Educators & Parents
Share |
Claudia on construction site, wearing a hardhat and measuring wood.
Claudia Gold
Hometown: New York, NY
Workplace: Difra, Inc., Cambridge, MA
Education: BS, Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Hobbies: Politics and activism, traveling, puzzles of all kinds, music, photography.
Fun Fact: "I once played piano upside down on a kid's TV show."

I develop software that can design easy-to-build shelters for victims of disasters.

—Claudia Gold

Giant 3-D puzzle pieces
Claudia develops computer programs that make it possible to build houses of any shape faster, easier, and cheaper. The program figures out the dimensions of the wooden pieces needed to build the structure and sends off instructions to a laser cutter. "When you get the wooden pieces back, you just snap them together like a giant 3-D puzzle—no nails or screws required!"

What's her passion?
Providing homes for people affected by disaster or poverty. Her software can quickly build houses in disaster zones that have been ravaged by hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods. "It can also be used to build public housing for low-income people, making it less expensive to give everyone a home."

Have computer, will travel
Claudia's first job after college was developing a website that allowed her to work from anywhere. "So, I did! I spent a year traveling around the world, working from my computer during the day and spending my evenings and weekends exploring more than 20 countries in Europe and Asia. If I didn't work with computers, I never could have done that."

The revolution will be digitized
Claudia is passionate about political activism and has been a dedicated volunteer for political campaigns in Massachusetts. But her programming skills meant she didn't simply stuff envelopes and pass out flyers—she created software that gathered and displayed data that helped mobilize voters.

What's great about computing
"I always found computers fascinating, but I was sort of scared of them. At MIT, most students end up learning to program at least a little, because it's so useful. Even though I was a political science major, I took some computer classes that taught me the basics. I never expected to work in house construction, but when you can program, so many opportunities open up. It's used in almost every field."

Watch Claudia on YouTube!