Lyn Turbak

Lyn's goal is to push the boundaries of blocks programming languages, making them more expressive and easier to use. For any traditional textual programming language X, it should be possible to make a corresponding blocks programming language XBlocks that helps novices and casual programmers learn to program in X by (1) eliminating or significantly reducing syntactic and static semantics errors and (2) providing automatic conversions between the blocks and text languages.

Current Wellesley Students

Maja Svanberg (class of 2018)

Maja is a Computer Science Major who is working with Lyn and Eni Mustafaraj on analyzing datasets of App Inventor projects. Her work focuses on finding good feature-based metrics for determining the "closeness" of two App Inventor projects. Such metrics are important for filtering out tutorials from projects and clustering the projects in a classroom by similarity.

Maja is a member of the Wellesley Whiptails.

TinkerBlocks alums

Cecellia (Cece) Tsui (class of 2018)

 Cece is a Computer Science major at Wellesley College.

 She implemented a searching feature on the Blocks Editor in App Inventor. 

 Cece is also Wellesley's SOAC's (Student Organization and Appointments Committee) Organizations Coordinator and a Supplemental Instructor for Computer Programming and Problem Solving. She also dances for Wellesley College's Freestyle, a hip-hop dance group. In her spare time, Cece tries learning the ukulele and enjoys recreational softball.

Emery Gerndt Otopalik (class of 2016)

  Emery majored in Computer Science. She continued Johanna Okerlund's work of improving various debugging features in App Inventor.

Emery also played on the Wellesley Whiptails Ultimate Frisbee team and enjoys spending as much time as possible above tree line.

Emery currently works at New Relic in Portland, OR.

Jacqueline Young (class of 2018)
Jacqueline is a Computer Science major at Wellesley College.

She expanded upon work done by Shirley Lu in improving navigation in App Inventor through implementation of a zooming feature for the Blocks Editor.

Jacqueline also volunteers with the Red Cross, plays the ukulele and clarinet, and enjoys recreational squash and acro yoga.

Bhargavi Ramanathan (class of 2016)
Bhargavi was a Mathematics major at Wellesley College.

She worked on extending Quizly, a web-based educational application for App Inventor for Android developed by Professor Ralph Morelli.

Shirley Lu (class of 2015)
Shirley was a Computer Science major and (potential) Math minor. 

For her undergraduate Masters thesis, Shirley extended App Inventor with a feature that allowed organizing blocks into folders.

Shirley is also a Quidditch fan, player, and enthusiast. She played for the Wellesley Quidditch team and part of the International Quidditch Association staff.

Shirley now works at Apple.

Tori Brown (class of 2015)

Tori was a Computer Science major and an Astronomy minor at Wellesley College.

In App Inventor, she worked on a backpack that allows users to copy blocks from one project to another.

Tori also played rugby, both for Wellesley and Beantown's summer sevens team.

Tori now works at Kayak

Karishma Chadha (class of 2014)

Karishma was a Computer Science major and a Math minor.

For her undergraduate honors thesis, Karishma created code blocks, a way of embedding a textual representation of blocks code within App Inventor. This was an outgrowth of her earlier work on
translating Venthon (a Pythonesque textual form for App Inventor programs) into blocks.

In TurtleBlocks & PictureBlocks, she also worked on polymorphism, procedure and function callers, and variable scoping and naming.

Karishma & Erin attended the 2013 Programming Languages Mentoring Workshop in Rome as part of the 40th Principles of Programming Languages (POPL) conference.

Karishma now works as a research scientist at MIT Lincoln Lab in the areas of programming languages and security.

Johanna Okerlund (class of 2014)

Johanna was a Computer Science major and a Math minor at Wellesley College.

She has worked on implementing environment and variable scoping in TurtleBlocks & PictureBlocks. Her current project is working on analyzing how App Inventor programmers use blocks.

Johanna is an avid ultimate frisbee player and plays for the Wellesley Whiptails. 

Erin Davis (class of 2014)

Erin was a Computer Science and Math double major.

She worked on variable scoping, naming, and corner types in Turtle Blocks & PictureBlocks. In App Inventor, she worked on translating App Inventor blocks into Venthon, a Pythonesque textual form for App Inventor programs

Erin & Karishma attended the 2013 Programming Languages Mentoring Workshop in Rome as part of the 40th Principles of Programming Languages (POPL) conference.

Erin also worked as a System Administrator of Wellesley's CS Server. This semester she is tutoring Linear Algebra.

In her free time, she cyberstalks, plays games, and generally hangs around the Wellesley Science Center.

Erin currently works at Facebook.

Emily Erdman (class of 2013)

Emily Erdman was  a Computer Science and Neuroscience double major at Wellesley College.

She has worked on polymorphism and procedure/function callers in TurtleBlocks and PictureBlocks.

In the Summer of 2012, she made it possible to upload pictures from App Inventor apps to photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Picassa using OAuth-based authentication.

Outside of Tinkerblocks, she has researched identity verification on the New York Times online community. She also is a member of the Wellesley Varsity Dive team and tutors for Introductory Computer Science and Introduction to Machine Organization. In her rare free time she enjoys knitting, crocheting, and all forms of crafting.

Olivia Kotsopoulos (class of 2014)

Olivia was a Computer Science and Mathematics major with interests in computer science education, "big data", and the social web.  Outside of her work to extend and improve an existing Java-based sketching tool for integration with PictureBlocks, her body of work includes research on the effect of identity verification on the New York Times online community (Wellesley College) and emotion transfer in massive online social networks (Suffolk University).  She currently tutors Data Structures and enjoys singing in the Wellesley College Choir (as well as the occasional eating contest).

Olivia now works at Kayak

Smaranda Sandu (class of 2014)

Smaranda double majored in Computer Science and Mathematics. Among her interests are Computer Science and Mathematics education and increasing accessibility of science. Aside from her work implementing the basis of PictureBlocks and working on ways to get tangible output from TurtleBlocks, she is also worked on a project in Artificial Intelligence related to representations of planning domains in an implemented reasoning system (Purdue University). She enjoys photography, traveling and singing.

Smaranda is now a graduate student in Mathematics at Cornell University

Dr. Marie Vasek (class of 2012)

Marie graduated from Wellesley College with a Computer Science major and Math minor. She worked on TypeBlocks for her undergraduate honors thesis project.  As a graduate student, she researched the economics of information security with Dr. Tyler Moore, first at Southern Methodist University and then at the University of Tulsa. She earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science in Spring 2017.

In the random off hour, Marie enjoys doing puzzles, reading books on WWII, and eating cheap noodles out of styrofoam containers.