Today we’d like to introduce you to Nashlie Sephus, Ph.D.
Dr. Sephus, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am the first black female CTO of a company acquired by Amazon. I developed the first prototype and served as the lead engineer for the software development team of Atlanta-based tech startup Partpic, an app for finding replacement parts with a photo.
I was raised by my mother and grandmother in Jackson, MS where my passion for STEM began. My 8th grade teacher told me about a summer engineering camp for girls at Mississippi State University, where I promptly fell in love with computer engineering. As a result, I went on to Mississippi State (B.S. in 2007) and graduated from Georgia Tech with my master’s in 2010 and Ph.D. in 2014, all in electrical and computer engineering (ECE). I’ve had several internships and research experiences worldwide with companies such as IBM, Delphi, University of California at Berkeley, GE Research Center, GE Energy, Miller Transporters, and Kwangwoon University in Seoul, South Korea. I am the founder and CEO of The Bean Path 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Jackson, MS assisting individuals with technical expertise and guidance. Recently, my colleagues and I founded KITTLabs, a business created to encourage, expose and promote Black tech engineering and development talent, and further strengthen that community.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I tell people that being a Black woman in the field of technology wasn’t always “cool”. I’ve been in many positions and classes where I was the only American, only Black person or only woman, and sometimes felt lonely as a result of that, which only further contributed to imposter syndrome.
We’d love to hear more about the organization.
I am the Applied Science manager for Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) focusing on fairness and identifying biases in the technologies. I formerly led the Amazon Visual Search team in Atlanta, which launched visual search for replacement parts on the Amazon Shopping app in June 2018.
I am the founder and CEO of The Bean Path. The Bean Path is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Jackson, Mississippi. Our mission is to sow technical expertise in order to grow networks and fertilize communities. We essentially provide technical advice and guidance to individuals and small businesses in the community. Our initiatives include tech hours at the local libraries, engineering and coding programs for youth, and scholarships/grants for students and community organizations.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
KITTLabs is a new initiative created by a group of Black tech developers, engineers and researchers in Atlanta, GA. I am also developing a 12-acre, mixed-use property to become the “Jackson Tech District” in my hometown of Jackson, MS.
- Address: KITTLabs
640 North Ave. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
- Website: https://kittlabs.io https://thebeanpath.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kittlabs https://www.instagram.com/thebeanpath
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebeanpath
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kittlabs https://www.twitter.com/thebeanpath
- Other: https://linktr.ee/kittlabs https://linktr.ee/TheBeanPath
shot of Nashlie: Terrence Wells, Photographer
event shots: The Bean Path staff