Distinguished Lecturer Series

Dr. Maria Klawe

President, Harvey Mudd College

“Getting more women into tech careers and why it matters”

Abstract:  Over the past decade the participation of females in the tech industry has declined rather than advanced. This is unfortunate for young women because of the incredible career opportunities, for the tech industry because of the loss of incoming talent, and for society because of the loss of diversity of perspective among tech teams. I will talk about the reasons why women tend not major in computer technology fields and how Harvey Mudd College dramatically increased the number of females majoring in computer science. I’ll also talk about the BRAID project, an initiative working with several CS departments to increase diversity among their majors.

Biography:  Maria Klawe began her tenure as Harvey Mudd College’s fifth president in 2006.  A renowned computer scientist and scholar, President Klawe is the first woman to lead the College since its founding in 1955. Prior to joining HMC, she served as dean of engineering and professor of computer science at Princeton University. Klawe joined Princeton from the University of British Columbia where she served as dean of science from 1998 to 2002, vice president of student and academic services from 1995 to 1998 and head of the Department of Computer Science from 1988 to 1995.  Prior to UBC, Klawe spent eight years with IBM Research in California, and two years at the University of Toronto.  She received her Ph.D. (1977) and B.Sc. (1973) in mathematics from the University of Alberta.

Klawe has made significant research contributions in several areas of mathematics and computer science, including functional analysis, discrete mathematics, theoretical computer science, human-computer interaction, gender issues in information technology and interactive-multimedia for mathematics education. Her current research focuses on discrete mathematics.

Klawe is a renowned lecturer and has given talks at international conferences, national symposia, and colleges across the U.S. and Canada about diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines and industries, gender and gaming, and lessons from her own career in STEM industry and education.  She has devoted particular attention in recent years to improving K-12 science and mathematics education.

Klawe is a board member of the nonprofit Math for America, chair of the board of the nonprofit EdReports.org, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a trustee for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley and a member of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Selection Board.

Klawe is the recipient of the 2014 Women of Vision ABIE Award for Leadership and was ranked 17 on Fortune’s 2014 list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. In 2015 she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Association of Computer Science and the Achievement Award from the American Association of University Women, and she was inducted into the US News STEM Solutions Leadership Hall of Fame.  She was honored by the Computing Research Association’s 2016 Distinguished Service Award.


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