Irena Fischer-Hwang completed her bachelor’s (2011) and master’s degrees (2012) in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received her doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 2019 for her dissertation work on bioinformatics and image compression. She was a producer for the science podcast Goggles Optional from 2016 through 2018. Her curiosity about science communication led her to data journalism at Stanford, and in 2018 she was awarded a Brown Institute for Media Innovation Magic Grant for her data journalism work as part of the Big Local Project team. She is excited to continue integrating her rigorous training in engineering with reporting through data journalism, and hopes to explore a variety of topics including algorithmic bias and accountability, tech privacy and gender equality. Previously, she was an Asian American Journalism Association’s 2018 Voices student program fellow and a 2019 Chips Quinn Scholar. She also serves as a peer editor and writer for NPR Scicommers, and her work has been published by NPR-member radio station KQED and Smithsonian.com.
BAY AREA — PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff events left nearly one million customers across Northern California without power, and knocked out nearly 60% of cell towers in certain counties. It also highlighted critical gaps in communication infrastructure that local government agencies are now scrambling to address.
This is a transcript of a podcast about The Tech Disability Project’s first in-person gathering held on Oct. 7. IRENA FISCHER-HWANG, HOST: On a…
SILICON VALLEY — Demographic data on employees who self-identify as having a disability is often some of the last to be added to diversity reports for tech companies. And some major tech firms still lack resource groups focused on disability. The Tech Disability Project is a place where tech workers with disabilities can meet, share their experiences, and discuss their hopes for disability advocacy in the tech industry.
PARADISE — The Camp Fire is just the latest mega-fire in California — and the cost of fighting such fires has risen dramatically. California dwarfs other states in fire-suppression costs, an analysis by a Stanford journalism class has found. The Stanford class analyzed daily reports from the most expensive fires in every state from 2014 to 2017, and found that dense development at the border of wildlands — in communities like Paradise, Cobb, and Santa Rosa — helps explain California fires’ exceptional damage and expense to put out.