Getting into Robotics: Margarita Chli
How did you become a roboticist? Which studies did you follow?
I grew up in Cyprus and my parents, now retired, were both Mathematics school teachers, so from a young age I learned to appreciate the logic in Maths. Then my sister had already been pursuing Computer Science in the UK, so she was a key influence when deciding what to study. As a result, at 17, I joined the University of Cambridge in the UK to study Information and Computing Engineering. A motivating final-year project triggered my interest into further study in Computer Vision and Robotics, so I was lucky enough to be given a chance to pursue a PhD in this area at Imperial College London. This was a very creative and educational time for me, having the chance to work under a very supportive supervisor, Prof. Andrew Davison, whose passion for good and honest research was contagious and motivated me to work harder.
When did you decide to become a roboticist? What motivated you?
Good question, but difficult to answer as there was definitely more than one trigger for my interest in robotics and technology in general. The conscious sources of inspiration that come to mind are certainly my father’s commitment to recreating physics experiments at home to show me that I should always try to find a reasonable explanation to my questions, my mother’s contagious passion for being methodical, the undeniable coolness factor that robotics is associated with in every young student’s mind back then (and still, I believe!), a series of lucky encounters with brilliant roboticists, and of course a lot of luck all along, making my journey towards robotics possible and continuously enjoyable so far.
What advice would you give to a young girl considering robotics-related studies?
The same advice that I would give to young boys considering robotics-related studies: be brilliant, be honest and work hard. Good work is always appreciated and is gender-free.