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UCLA Engineering Doctoral Student Aims to Bring Accessible Speech Technology to All

The way people talk is influenced by where they grew up, the school they attended, their cultural background and the language spoken at home among other things. But does today’s speech technology recognize such nuanced differences and their implications? That’s the question Alexander Johnson, M.S. ’19 is trying to address.

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Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists President Kelly Espino on Her UCLA Journey

Long before she became a Bruin engineer, Kelly Espino said she knew what she had to do to help fulfill the dreams of her immigrant parents who put their own career aspirations aside to support the family.

The now fourth-year civil engineering student at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering is a first-generation Mexican American and the oldest of three children in her family. Her parents immigrated to California from León, Mexico. Both her homemaker mother, who had wanted to become a computer scientist, and her truck-driving father, who had aspired to be an architect, gave up their career goals when they moved to the United States. Her parents’ sacrifices and high hopes for their children instilled in Espino an early determination for success.

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