News

Jacque Garcia graduates a champion

Graduating CS senior Jacque Garcia, the president of Cal Boxing, is the focus of a Berkeley News article titled "Longtime fighter graduates as a champion."  Garcia, who grew up in Compton and is known for her “mental toughness, determination, dedication and positive attitude,” won the 2018 132-pound National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) championship belt, an Outstanding Boxer Award, and a Cal Boxing women's third-place team award.  She was also both a Code2040 Fellow and CircleCI software engineering intern in 2017, and worked at the Hybrid Ecologies Lab in 2016 to help Ph.D. grad student Cesar Torres develop some features of a 2.5D Computer Aided Design (CAD) tool to reduce complexity of digital modeling by using grey-scale height maps.  Garcia credits the student organization Code the Change for her decision to eventually major in Computer Science. “Graduation is going to be very emotional,” says Garcia. “I didn’t start thinking about college until I was in the eighth grade. I didn’t know if I was going to go to college, I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it. It’s going to be a surreal moment. I can’t believe it’s happening.”

How Mary Ann Horton invented the email attachment, then revolutionized trans rights

CS alumna Mary Ann Horton (Ph.D. '81) is the subject of a Daily Beast article titled "How Mary Ann Horton Invented the Email Attachment, Then Revolutionized Trans Rights."  As a student, Horton contributed to Berkeley UNIX (BSD), including the vi editor and terminfo database, and created the first email attachment tool, uuencode.  She then became a pioneering transgender activist who, in the 1990s and 2000s, played a key role in encouraging American companies to add the categories of gender identity and gender expression to their non-discrimination policies—and to provide transgender health benefits.  It began when she encouraged her employer, Lucent, to become the first large company in the United States to include gender identity or expression in its non-discrimination policy.  “Getting Lucent to do it was all about me, but once Lucent did it, I thought, this could be for everybody,” Horton remembers. “My vision was to push the snowball, and build up that snowball, and get it bigger and bigger until it would roll down the hill by itself—until I didn’t have to push it any more.”

Andrea Goldsmith named ACM Athena Lecturer

2018 EE Distinguished Alumna Andrea Goldsmith (B.A. ’86/M.S. ’91/Ph.D. ’94) has been named the 2018-19 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Athena Lecturer for contributions to the theory and practice of adaptive wireless communications, and for the successful transfer of research to commercial technology.  Goldsmith, who is currently the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford,  introduced innovative approaches to the design, analysis and fundamental performance limits of wireless systems and networks. The Athena Lecturer Award, which was initiated by the ACM Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W), celebrates women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science. The award carries a cash prize of $25,000, with financial support provided by Google.

Berkeley boosts female computing grads

Assistant Teaching Prof. John DeNero and CS major Tammy Nguyen are featured in a Mercury News article titled "Forget tech’s bad bros: Stanford, Berkeley boost female computing grads."   Between 2010 and 2017, UC Berkeley doubled the percentage of women receiving degrees in CS, from 11% to 22%, which runs counter to a national trend in which the proportion of women receiving degrees in computer and information sciences dropped from a high of 37% in 1984 to about 18% in 2016.  DeNero talks about some of the hurdles women must overcome if they are interested in pursuing careers in computer science.  The problems facing women in the tech industry, brought to light by the "Me Too" movement, is a concern. “It comes up even on the first day of class,” he said. “The students are very keen to talk about it, understand it. They really want to know, ‘Are all companies the same? Is this something I’m going to see everywhere?'”  Berkeley has taken a number of steps to improve the representation of women in the field.  “We have invested a lot of time and energy in figuring out what our introductory curriculum should look like, how we teach our courses, and in particular what kind of support mechanisms can we put in place to make sure that somebody who wants to study computer science has a good chance of being successful,” he said.

Amal El-Ghazaly forges a path in higher education

EE postdoctoral fellow Amal El-Ghazaly, who works with the Nanoelectronics and Nanostructures Group, is featured in a Berkeley News article as one of the 25 scholars from Berkeley, Stanford, Caltech and UCLA who’ve won postdoctoral fellowships from the NSF-sponsored California Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP).  The alliance was formed to address the seemingly intractable ethnic underrepresentation in key STEM fields in the postdoctoral and faculty ranks at prestigious universities.  Aspiring professor El-Ghazaly, a hijab-wearing Muslim of African heritage, was often the only underrepresented minority student, and sometimes the only woman, in her specialized applied physics courses at CMU and Stanford.  The Berkeley-led Alliance will share its challenges and successes at the Pathways to a Diverse Professoriate conference on campus this week.

