Karen Robinson SB '03 '04, MEng '03
- Tangible Product Strategy
Other Affiliations : MBA Harvard
Karen is team leader with experience in new product development and in launching commercial hardware products. Her work centers around the theme that the user experience comes first and techy aspects of the product should be so well-integrated into the product that they disappear.
Karen has been Product Manager for handheld controllers for Google Daydream, led a stealth hardware program in Google ATAP, and worked with Ivan Poupyrev to run Product and Operations on Project Jacquard and Project Soli, technology development for new input technologies. The collaboration Karen set up between Google and Levi’s under Project Jacquard resulted in the “Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google” jacket currently for sale at select Levi’s stores.
In her career before working with Google Karen has done corporate strategy work around advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), commonly seen as precursor technology to self-driving cars. She has worked in technical development of touchscreens (industrial substrate glass at Corning; thin-film deposition systems at Advanced Energy), robotic systems (Bluefin Robotics) and backup power supplies (APC).
Karen’s technical areas of expertise are batteries (lead-acid and lithium-ion) and power systems. She holds degrees in mathematics and EECS from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?
I’ve enjoyed MIT alum events everywhere I’ve lived since graduating – from opportunities to see great technical work, share nerdy interests, or relax into healthy personal balance. This year I want to give back to our community, working with the MITCNC on keeping the MIT community strong and well-connected in the SF bay area.
Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?
Affinity circles – focused, repeated events around specific professional or life pursuits, to build on the successes of the club’s technical talks and social events. Working with my co-lead Arun, our responsibility is to make them happen and see what works for local MIT alums and the club.
What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)
We have events in the work for groups of graduating years, starting with an ’06 – ’96 grad year happy hour. We’re also working on a few professional series – for PMs, Eng Managers, founders, and lawyers – for both networking and mentoring. Get in touch to learn more! firstname.lastname@example.org
Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.
It’s gotta be watching the 4th of July fireworks from the wide-open Charles River – with half a dozen people on a sofa we’d mounted on foam pontoons for floatation, and with paddles to help us navigate around party boats. Couchamaran, sofa of the seas.