Language and AI: Industry

February 28, 2024

Featured Speaker: Brock Imel (

Brock Imel, Ph.D, Director, Customer Language Engineering at Writer (He/him)

Since finishing his doctorate in Romance Languages and Literatures (Linguistics) and Medieval Studies at UCB in 2019, Brock has been with Writer, a leading generative AI company. At Writer, Brock leads the Customer Language Engineering team, which handles customers’ trickiest use cases for generative AI with a mix of prompt engineering and software engineering.

Conversation Leader: Margaret Kolb (

Margaret Kolb, PhD; College of Engineering (she/her)

Margaret Kolb teaches writing in the College of Engineering. Drawing on her PhD in English Literature from UC Berkeley and BA in abstract mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, she supports students as they translate tough ideas into familiar frameworks. She has also served as a Lecturer in English at UC Berkeley, an instructor at San Quentin Prison, and founded two short story groups, one in Abu Dhabi and the other in San Francisco. Before completing her PhD, she worked as a quantitative analyst in economic research at Bank of America. Find her writing on the intersections of literary and mathematical history in Victorian StudiesConfigurations, and The Palgrave Handbook of Literature and Mathematics; her book reviews appear in MAKE Magazine. 

Panelists: Cristina Farronato (, Kayla van Kooten (, Kayo Yin (

Cristina Farronato, PhD; Department of Italian Studies (She/her)

Cristina Farronato is a Lecturer and Language Program Coordinator in the Department of Italian Studies. Her research interests are in linguistics, second language pedagogy, film, semiotics, and translation. She is currently a fellow in the BLC Lecturer Fellowship program, where she is working on how to implement translation, including machine translation, in the language classroom.

Kayla van Kooten, PhD Student, Department of German (She/her)

Kayla van Kooten is a PhD student in the Department of German, with Designated Emphases in New Media and Dutch Studies. Her current research revolves around questions of multilingualism, translation, migration, digital culture and media. She holds a BA from the University of Washington in Middle Eastern Languages and Civilizations. 

Kayo Yin, PhD student, Computer Science (She/her)

Kayo Yin is a PhD student at UC Berkeley advised by Jacob Steinhardt and Dan Klein. She currently works on interpretability and sign language processing. Before that, she was a Master's student at Carnegie Mellon University advised by Graham Neubig, and she completed her undergraduate studies at École Polytechnique in 2020.