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Role Model: Ruzena Bacjcsy by Telle Whitney, CEO of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Each year at the Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, I have the privilege to recognize the Anita Borg Technical Leadership award recipient.    Role models are so important to the community of technical leaders, and the list of past recipients of the Anita Borg T

Each year at the Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, I have the privilege to recognize the Anita Borg Technical Leadership award recipient.    Role models are so important to the community of technical leaders, and the list of past recipients of the Anita Borg Technical Leaders award includes women with world changing contributions.   This year’s winner is no exception.

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Ruzena Bacjcsy is a professor at UC Berkeley, with a remarkable track record of firsts.   She came to Berkeley as the founding director of the Center for Information Technology

Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS).   CITRIS is an Institute at UC Berkeley whose mission is to create information technology solutions for many of our most pressing social, environmental, and health care problems.  Ruzena was the first women to head the Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) at NSF.    While at CISE in NSF, she worked to establish financial support for large research initiatives, ultimately acquiring over 200 million dollars in research funds.     NSF is one of the primary funding agencies for the computing research community, and this support has led to untold research breakthroughs that affect our lives and our world.

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Dr. Bajcsy’s research has had a profound impact on the field of active vision, and computer vision algorithms for medical imagining and telepresence.  

 

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Ruzena deserves this award in every way imaginable – because of her ground breaking technical leadership, as a well respected leader within the Computing Community, and for her commitment to mentor and support the women who come behind her.  

 

I originally met Ruzena at the first Grace Hopper Conference in 1994, where she was one of the plenary speakers.  Our paths have continued to cross over the last 15 years.  As her stature and contributions have continued to grow, she has always found the time to support the work of the Anita Borg Institute – to increase the participation of women in all aspects of technology and to increase the positive impact of technology on the world’s women.   She has always made the time to be available for anything we’ve asked of her.  

 

I am proud of the contributions and impact of this year’s winner.  I am equally proud to see the magnificence of Ruzena’s contributions to the world, and to the computing discipline.  She is one more example of our best hopes and dreams of women who are changing the world.