Assistant Professor America Chambers talks about how she taught a computer to write poetry—and how we’re a long way from computers taking over the world.

America Chambers, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, studies how computers interpret text and teaches her students how to build algorithms that can comprehend written language. 

Q: How did you first become interested in computer science?
I ended up in computer science entirely by accident. I went to college to study math and education. I took an education class my first semester where my professor read us an excerpt from a book called Computers in the Classroom about a high school computer science class. At the time, I thought that sounded like the kind of hands-on teaching I wanted to do. I always tell my students that I failed my first midterm, but afterward my professor asked me to be a tutor because I understood what it was like to struggle. I think that invitation was why I stuck with it.