WICSE Success Stories

Many WICSE alumnae have gone on to great success in both academia and private industry. Here we will profile a few of these outstanding women to illustrate some of the many paths available to UC Berkeley EECS graduates.

Dr. Shafi Goldwasser

Shafi Goldwasser and Silvio Micali received the 2012 ACM Turing Award for Advances in Cryptography. Dr. Goldwasser is currently the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Principal Investigator at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), as well as a professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. She has won numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award and the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award for outstanding young computer professional. She has twice won the Gödel Prize presented jointly by the ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (SIGACT) and the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS). Dr. Goldwasser was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Science, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering. She was recognized by the ACM Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W) as the Athena Lecturer, and received the IEEE Piore Award and the Franklin Institute’s Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive science. Dr. Goldwasser graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.A. degree in mathematics, and recieved M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. A citation of the Turing award is provided below:

For transformative work that laid the complexity-theoretic foundations for the science of cryptography, and in the process pioneered new methods for efficient verification of mathematical proofs in complexity theory.

Dr. Cecilia Aragon

Dr. Cecilia Aragon In 2011 Dr. Cecilia Aragon joined the faculty of the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. From 2005-2011 she worked in the Computational Research Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory after completing her PhD in Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005. Named one of the Top 25 Women of 2009 by Hispanic Business Magazine, she has had an interdisciplinary career, which has also included work as a professional airshow pilot and as a software developer at NASA. WICSE is very happy to celebrate this alumnus's successes and non-traditional pathway to becoming an academic researcher in Computer Science. WICSE was also proud to have Dr. Cecilia Aragon give a presentation during our weekly meeting on January 25, 2011. For more information, please see her biography at the University of Washington's website.

Dr. Katherine Yellick

Dr. Kathy Yelick has been named Associate Lab Director for Computing Science at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and has been the director of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) since 2008, which she will continue to hold. Professor Yelick is an expert on parallel languages, compilers, algorithms, libraries, architecture, and storage. She has worked with interdisciplinary teams on application scaling, and her own applications work includes parallelization of a model for blood flow in the heart. She is the co-inventor of the UPC and Titanium languages and co-developed automatic performance tuning techniques for sparse matrix computations. WICSE was lucky to have her visit during our weekly meeting in 2009. For more information, please see her website at the University of California, Berkeley.

More Stories

You can learn more about alumnae from the WICSE 25th anniversary website (click on “Messages from Alumnae”). Also see the WICSE 30st anniversary website for even more recent alumnae information.

Inspirational News

March, 2015 - President Obama has named Dr. Sheila Humphries (EECS Director Emerita of Diversity) as a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). This award recognizes outstanding efforts of mentors in encouraging the next generation of innovators and developing a science and engineering workforce that reflects the diverse talent of America. Sheila is being recognized for her work which "improved the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented groups in Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences" and will receive her award at a White House ceremony later this year.

February, 2015 - WICSE alumni have been mentioned in the Business Insider article titled 54 women who rocked the tech world.

March, 2013 - EECS graduate student Kristin Stephens was selected to recieve the 2012-2013 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award.

March, 2013 - Dr. Katherine Yelick was named the 2013-2014 ACM-W Athena Lecturer for improving fundamental understanding and practice of parallel programming. The Athena Lecturer award celebrates women researchers who have made fundamental contributions in computer science.

February, 2013 - EECS graduate student Rashmi Vinayak recieved the Microsoft PhD Fellowship. This is a two-year fellowship program for outstanding PhD students in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mathematics.

Novemeber, 2012 - Unviersity College Dublin Professor Orla Feely, UC Berkeley Alum, has been appointed as chair of the Irish Research Council. More information about the appointment is available here.

March 15, 2011 - Sheila Humphreys, who has long been an invaluable supporter of WICSE, received the 2011 Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Award! These awards are among the highest honors bestowed upon staff by the Chancellor and are presented to staff and teams who in addition to performing all their normal job duties with excellence, also take initiative and go above and beyond in their contributions to the UC Berkeley campus community. Sheila was recognized for spearheading and administering all of the EECS Department’s student diversity programs for nearly 25 years.

September 30, 2009 - Secretary Steven Chu has announced up to 12.5 million dollars will be allocated to new sciences and engineering graduate student fellowships through a Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship Program. Further information can be found here

October 1, 2009 - Our distinguished UC Berkeley EECS Professor Ruzena Bajcsy has won the 2009 Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award. The citation is as follows:

The Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award is given to a woman who has inspired the women's technology community through outstanding technological and social contributions. This year's winner, Ruzena Bajcsy is Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley where she is also Director Emerita of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), Over the past four decades Bajcsy has had an astounding impact in the fields of active vision, computer vision algorithms for medical imaging and telepresence. Dr. Bajcsy has pioneered new research fields, guided national policy regarding and lead the computing community in addressing social issues. She has broken barriers and opened up access for women as a role model, mentor and advocate.

April 27, 2009 - President Obama made a major speech at the National Academy of Science where among other things he called for the US to devote over 3% of its GDP to science and technology research and development, exceeding the height of the space race. The proposal includes completing the doubling of funding to NSF, DOE office of Science, and NIST, and a major effort at science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at all levels. A complete copy of the speech can be found here.