Nicole Torcolini has faced more obstacles than most: she lost most of her sight at age four due to cancer in the optic chiasm, and the cancer treatment she received caused her to become slightly hard-of-hearing in both ears.
While a student at Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale, Washington, Nicole attended a University of Washington summer workshop hosted by CSE professor Richard Ladner’s Alliance for Access to Computing Careers (AccessComputing). This experience inspired Nicole to invent the Nemetex Nemeth Back-Translator, a computer-based assistive technology device that translates visually incomprehensible braille math (Nemeth), produced on an electronic braille notetaker, into easily-readable print. Nicole became a high school entrepreneur, launching a small business to market the device to other blind students like her. This was just the beginning of Nicole’s journey to help build tools for vetting and enabling accessibility in technology.
Nicole was recognized with a 2007 NCWIT Seattle-area Award for Aspirations in Computing. She attended Stanford University and graduated in 2012, earning a B.S. in Computer Science with a focus in Human-Computer Interaction. She is now an engineer with Google.
Nicole is profiled in the current issue of NCWIT’s Award for Aspirations in Computing Newsletter, here.
Congratulations to Nicole for all that she has achieved, and to Richard for his long-standing national leadership in making computing and computer science accessible to students like Nicole!