CRA Board Member Profile: Susanne Hambrusch

Headshot of Susanne HambruschCRA is honored to have a prestigious group of computing researchers serve on its Board of Directors. These individuals volunteer their time to run CRA’s programs and committees and to develop and lead new initiatives. In this new series, CRA Board Member Profiles, we will highlight our board members and their contributions to the organization.

Susanne Hambrusch, Vice Chair of the CRA Board of Directors, is a professor of Computer Science at Purdue University.

Susanne’s first experience with the full range of CRA’s activities was at the biennial CRA Conference at Snowbird in 2000 which she attended for her department. Susanne became head of Purdue’s Computer Science Department in 2002 and, as every departmental leader knows, CRA’s activities are an invaluable resource. Susanne has been involved in CRA activities ever since, and she joined the Board in 2008.

From 2010 to 2013, Susanne served as the Director of the Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF) Division in the CISE Directorate at NSF. Conflict of interest rules did not allow her to continue many of her CRA activities during this time. However, representing NSF, she interacted with CRA and CCC on visioning workshops and community engagement. Insight and feedback from these activities contributed to defining the crosscutting programs on Cyber-Enabled Sustainability Science and Engineering (CyberSEES), eXploiting Parallelism and Scalability (XPS), and Algorithms in the Field (AitF).

After her service at NSF, she was re-elected to the Board in 2014, elected Vice Chair in 2015, and continues to be involved in several CRA initiatives.

Susanne is a CRA-W Board Member serving as one of the program chairs for the Early Career Mentoring Workshops. She is also a member of the CRA Surveys committee, which manages the Taulbee Survey and the upcoming enrollments survey assessing departmental strategies for dealing with the current surge in computer science undergraduate enrollment.

Along with Ran Libeskind-Hadas, she co-chairs the CRA Education Committee (CRA-E) whose activities and programs promote the health of the computing research pipeline.

“CRA recognizes that education and mentoring efforts related to undergraduate research are crucial to a healthy research pipeline. CRA-E’s projects focus on this need in our research community.”

CRA-E has started several impactful activities over the past three years, including:

  • Developing Conquer, a website that provides resources for undergraduate students interested in research and graduate school as well as information for faculty mentors;
  • Creating the new Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award to recognize faculty members who have provided exceptional mentorship, undergraduate research experiences, and, in parallel, guidance on admission and matriculation of these students to research-focused graduate programs in computing;
  • Creating a recently announced Graduate Fellows Program which will involve graduate students in a number of CRA-E activities and provide leadership experiences for young researchers interested in mentoring undergraduates.

Involvement in all these CRA related projects and initiatives, in addition to her full time faculty position at Purdue seems like it would be overwhelming, but Susanne has developed time management techniques.

“Balancing work with raising children teaches one effective time management skills and decision making. Now that my children have grown up, I have more time to devote to projects I am passionate about.”

Susanne makes time for CRA because she feels its initiatives are important and having a positive impact.

“I am proud of the outcomes of many of the efforts I have been involved in – from mentoring workshops for different audiences, to best practices for departmental leaders, to building a healthy research pipeline. It has been an honor to be able to contribute.”

In her free time, Susanne enjoys biking and travel. During her time at NSF, she biked along several trails near Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Now that she has returned to Indiana, she joined a local biking club and participates in group rides when the weather is nice. She also likes to travel – visiting her children on both US coasts and family in her native Austria.