Teresa Meng (photo: EE Times)

Teresa Meng on winning the game in a male-dominated industry

EECS distinguished alumna Teresa Meng (M.S. '85/Ph.D. '88) is the subject of an article in the EE Times about a keynote presentation she recently gave at the  International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) on sexism in her profession.   Meng, who was the first female professor in electrical engineering at Stanford in 1988 (she retired in 2013) and also co-founded Atheros Communications (later acquired by Qualcomm), was named one of the top 10 entrepreneurs by Red Herring in 2001.    The title of her speech was “Winning the game in a male-dominated industry” and she said that she was initially very reluctant to speak because the subject was “just too painful.”  She discussed when and how gender discrimination happens, describing “unconscious” male behaviors that hurt women and discourage female engineers from pursuing higher positions in their organizations. She also discussed how women must pick their battles.  Her talk was nothing like what anyone in the audience would have expected in the semiconductor industry — especially at a highly technical conference like ISSCC, where only 2 percent of attendees are women.

A celebration of diversity in engineering and science featuring Gary May

The  Cal Alumni Association and the Black Alumni Club are hosting an event Celebrating Diversity in Engineering and Science at Cal on February 10, 2018.  It will honor the 50th anniversary of the Black Engineering and Science Student Association (BESSA) and the 30th anniversary of the Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students (BGESS) group at Berkeley, and will feature both alumni and current students.  The keynote speaker is EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88 and Ph.D. '92), now the Chancellor of the University of California, Davis.  In addition to the evening event, BESSA and BGESS alumni are planning an afternoon symposium with panels of engineering alumni to discuss their careers in industry and academia with undergrad, graduate and high school students

Sheila Humphreys at her PAESMEM ceremony in 2013

Tips that Work!: advice from award-winning STEM mentor Sheila Humphreys

EECS Emerita Director of Diversity, Sheila Humphreys, is participating in a National Science Foundation (NSF) webinar titled "Tips that Work!: Advice from Award-Winning STEM Mentors" on Monday, Jan. 22 at 12:30 pm PST.  Humphreys, who was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) in 2012, will participate in a moderated discussion--in celebration of National Mentoring Month--along with one of her mentees, Cheyenne Nelson, a recent UC Berkeley physics graduate and current Research Affiliate with the ATLAS group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  Along with other PAESMEM recipients and mentees, they will share how successful STEM mentoring can change lives, careers and our nation's workforce.

EECS FLIP alliance faculty & alumni

Berkeley FLIPs for Diversity

When Dan Garcia first attended UC Berkeley as a graduate student, he was amazed at the many different faces and key spaces that make up the world's top public research university.  “I can’t imagine being anywhere else," says Garcia, adding that part of what makes Berkeley special is the confluence of its diverse urban setting, large size, and a campus culture that fosters and celebrates diversity.  Today, as a professor, Garcia is passionate about broadening participation in computer science: “If you want to move the needle on diversity, come join us at UC Berkeley!” The university just announced its membership in the NSF-funded FLIP Alliance (Diversifying Future Leadership In the Professoriate), which consists  of eleven top Computer Science departments that produce over half of new URM CS faculty. FLIP aims to quickly and radically change the demographic diversity of the CS professoriate by sharing best practices for recruiting, retaining, and developing URM graduate students at member institutions. Current Berkeley faculty and students talk about the Department’s welcoming and collaborative atmosphere, and why Berkeley is eager to attract talented URM applicants and stop “leaving so much talent on the table,” in the words of Cuban-American professor Armando Fox.

(photo: L. Brian Stauffer)

Andreas Cangellaris named UI provost

EE alumnus Andreas Cangellaris (Ph.D. '85) will be the next provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the first person to hold the job on a permanent basis in more than two years.  Cangellaris joined the UI engineering faculty in 1997 and has been Dean of the College of Engineering since 2013, administering a college with more than 7,500 undergraduate, 3,000 graduate students, and an annual budget of $265 million. During his tenure as dean, the number of women and traditionally underrepresented undergraduate students increased by more than 55 percent.  "The potential is tremendous, the promise is great. I think overall the campus is ready to take a leadership role in public higher education in the 21st century, and to have the opporunity to be in a leadership position at that level is an honor," he said.  Cangellaris will start his new job on Jan. 16, pending approval by UI trustees on Thursday.