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2019 CRA Distinguished Service and A. Nico Habermann Awardees Announced


The CRA board of directors is pleased to announce its selections for the 2019 CRA Awards.

felten_headshotEdward Felten – Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University

Edward Felten has tirelessly worked at the intersection of computer science and policy, fighting to retain the “freedom to tinker,” amongst other things. “Freedom to Tinker” is also the name of his influential blog, which contains research and expert commentary on digital technologies in public life.

Felten consulted for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and went on to become its first chief technologist during the Obama administration. He had a significant role in important FTC initiatives about privacy, net neutrality, and other policy issues relating to information technology. In 2015, Felten went on to serve as deputy United States chief technology officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. He was in charge of shaping the Obama administration’s AI policy, including chairing its “Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence” report.

Felten currently serves as a member of the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which oversees executive branch policies and procedures related to protecting the nation from terrorism, in order to ensure the protection of privacy and civil liberties.


Maria GiniMaria Gini – A. Nico Habermann Award Recipient

Professor of Computer Science at the University of Minnesota

Maria Gini is an outspoken advocate of diversity in computing. Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly to recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups in computing at the local, national, and international level.

Gini is a respected and prolific researcher in the areas of intelligent agents, multi-agent systems, and robotics, and has been named a Fellow of both AAAI and IEEE. In addition to graduating 34 Ph.D. students and nearly 100 Master’s students, and mentoring dozens of undergraduate researchers, Gini has used her visibility and prominence to make the field more welcoming for everyone. She has spoken at numerous venues about the importance of diversity in computing and the need to create a culture that embraces it.

She is deeply committed to diversity and possesses the combination of generous spirit, organizational skill, and boundless energy to carry out that commitment. Gini has created and run programs for women and minority men high school students, and co-directed the CRA-W Distributed REU (DREU) program for many years. She currently co-directs CRA-W’s Grad Cohort for Women program, and regularly organizes and mentoring programs at AI and robotics conferences. Gini created and continues to run the Minnesota Regional Celebration of Women in Computing, and has long been involved in the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, recently serving as program and general chair.

Gini has had a tremendous, positive impact on countless individuals as well as on the computer science community. Her efforts in these programs have directly resulted in hundreds of students choosing to pursue research careers.