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Winter Friends Dinner!

AI Dialogue: Bridging Minds & Machines with Karina Montilla Edmonds & Mario Munich

We hope you will spend your once-every-four-years LEAP day with us for a student-moderated discussion with AI experts Karina Montilla Edmonds (PhD '97) & Mario Munich (PhD '00).

Time & Location

Feb 29, 2024, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

The Athenaeum, 551 S Hill Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106, USA

About The Event

Caltech Y Friends Dinner


About Karina:

Dr. Karina Montilla Edmonds is a globally recognized visionary leader in the field of innovation, technology transfer, and commercialization. She currently serves as the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Academies and University Alliances at SAP, a multinational software corporation with offices worldwide.

Prior to joining SAP, Karina was the Global Lead for Cloud AI at Google where her primary role was to facilitate research collaborations in AI between Google Cloud and top academic researchers. Karina came to Google from California Institute of Technology where she served as executive director for corporate partnerships; and previously served at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory which is operated by Caltech for NASA. She also worked in the Obama administration, where she was appointed the first technology transfer coordinator at the U.S. Department of Energy and served as a member of the White House Speaker Bureau to promote STEM careers to women and girls.

Karina earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in Aeronautics from California Institute of Technology and her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Rhode Island. She has been a life-long advocate for women and historically underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.

Karina is a member of the Board of Directors for Dragonfly Energy and also serves on several non-profit boards including, the Pasadena Educational Foundation, University of Rhode Island, and IU Group, a holding company behind IU - International University of Applied Sciences, Germany’s largest private university group. Karina also serves on the Advisory committee for the Engineering Directorate for the National Science Foundation (NSF). She has received numerous national recognitions and awards and is a registered U.S. Patent Agent.

Karina is a thought leader and inspirational speaker on diversity, inclusion, and women in tech. She resides in Southern California and has three amazing daughters.

About Mario:

Dr. Mario E. Munich is the Chief Technology Officer at Embodied, Inc. where he manages Research & Development and engineering efforts including hardware, software and manufacturing with a focus on human-robot interaction, natural language processing and artificial intelligence.

He was previously Senior Vice President of Research & Development at iRobot Corp. where he managed the research and technology development efforts with special focus on robot navigation, computer vision, and artificial intelligence. He previously worked as the CTO of Evolution Robotics where he developed object recognition, and navigation and mapping algorithms for consumer robotics.

He received the degree of Electronic Engineer (with honors) from the National University of Rosario, Argentina and the M.S. and the Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.  His PhD work focused on developing novel Human-Machine Interfaces using video technology and computer vision techniques. His research interests include computer vision, machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensors for robots, autonomous navigation, and human-robotic interaction.


Please note the change in tickets to a tiered-rate system:

  • If you are a Friend of the Caltech Y (Friends of the Caltech Y have given $200+ in the last year and should have received a specific email alerting you of your Friend status) the price for this event is $100 per person

  • If you are a supporter, but not yet a Friend, tickets are $200 per person*

*Guests also have the option to become a Friend of the Caltech Y for $300, which includes your $200 annual Friends membership and your attendance to this Friends Dinner. The Friends of the Caltech Y is the primary support group of the Caltech Y. Annual minimum donations of $200 and above are recognized at the Friends level and are acknowledged in the annual report. Friends are invited to two to three other private, special events throughout the year, such as this event, and receive the Y’s quarterly newsletters and annual report.

Reception 6:00 pm

Dinner 7:00 pm

Discussion Starts 7:45 pm

Please RSVP by February 22, 2024

Space is limited.



Potato Leek Soup {V}

Cedar Plank Salmon {GF}

served with grilled asparagus, peppadew,

butter glazed baby turnips, & chimichurri


Kale & Mushroom Ravioli {GF, VG}

with arrabbiata sauce, assorted mushrooms, & lemon olive oil

Hazelnut & Pear Lava Cake {V}

with chocolate lava cake, hazelnut praline, Asian pear, & pear sorbet


Sponsorship packages are available to allow Caltech students to attend this event. For sponsorship information, contact Maya Rosental Saporito at

*Friends dinners are unique evenings where the Caltech and Pasadena communities come together to engage with world-renowned scientific,  humanitarian, and civic leaders. You are receiving this event because you are a Friend of the Caltech Y or a Friend is inviting you. Friends dinners are not fundraising events. Our ticket price covers our cost for the evening.


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