UW News

October 12, 2012

Maria Klawe, national leader promoting women in science and technology, speaks Tuesday at UW

UW News

For those interested in boosting female participation in science and technology, next week is an opportunity to hear from one of the leading voices in this area, who also is working closely with the UW on two efforts to increase female representation at the undergraduate and faculty levels.

Maria Klawe

Maria Klawe

Maria Klawe, professor of computer science and president of Harvey Mudd College, will speak Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 3:30 p.m. in the atrium of the UW’s Paul Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering. Her talk, “The Harvey Mudd Story: From 10 percent to 40 percent female in computer science in three years,” will explore how her institution began an effort in 2006 that quadrupled its female representation in computer science majors to 40 percent – the same percentage as the Harvey Mudd student body.

“She’s a triple-threat: a leader of the national academic community, a leader in computer science, and a leader in broadening participation in our field,” said lecture host Ed Lazowska, a UW professor of computer science and engineering.

Klawe will speak as part of the department’s Distinguished Lecturer Series, which later this fall hosts Brad Smith, the leading legal counsel at Microsoft Corp., and Susan Athey, a machine-learning and economics researcher at Stanford University.

This weekend Klawe also will speak at the third On-Ramps into Academia workshop, a national program based at the UW that helps women who hold doctorates in science or technology and work in the industry make the transition to faculty positions.

UW Advance is very excited to welcome Maria Klawe as the lead speaker at our On-Ramps into Academia workshop,” said Eve Riskin, associate dean of engineering and director of the UW’s Advance Center for Institutional Change, which launched the program. (Read a previous UW Today story about On-Ramps.)

“Maria started her career at IBM and successfully transitioned to an academic career from there, so she is a great role model,” Riskin said. “More importantly, she is one of the most active and passionate people working for gender equality in science, technology, engineering and math fields.”

Riskin is the UW’s contact for Women in Technology Sharing Online, an online mentoring program that Klawe launched this fall. The UW was among the first institutions to join the six-week mentoring program that began Oct. 1.

Women in Technology Sharing Online, or WitsOn, aims to connect female undergraduates with faculty and industry mentors to discuss careers, personal life and other topics. Faculty mentors from the UW include Veronica Di Stilio, associate professor of biology; Martha Groom, professor of ecology and environmental studies; Christine Luscombe, associate professor of materials science and engineering; and Caroline Stromberg, assistant professor of biology. Students and faculty can still register for the program online.

“It’s a thriving online community where young women in science, technology, engineering and math can ask questions in a safe environment and receive advice from many different mentors,” Riskin said. “UW is proud to provide both mentors and students to this community.”