2011 Award Winners
The award winners will be honored for their accomplishments and contributions to women in technology at an Awards Ceremony on November 11, 2011, and will talk about their work on Thursday, November 10th and Friday, November 11th during the 11th Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) in Portland, Oregon. For more details, see the conference program schedule.
- Anita Borg Social Impact Award
- Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award
- A. Richard Newton Educator Award
- Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award
- Anita Borg Change Agent Awards
2011 Anita Borg Social Impact Award – Sponsored By Microsoft
The sixth Anita Borg Social Impact Award, an international prize, honors an individual or team who has caused technology to have a positive impact on the lives of women and society or who has caused women to have a significant impact on the design and use of technology. The recipient will receive a $10,000 award.
Anne Ikiara, is a versatile development professional with an excellent track record in working with the poor and marginalized women in ICT. Working as CEO of NairoBits, an organization dealing with youth and women empowerment through ICT, Anne has enabled more than 6,000 women and girls from urban poor settlements across the African region to gain ICT skills that have improved their lives economically, socially-culturally and politically. Most notable is the entry of women and girls from disadvantaged communities to the formal ICT economy. NairoBitsâ€™ concept has grown in Kenya where eight training centers with a capacity of 120 training computers have been opened. Through the training and exposure of these girls and women to ICT, lives of other women in their localities have significantly improved and positive ripple effects are being felt in these localities. In recognition of this she won the 2009 Anita Borg Change Agent Award. To further spread this successful concept, NairoBits is replicating the concept across te African region giving African women significant stake in the ICT arena. Examples of organizations that have been started as a result of this are Zanzibits, Addisbits, Kampabits and Kilimanjaro Film Institute, a similar organization has been started in Musoma in Tanzania with positive results.
Besides the field of ICT, Anne has made a remarkable contribution in research specific to women. In recognition, Anne has won several international research grant awards competitions, including the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) fellowships and Organization for Social Science in Eastern and Southern Africa(OSSREA) in Gender Issues Research grant competition in 2007. Anneâ€™s contribution in poverty alleviation in youth and women in ICT has been recognized by key organizations both in Kenya and abroad. Under her leadership, NairoBits has won several prestigious national and international awards. Anne holds a Diploma in HRM, BA in Social Work and MA in Gender and Development Studies from University of Nairobi.
2011 Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award – Sponsored by Bloomberg
The Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award recognizes and celebrates an outstanding woman technical leader. Recipients are women who have inspired the womenâ€™s technology community through outstanding technological and social contributions and through leadership have increased the impact of women on technology.
MARY LOU SOFFA
Mary Lou Soffa is the Owen R. Cheatham Professor and Department Chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia. From 1977 to 2004, she was a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh and also served as the Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences from 1991 to 1996. Her research interests include optimizing compilers, virtual execution environments, software testing, program analysis, software security, instruction level parallelism and multi-core architectures. Her papers have received a number of best paper awards as well as designation of one of the 40 most influential papers in 20 years to appear in the Programming Language Design and Implementation Conference, the premier conference in her area.
Soffa was elected an ACM Fellow in 1999 and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in the same year. She was selected as a Girl Scout Woman of Distinction in 2003 and received the Computing Research Association (CRA) Nico Habermann Award in 2006 for outstanding contributions toward increasing the numbers and successes of underrepresented members in the computing research community. She served for ten years on the Board of CRA and continues as a member of CRA-W, the committee on the status of women in computer science and engineering of the CRA. She has served on the Executive Committees of both ACM SIGSOFT and SIGPLAN, as well as conference chair, program chair or program committee member of numerous conferences. She has been a distinguished speaker and keynote speaker at a number of conferences, research labs and universities. She had directed 26 Ph.D. students to completion, half of whom are women, and over 60 M.S. students. She currently serves on the ACM Publication Board and was elected in 2008 to serve on the ACM Executive Committee.
2011 A. Richard Newton Educator Award – Sponsored by Alan Eustace
The inaugural A. Richard Newton Educator Award recognizes teaching practices, techniques or innovative and new education approaches that attract girls and women to math, computing, and engineering. The award recognizes the educators and the practices of K12 or undergraduate education. The award carries a $5,000 prize.
Lisa Pruitt received her bachelorâ€™s degree in Chemical Engineering and Materials Engineering from the University of Rhode Island in 1998. In 1993, Dr. Pruitt received her Ph.D. in engineering from Brown University in 1993. She then joined the faculty of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. She is renowned for her work in orthopedic biomaterials, medical devices, and mechanical assessment of structural tissues. She recently co-authored a textbook entitled â€śMechanics of Biomaterials: Fundamental Principles for Implant Design.â€ť Dr. Pruitt is an advocate of engineering education and outreach through research experiences. Her research in biomaterials has served as the foundation for outreach education, service learning and mentoring activities.
In 2006 Professor Pruitt organized the first National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) on the Berkeley campus and remains the campus liaison for this nationally recognized program targeted at high school students interested in engineering. Professor Pruitt is the faculty advisor for the Engineering for Kids day at UC Berkeley, which brings in nearly 300 children to the campus for an annual daylong event of engineering activities with Berkeley undergraduates enrolled in the College of Engineering. For more than a decade she has worked closely with the Lawrence Hall of Science to develop interactive exhibits including The Human Body Shop, BodyBuilders, and Body by Design within the framework of her engineering courses that are targeted to the K-12 sector. She has received numerous awards for her mentoring and engineering education activities including the UC Berkeley Presidential Chairs Teaching Fellowship (2010), Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of Graduate Student Instructors (2009), Lawrence Talbot Chaired Professorship in Engineering (2007), U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (2004), American Association for the Advancement of Science Mentoring Award, and Engineering Excellence and Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, awarded by the University of Rhode Island (1999).
