|Alma mater||University of Quebec in Montreal|
Mahault Albarracin is a researcher from Canada, focusing specifically on the application of active inference to social sciences. She is affiliated with Université du Québec à Montréal and the Institute for feminist research. Her research has touched on topics of gender and discourse, drawing heavily on Judith Butler in order to conceptualize performativity in a theatrical sense. From these layers of performativity, she was able to connect the notion of pre-conscious action as a policy selection which is found in the Active inference frameworks. She is involved in activism for LGBTQAP2S + communities and alternative lifestyles, informed by her academic work.
Albarracin started her education in France, but travelled across the world to follow her parents. Staying initially in the French school system, she eventually continued in the Canadian school system from the age of 16 where she focused on studying social sciences.
She then continued on to a Bachelor's in sexology at the University of Quebec in Montreal. She devoted herself to research with the DESAJ laboratory in 2014. Eventually, she took part in the organisation of the RISQUE study.
Following the Bachelor's, she studied under Julie Lavigne, a professor in the department of sexology, focused on the intersection of art history and feminist sexuality. Her Master's thesis thus studied the discursive intersection of gender fluidity with sexual fluidity, heavily influenced by Lisa M. Diamond work on female sexual fluidity.
After her Master's, Albarracin contacted Dr. Pierre Poirier to propose a Doctorate project, far outside her Master’s experience. As soon as he acquiesced, she organised his various students and started the Enactive Philosophy laboratory. Along with the other students of the laboratory, she organised the Philopolis presentation for the laboratory. In the context of this lab, they proposed a variety conference talks on the intersection of enactive philosophy and scripts theory, all of which were accepted, but postponed due to the Coronavirus disease 2019. Through this laboratory, she met Dr. Maxwell Ramstead and the relationship opened up a variety of opportunities for partnerships in the field of neurosciences . She was thus able to take part in the development of the Nested Minds Network, an international academic collaboration in the sociocognitive fields. She is also a writer for the Medium Science and Philosophy, routinely writing on issues of epistemology.
Business and technology
Albarracin taught herself to code, and gained the confidence to start her own tech company, by partnering with a clinical sexologist. Together, they co-founded Sexualis, a Sexology Health tech company providing services online from bachelor’s sexologist, and developing self-help programs by fostering partnerships with actors in the sexual health ecology. Their aim was both to improve accessibility across Quebec to sexual health services, and revalue bachelor-level sexologists, as they are often underestimated in the healthcare system. Initially, she was the only web developer and scientific expert, putting to use her unique intersection of knowledge in tech and sexology. As the CTO, she eventually took charge of the team of web developers, and sexologists to create programs adapted to online pedagogy. As the project progressed, she took on the CEO role, and oversaw their crowdfunding, from partnerships with corporate backers to writing an ebook as a reward for the individual backers. Finally, they opened a free clinic for sexual assault victims, and low income populations partnering with Université du Québec à Montréal to leverage the availability of interns in sexology and further their educational goals. She has had multiple media appearances for her expertise in sexology, especially as it pertained to the COVID19 impact on relationships and sexuality .
Philanthropy and activism
During her undergraduate internship with Dystrophie Musculaire Canada, she noted an unmet need in communities of people living with a disability regarding sexual education and socialisation. She organized a community for this group and coordinated communication on social media. The community has now been active for over 6 years and is autonomous, driving information-sharing on an international level.
She also trained as a yoga teacher and volunteered with women’s organisations, such as the Collectif des femmes immigrantes, offering them yoga and relaxation classes, as well as mental health support counseling. Over the course of this experience, she became more interested in the intersectional experience of women immigrating to Quebec, often in disadvantaged situations, facing systemic and social racism. Their resilience was a driving factor in her decision to pursue feminist studies.
At the end of her Master’s, she got involved in the Montreal’s Rationalist community, and developed ties with the informal academic and industrial, philosophy and artificial intelligence community. The Rationalist International|Rationalist community is an international movement to remove bias from cognition, and improve social involvement for progress towards efficiency. Exploring these circles as a woman was a difficult experience, and thus founded the MacroGrrrls blog, meant to convey the voices of women from different backgrounds in the STEM community of Montreal. As the Editor, she aimed promote their unique perspective on an often toxic environment.
From this platform, she got involved with the Manifesto for Women in Tech, a Montreal initiative to increase the presence of women in academic and technical panels and conferences. Eventually, she was elected as Vice-President in 2019. They took part in conferences to promote women in the tech world, and rallied women in Montreal, creating a mentorship and support community.
During the first year of development of Sexualis, she decided to take part in a commune environment and first went to Thailand. In Thailand, she took part in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and helped organize the Chiang Mai Nomad girls coworking and networking events, and volunteered for the Freebird Cafe, a charity initiative meant to fund the Thai Freedom House, a school for refugee Burmese children. A few months later, she joined the Escher Cooperative House in Michigan, a student led commune meant to foster positive values and support between students. She took on the role of house manager, overseeing the daily tasks and functioning of the house members.
In March of 2020, she took part in the Quebec-France feminist delegation, as an expert representing the Manifesto for women in tech in front of French politicians from the Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire (Emmanuelle Wargon), Ministère de l’économie et des finances (Aigline de Ginestous). They also met with French national assembly deputies (Danièle Hérin, Élisabeth Toutut-Picard), Senators on the European council for the Délégation aux droits des femmes (:fr:Annick_Billon, Catherine Dumas, Sylvie Guillaume, Margarida Marques ) and the French State Secretary (Christelle Dubos) as well as the French President’s technical inclusion counsel (Constance Bensussan). They subsequently met with the Ambassador of Sweden (:sv:Veronika_Wand-Danielsson|Veronika Wand-Danielsson) and discussed the specific successes in Sweden’s gender equality measures. In the context of this delegation, they organised a colloquium attended by deputies from the French national assembly to speak about the state of feminism and equality in Quebec. She presented the state of the Health technology and artificial intelligence field for women and its challenges with intersectionality representation and retention.
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