Women of Quantum Technology: Rachel Lee of the Knowledge Society (TKS) and TechnoGypsie Podcast
Due to its growing influence, the quantum industry draws people from all backgrounds in, making it a rather unique community. One of these individual aspects is how many teens and younger people are becoming involved, hoping to use the possibilities of quantum to improve their society and even the world. One of these young people is Rachel Lee, a teenage podcaster and member of the Knowledge Society (TKS) from Ontario whose passion is to improve the world. While Lee is not strictly interested in just quantum technology, she is fascinated by its power. “The biggest thing that interests me is just the potential that quantum has to solve some of the biggest problems of our time,” Lee stated. From solving world hunger to helping mitigate climate change, Lee is trying to ensure the future is a brighter place and hopes to use deep technology to do so.
To fulfill her passion for bettering the world, Lee is a member of TKS, a high school global acceleration program lasting ten months. Thanks to this program, Lee was exposed to many different types of technology. “This is my second year in the program,” Lee explained. “During TKS, we have these weekly sessions, where we have mentors from different industries who talk about these different technologies. So, one of these sessions was for quantum.” Drawn to its potential, Lee began to do more research, including sending cold messages on LinkedIn and reading many research papers. “I would then write an article or video or something, just some form of content to try and almost test myself to see if I knew what I was talking about,” Lee added. “And over the course of almost a year, I talked to so many different experts like quantum physicists and engineers from companies or research institutes, just to learn from them. I’m also really lucky to have some amazing mentors.”
Lee found that many of her original quantum-focused conversations moved to her popular podcast, TechnoGypsie. As a co-host of the podcast, Lee can dive further into her fascination with quantum and deep technology. “We’ve had a number of different quantum researchers and people in the quantum space on the podcast,” Lee stated. The podcast also helps her explore other technologies that will transform the world. “Right now, I’m researching a lot into improving anaerobic digestion, which is a lot more in the biotech space,” Lee said. “I think my biggest thing is to just learn about all these different industries. So, I’ve dabbled in the solar panel industry, biotech, or gene editing. Right now my goal is to learn about all these different technologies and cool sciences, so then I can gauge where I can focus my time as I’m growing older.” Lee believes that this learning process will help her to achieve her ultimate aim, building a startup. “I want to create a startup that can actually solve some really big problems,” she added.
And in looking at these big world problems, Lee also sees the importance diversity plays in solving these issues. For her, better education is the answer to increasing diversity in quantum and other deep technology industries. “I never learned anything about quantum in school,” Lee explained. “Like it isn’t talked about in school, I only learned about it through TKS. And I think that lack of education prevents so many people from going into this space, because they don’t know about it.” After working toward a wider reach, Lee also recommends more accessible concepts. As she explained: “I went into quantum not knowing anything, and then had to learn about the physics and math and other new lingo. People will go into this thinking ‘I don’t know what is happening this is so confusing. I’m not smart enough.’ I think girls especially get very intimidated by that, and it’s almost like a mental block. We need to make this easier, much easier to learn.”
You can find out more about Lee’s podcast TechnoGypsie at this link.
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, the metaverse, and quantum technology.