Anna-Lena Popkes

Machine learning engineer
inovex GmbH

Beworben in der Kategorie: IT-Tech

Mit welchem Digitalprojekt willst du dich in dieser Kategorie bewerben?

I am working as a volunteer in a project called "KI macht Schule" ( where we give free workshops at German schools on the topics of AI and machine learning. We further give courses online (so called "KI Camps", which any child in Germany can attend. With this project we want to fill an important gap in the German school system.
The German school system has been lagging behind the ongoing digitalisation for years. When I went to school we did not have any computer science lessons or other opportunities to get to know the field. That's what "KI macht Schule" is trying to solve. We want to show kids how exciting, important and highly relevant AI is for our daily lives and future.

All our courses have three main blocks. In the first block, we give an introduction to AI, discussing important terms like machine learning, AI, algorithms, etc. We also talk about the history of AI and its applications. In the second block we do interactive coding projects with the kids - no previous knowledge needed (neither about AI nor coding). The third and last block is about one of the most important topics regarding AI - ethics. We want to raise awareness in our participants both about promises and risks of AI, helping them to understand and discuss what and how we want AI in our society.

Last but not least, we are offering courses specifically for girls (https://mä which offers them a secure place to experience AI and talk about their fears, insecurities and hopes for the future.

"KI macht Schule" is growing every week and we are hoping to reach many more children and schools in Germany in the coming years. We are continuously improving our courses and concepts and have already reached thousands of kids. I'm immensely proud to be part of this project.

Welche Bedeutung hat die Digitalisierung für Deine Karriere?

Professionally: I work as a machine learning engineer in a company that executes short and long-term projects with customers from various business fields. Therefore, I'm confronted with the topic of digitalisation almost every day. Especially when changing projects I'm often part of helping the customer decide what they want to achieve and how they can achieve it. With COVID challenging the work set-up of many companies I have further been working on helping customers become more flexible, including setting up agile teams and a good work structure for working remotely. In other words: digitalisation is the basis of my professional life.

Personally: Digitalisation enabled me to switch from the field of neuroscience to computer science without having a corresponding Bachelor's degree. The multitude of online resources for learning about the field of machine learning and AI opened up a whole new universe for me. I'm extremely grateful for the changes digitalisation brought and is still bringing. Otherwise I would never have ended up in this field which I love.

Warum bist Du ein Digital Female Leader?

I'm spending a significant portion of my free time on mentoring and guiding German school children on their path to machine learning and AI. I want to give back what I did not have as a young girl - an opportunity to experience how amazing the field of computer science is and how different it can be from the clichées that many of us have. I'm especially interested in addressing girls and women who are often too shy and/or insecure to believe in themselves and enter this field. Another topic I'm deeply passionate about is learning and science communication. I'm sharing what I learn with the community, the kids I work with, my colleagues at work and the rest of the world through podcasts, blog posts, talks at conferences or exciting coding projects.

Was Führung für mich bedeutet

To me, leadership is a way to empower others (especially women and girls) by acting as an active role model in a compassionate, honest and authentic way.