Forbes 30 Under 30 features alumni, students

Naia Butler-Craig, pictured above, is an aerospace engineering Ph.D. student who was featured, along with seven other Tech community members, in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. // Photo courtesy of news.gatech.edu

This year, eight people associated with the Institute were featured in Forbes Magazine’s annual 30 Under 30 List. The compilation highlights 600 young entrepreneurs, activists, scientists and entertainers. According to Forbes, collectively the “trailblazers have raised over $1 billion in venture funding and are proof positive that ambition and innovation can’t be quarantined.”

Among the featured innovators is Diyi Yang, 29, an assistant professor in the School of Interactive Computing.

She is also affiliated with the Machine Learning Center and is recognized by Forbes for her work combining linguistics, social sciences and machine learning. Through this interaction, she has found ways to use computers to better social problems, such as online harassment.

She leads Tech’s Social and Language Technologies lab, where her team researches human language to improve communication between humans and machines. Yang got her Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon and her bachelor’s degree at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

According to her interview with Forbes, one app she cannot live without is Wechat and her dream mentor is former first-lady Michelle Obama.

Second among the Institute’s community to be featured is Naia Butler-Craig, a 23 year-old aerospace engineering Ph.D. candidate. She is also a NASA Space Technology Graduate Research fellow in the High-Power Propulsion Lab and a speaker for diversity in STEM.

In addition, Butler-Craig advises underserved students on resources they might need to pursue aerospace through her personal website, where she hosts an open forum.

“There is a general lack of informational resources available to under-represented students,” said Butler-Craig about the hardships of exclusive academia in an interview with AE.

This semester, she is working on a stand-alone cathode test in the lab. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if I thought failure defined me. I think of failures as stepping stones to success,” said Butler-Craig when asked about the possibility of failure and how she gets around this fear.

She can not live without Outlook (a resource Tech students know perhaps too well) and would love to be mentored by Dr. Mae Jemison, who was the first Black woman to travel to space.

Third on the Forbes list is Renji Bijoy, the 29 year-old Tech College of Computing (CoC) alumni and founder of Immersed, a company that engineers VR workspaces for remote teams.

His recent addition to the Forbes list under the Consumer Technology category has given renewed confidence to his company’s investors, as proven by their recently earned 3.5 million dollars in venture capital funding.

“At Georgia Tech, I was surrounded by brilliant engineers that really loved their craft,” said Bijoy to CoC about his inspiration for the company.

He credits Tech’s talented community for his drive to take Immersed to new heights.

Bijoy shared that Immersed wants to fundamentally change the way society goes to work, which the company will likely be able to do as remote workforces become more commonplace.

Currently living in Austin, Bijoy shared that he can’t live without Google Calendar and that his dream mentor is Elon Musk.

Anhong Guo, a 28-year old assistant professor at the University of Michigan and alumnus of the Human-Computer Interaction program at Georgia Tech, is also featured on the list.

“So much about my current research career is informed by my experience working with a variety of people while I was at Georgia Tech,” Guo said to CoC. “The next thing I’d like to accomplish is to continue to make the world more accessible.”

At the Human-AI lab at the University of Michigan, Guo is trying to innovate low-cost ways to improve accessibility of visual information.

Two such innovations are touch screen overlays for the visually impaired and an AI-based camera that interprets the surrounding environment.

Guo can’t live without the browser and would, like Bijoy, enjoy being mentored by Elon Musk.

Another bragging point is Jarvis Johnson, CS ‘14 and Youtuber who is listed under the Forbes Social Media category.

According to Forbes, Johnson worked as a software engineer at Yelp and Patreon before becoming a professional YouTuber.

Johnson first found YouTube at 14 and now has 1.4 million subscribers who watch his vlogs about entertainment, consumer technology and the internet.

He has covered everything from misinformation to Disney movies. He also hosts a podcast on mental health among youth called “Sad Boyz.”

He can’t go without the Notes app on the iPhone and would like Donald Glover to one day be his mentor.

To read the full Forbes 30 Under 30 List and learn more about the additional three Tech alumni featured (Max Jordan Nguemeni Tiako, Leonard Robinson and Emily Parrish), visit forbes.com.