Despite initially majoring in architecture when she was in high school – a unique program allowing students to specialize in specific fields – it didn’t take long for Angelique Taylor to realize that she was more interested in the hands-on electrical engineering classes down the hall.

Now an Assistant Professor at Cornell Tech and in the Information Science Department at Cornell University, Taylor is the one developing those hands-on research experiences as she leads the Roosevelt Island campus’ Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Lab (AIRLab).

Of equal importance to her research, which focuses on building robots that can help people in real-world environments, is her role as faculty advisor for the Black Cornell Tech Student Association (BCTSA), where she helps students navigate and succeed in academia and the tech industry.

As an active mentor to the BCTSA she connects students to other faculty members and administrators, supports them to overcome challenges and even recently participated in their flash mentoring session at the Queens Tech and Career Expo 2.0, hosted by the Office of the Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. Taylor’s involvement at the event included reviewing resumes and advising participants about acquiring internships and entering the job market.

This was the second year in a row the group joined the Queens Tech and Career Expo, which in addition to Taylor, was led by BCTSA President Liam Albright; alumnus Isaiah Murray who now works at the New York City Department of Small Business Services; and Omari Keeles, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Cornell Tech.

The event, which brought together more than 850 attendees from a wide range of age groups, provided an opportunity to see the different life paths that led to a career in tech. Taylor, who graduated from community college before pursuing her four-year degree at the University of Missouri – Columbia and her Ph.D. from UC San Diego, saw herself in some of the attendees, which included representatives from the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Taylor noted that the Queens Tech and Career Expo 2.0 even included high schoolers seeking internships. “If I had industry mentorship experiences like this, I may have been able to pursue tech industry opportunities from an earlier age.”

While she may not have had a high school internship, Taylor personally knows the importance of being exposed to different tech careers early. She unintentionally became involved in research when looking for summer opportunities and finding the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Her research project focused on how to predict network traffic using machine learning in order to identify new and trending popular topics in media.

Following the BCTSA’s second appearance at the event, Taylor is excited to help drive future opportunities for the organization and Cornell Tech to find the next generation of researchers and graduate students.

“A lot of people left The Queens Tech and Career Expo 2.0 feeling inspired,” said Taylor. “These types of events are a great way for Cornell Tech to get out into the community, develop a pool of potential students, and build pipelines to improve the diversity of our communities.