This article is published in the May 2005 issue.

Lazowska and Margolis to Receive CRA Service Awards

CRA is pleased to announce the winners of its 2005 service awards. The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Ed Lazowska, the Bill and Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. Jane Margolis, Research Educationist, IDEA, UCLA Graduate School of Education Information Studies, will receive the A. Nico Habermann Award. The awards will be presented at ACM’s Awards Banquet in San Francisco on June 11, 2005.

CRA Distinguished Service Award

Ed Lazowska is widely recognized for his incredible effectiveness, unbridled enthusiasm, and overwhelming energy. He has furthered the computing research agenda in so many ways that are simply transparent to the entire community. Only a few of his many contributions are mentioned here.

Lazowska is a Member of the NAE; and a Fellow of the ACM, IEEE, AAAS, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Currently he co-chairs the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee. From 1992-2004, he was a member of the CRA Board of Directors, serving as chair from 1997-2001; Ed is currently a co-chair of CRA’s Government Affairs Committee. He has long been involved with ACM activities, where he served as a member (and 1999-2000 chair) of ACM’s A.M. Turing Award selection committee and as a member of the ACM Council. From 1995-2000, Ed served on (and in 1998 and 1999 he chaired) the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. He has testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee concerning NSF and the U.S. House Science Committee concerning HPCC.

Lazowska chairs the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Information Science and Technology (ISAT) study group and served as a member from 1998-2001; he also chairs the Peer Committee for Section 5 (Computer Science & Engineering) of the National Academy of Engineering. He is a member of the Executive Advisory Council of the National Center for Women and Information Technology, and also has served on a number of industry advisory boards.

Recently Ed completed six years of service on the National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), and served on the NRC Committee on Improving Learning with Information Technology. In addition, he served on the NRC Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism—Panel on Information Technology, as well as contributing extensively to the creation of the CSTB summary report Innovation in Information Technology.

In the words of one supporter of his nomination: “Ed Lazowska is a most worthy recipient of the CRA Distinguished Service Award given his prodigious service to our community over multiple decades. He has served on more committees with national impact than almost any other computer professional I know, and continued to do so even while he was the highly proactive chairman of the University of Washington’s distinguished computer science department.”

CRA A. Nico Habermann Award

Jane Margolis was selected for this award because the passion and scholarship she brings to the computing research community is really unique.

Unlike previous winners of the Habermann Award, Jane Margolis is not a computer scientist. Instead she is a social scientist who has worked on issues of gender and minority status within computer science education. She is being honored because of the way she uses her research to inform ongoing interventions; she is committed both to rigorous research and to making important changes in society.

As her nomination states: “Her ability to collaborate with teachers, administrators, computer scientists, policymakers, and foundations allow her to gain insight and collect data from groups representing a variety of perspectives, often serving different interests. She reminds computer scientists, educators, and policymakers alike of the need to collaborate to reform computer science education.” She is passionate about creating more equitable educational environments and she is a crusader for diversifying the field of computer science.

Margolis is most well-known for the work she did at Carnegie Mellon University with Allan Fisher that culminated in the award-winning book, Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing, and in research-based changes at CMU that significantly reduced their gender gap, helping to increase the enrollment of undergrad majors from 7 percent to 42 percent.

Since 2000, Margolis has been working on a similar research project at UCLA aimed at better understanding the psychological and institutional factors responsible for the underrepresentation of females and students of color in high school computer science. Again the research involved collaboration with teachers and administrators within the Los Angeles Unified school district (LAUSD). This collaboration led to a week-long summer institute for a group of high school computer science educators, helping them to increase their knowledge of Java, develop engaging pedagogies, and use more enticing curricula, while simultaneously establishing a professional network for them.

As a result, new CS courses have been added, the number of Latino/as taking the Advanced Placement computer science course in LAUSD tripled, and the number of African Americans and female students doubled. Margolis is publishing her findings, enabling other scholars and interveners to gain a better understanding of the factors at play. You can see a recent campus news article on this work at:

About the Awards

CRA presents these awards, usually annually, to individuals for outstanding service to the computing research community. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes service in the areas of government affairs, professional societies, publications, or conferences, and leadership that has a major impact on computing research. The A. Nico Habermann Award honors the late A. Nico Habermann, former head of NSF’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. This award is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions aimed at increasing the numbers and/or successes of underrepresented members in the computing research community. The award recognizes work in areas of government affairs, educational programs, professional societies, public awareness, and leadership that has a major impact on advancing these members in the computing research community. Recognized contributions can be focused directly at the research level or at its immediate precursors—namely, students at the undergraduate or graduate levels.

Lazowska and Margolis to Receive CRA Service Awards