2011 Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award – Sponsored by Microsoft
Professor Denice Denton (1959 â€“ 2006) was a pioneer in many respects: a woman engineering faculty who became the first female dean of a school of engineering in a major US institution; she worked throughout her life to make engineering attractive to women and minorities; strongly promoted diversity in higher education; and helped many people break barriers and find their path in life. To honor her life and career and promote those who choose to follow similar paths, the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology has established the Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award. The award is presented to a junior non-tenured faculty member under the age of 40 at an academic or research institution who is pursuing high-quality research in any field of engineering or physical sciences while contributing significantly to promote diversity in his/her environment.
Tiffani Williams is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University. She earned her B.S. in computer science from Marquette University and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Central Florida. Afterward, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico.
Tiffani’s research interests are in the areas of bioinformatics and high-performance computing — especially as it relates to reconstructing evolutionary trees (or phylogenies) of organisms. Her work makes sophisticated use of algorithms and data structures, employs high-performance tools, and is grounded in the empirical analysis of real-world datasets. Tiffani has served on several conference program committees and is currently the Associate Editor for Systematic Biology. Her research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation.
In addition to her research and teaching, Tiffani is committed to the advancement of women and members of underrepresented groups in computing. Examples include serving as technical program co-chair for the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference, serving on the program committee for the Grace Hopper Celebration, and speaking at various career mentoring events. Currently, she is a Co-Chair for CRA-W’s Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. Tiffani’s honors include a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, and a McKnight Doctoral Fellowship.
2011 Change Agent Awards – Sponsored by Google, Inc.
The Change Agent Awards honor technical women that live and work outside the United States. They are change agents in their community â€“ working to attract and support women in technology in their region. Recipients are recognized for their technical leadership and advocacy work.
MARITA CHENG, AUSTRALIA
Marita was born in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. She graduated from high school in 2006 in the top 0.2% of the nation, and that year was awarded Cairns Young Citizen of the Year for her volunteering and extra-curricula efforts, which included winning awards for mathematics, Japanese and piano.
Marita is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) / Bachelor of Computer Science at the University of Melbourne, thanks to the generosity of the Paterson Scholarship. She has also studied Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London on a year of exchange. She is passionate about robotics, entrepreneurship, and women in engineering, and has been involved in many student groups and other activities in these areas.
In July 2008, Marita founded Robogals, a student-run organisation that aims to increase female participation in engineering, science and technology through fun and educational activities aimed at girls in primary and secondary school. Robogals’ primary activity is having university student volunteers visit schools to conduct fun, educational robotics workshops. It also runs other events and activities around this central theme. From it’s humble beginnings at the University of Melbourne, Robogals has now grown (as of September 2011) to have 17 chapters across Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Ireland and the Netherlands. Special projects that Robogals has initiated this year include the Robogals Rural and Regional programme, which brings their cause to rural and regional areas in Australia, and the Robogals National Science Challenge, where girls from around Australia do a science experiment and then upload a 4-minute video online for judging and prizes. She has also been a panelist on the New Inventors on ABC TV (episode aired 16 March 2011).
For her efforts with Robogals, Marita is a 2011 Nancy Fairfax Churchill Fellowship recipient, which gives her the funds to travel to 5 countries for 9 weeks to study strategies used to most effectively engage schoolgirls in science, engineering and technology. Marita will undertake her research from December 2011 – February 2011 and will travel to USA, Jamaica, India, Germany and UK.
Marita will commence the final year of her degree in 2012, while focusing her extra-curricula efforts on further developing Robogals, building robots and learning Mandarin. Marita also speaks Cantonese and Japanese.
JUDITH OWIGAR, KENYA
Judith Owigar is the president of Akirachix; a revolution for African women and technology. She is a coder, a blogger and a tech enthusiast. She is a native of Kenya, a country off the coast of East Africa, one of its 40 million inhabitants.
Judith Owigar went to University of Nairobi where she graduated with a diploma and a degree in Computer science. During her stay at the university Judith co-founded a chapter of Kenya Model United Nations a club that promotes international diplomacy among the youth.
Judith has worked in various capacities in the field of technology. She started off as a tech support specialist in a Kenyan company called Turnkey Africa. Turnkey Africa is a start up that provides solutions to insurance companies and banks in Africa. She later moved to the position of developer at a start up called Ibid Labs. There she honed her developer skills. She later moved to Japan Center for Conflict Prevention (JCCP); an organization the deals with peace building in Macedonia, Afghanistan and East Africa. While attending the launch of the iHub, a space for hackers, designers and bloggers in Nairobi, she met up with other likeminded ladies who noticed the few ladies in attendance. They decided to increase the ratio of women to men in tech and thus formed Akirachix.
Judith together with Akirachix was awarded the unsung heroes award by the US embassy in Kenya. This was in recognition of the work that Akirachix has done to promote women and give them a voice using science and technology. Together with a team of 2 other members, Judith was recognized as one of the top 50 SMEs in the Infodev Global forum. Infodev is a donor funded agency of the World Bank. In 2009 Judith was named as one of the Top 40 under 40 by the Business Daily newspaper in Kenya. This is a listing of women who are changing the landscape of business and technology. In 2007 while she was named the Best Female Engineer at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers studentsâ€™ exhibition.