The Debugged Podcast is Back! Episode 1 of Season 3 with Dr. Natalie Lao is Out Now!

Welcome back to the third season of Debugged, the official Congressional App Challenge alumni-led podcast! We’re more excited than ever to be with you for a new season of the show that connects the country’s youth with technology by debugging the intricate world of computer science.

By highlighting trends in the industry, breaking down complicated ideas, and hearing from high profile guests, Debugged allows its listeners to delve into technology through an analytical yet relatable lens. Debugged is a unique podcast experience that seeks to redefine STEM education, shine a light on diverse voices, and further the narrative around a myriad of computer science topics.

To kick off the season, host Medha Gupta chats with Dr. Natalie Lao, Executive Director of the App Inventor Foundation. Sharing her experience as an undergraduate at MIT, Dr. Lao discussed how her passion for education led her to computer science and AI. She recognized the mentors who guided her along the way, and touched on what it’s like to build transformative mentor-mentee relationships of your own.

Dr. Lao goes on to share the story of how she first discovered the MIT App Inventor project as a means of showing students their potential to become active creators of technology, and how she continued to get more and more involved from that point on. Reflecting on everything her roles since have taught her, she notes the work she is most proud of, and her key takeaways in teaching computer science.

Finally, serving as an Expert on Mission for UNESCO today, she touches on the importance of computational thinking taking part in curricula all around the world, and her team’s work towards developing an AI competency framework for all students of UN member states. She closes the interview by sharing the one piece of advice she would have wished to had as an 18 year old college freshman.

Dr. Natalie Lao received her B.S., M.Eng., and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. She was a co-creator and instructor for MIT’s Deep Learning Practicum course, and led the trajectory team for the MIT Inclusive AI Literacy and Learning project. Tune in to Episode 1 of Debugged Season 3 wherever you get your podcasts to hear Dr. Lao’s inspiring story, and how she carries out her mission “to empower anyone, anywhere, of any age to create meaningful technologies that can transform their lives and the lives of people around them” in her everyday work.

Debugged is a free to stream podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and New episodes release every Monday at midnight ET. To stay up-to-date with the podcast and learn more about the team of alumni behind every episode, follow @cacdebugged on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter)!