. I found what I was looking for in the Knowledge Engineering study, so I went for it. And to this day it was the best choice I could have made. After I decided to enroll, opportunities emerged and I took them.
Please walk me through your day, what do you do at Swarmlab?
If I need to do things for the Dutch Nao Team you can usually find me in the Swarmlab. This is the robotics lab at the department. My usual activities revolve around managing the team, so keeping track of what people are doing and handling the inbox. I also keep busy by actually programming, debugging and testing on the robot. Sometimes I need help or I'll help someone else out and then more people get involved. There are also meetings I have with my supervisor where we talk about how everything is going, or we discuss a problem I might be having. The other parts of the day include frequent trips to local coffee shop and hitting the next button on Spotify to find a good track :D
Can you see yourself in ten years doing the same thing you do now?
I don't think so. I will probably still be active in the same field of study (doing cool things with data), but in terms of the roles I will play, that depends on the situation and the fact that I love to change things up every now and then. But who knows, maybe I'll settle on something along the way. A lot of things can happen in 10 years!
What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I received is what my mother always told me: Be an independent woman, provide for yourself and go out there and get what you want. I took it to heart and it's at the core of who I am.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned in the last year?
Don't try to do everything on your own. There's a fine line between being independent and overworked. Try to delegate as much as possible and keep the important tasks for yourself.
And what are your plans for the future?
When I finished my Bachelors degree I wanted to do a Masters and than a PhD, all in the area of Artificial Intelligence. I also want to stay involved with the RoboCup community and participate in more RoboCup competitions.
If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
There's nothing specific in terms of choices or activities that I would have done differently. If I could go back in time and give myself some advice, I'd say "stop being lazy".
Any advice for your local/global Geekettes?
Go for what you want, help others and be yourself.