Thanks to a generous grant from the Distinguished Lecture Series of The Computer Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W), we have received funding to feature two excellent speakers.   We are pleased to welcome Dr. Mary Fernandez and Dr. Tanya Berger-Wolf to our Celebration! Please read on to learn more about them and what they will be speaking about...



Tanya Berger-Wolf, Ph.D

Tanya Berger-WolfDr. Tanya Berger-Wolf is an Associate Professor in the Department of
Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she
heads the Computational Population Biology Lab.   Her research
interests are in applications of computational techniques to problems
in population biology of plants, animals, and humans, from genetics to
social interactions.   She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002. She spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico working in computational phylogenetics and a year at the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) doing research in computational epidemiology. She has received numerous awards for her research and mentoring, including the US National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2008 and the UIC Mentor of the Year (2009) and Graduate Mentor (2012) awards.

The title of her talk is "Computational Insights into the Social Life of Zebras (and other animals).

Abstract:    Computation has fundamentally changed the way we study nature.  Recent advances in data collection technology, such as GPS and other mobile sensors, high definition cameras, satellite images, and genotyping, are giving biologists access to data about the natural world which are orders of magnitude richer than any previously collected. Such data offer the promise of answering some of the big questions about why animals do what they do, among other things.

Unfortunately, in this domain, our ability to analyze data lags substantially behind our ability to collect it. In this talk I will show how computational approaches can be part of every stage of the scientific process of understanding animal sociality, from data collection (identifying individual zebras from photographs by stripes) to hypothesis formulation (by designing a novel computational framework for
analysis of dynamic social networks).  I will also show lots of pictures of exotic animals.

Find out when Tanya will be speaking!


Mary Fernandez, Ph.D.

Mary Fernandez

Dr. Mary Fernández is Assistant Vice President of Software and Information Systems Research at AT&T Labs, where she supports scientists and technologists whose research advances the design and development of networked infrastructure ---from cloud to mobile to pervasive computing systems ---that AT&T customers depend upon every day. Mary is chair of the board of MentorNet (www.mentornet.net), an award-winning e-mentoring program whose mission is to increase the representation of women and under-represented minorities in STEM professions.  She is also on the board of directors of the Computing Research Association (www.cra.org), whose mission is to advance computing research.  Mary received her education in computer science from Brown University and Princeton University.  She has been at AT&T Labs, having a lot of fun, since 1995.


The title of her talk is:   A Path Between: How mentors, role models, and YOU can grow the next generation of computing professionals and have fun while doing good.


For digital natives – people born during the global digital revolution of the past 20 years – technology is a natural extension of their selves.  Every waking hour, they play, learn, and socialize with devices in hand.   Despite the ubiquity of technology in their daily lives, when these young people enter university, they show little interest in computing – the science that enables our connected lives.

This disinterest is a national crisis.  In the next ten years, more than half of STEM job openings will be in computing, but the domestic production of computing graduates is estimated to be less than half the anticipated annual demand of 135,000 computing jobs.  The shortfall of computing professionals is already being felt by employers and more significantly, it will have deleterious effects on our economy and national security.


Luckily, solutions to this problem are at hand – in fact, in our own hands.  We will discuss how mentors, role models, and YOU can nurture the next generation of computing professionals and have fun while doing good.

Find out when Mary will be speaking!