This article is published in the March 2015 issue.

2015 CRA Distinguished Service and A. Nico Habermann Awardees Announced

Farnam Jahanian

Distinguished Service Award
Vice President for Research, Carnegie Mellon University

Farnam served as NSF Assistant Director for CISE from 2011 to 2014, the highest profile government position for Farnam Jahanian 2015computer science research. During his tenure he fought hard for computer science and launched three presidential initiatives: National Robotics Initiative, Big Data Research and Development Initiative and US Ignite. Farnam led twenty-five new solicitations, including several cross-directorate efforts such as secure and trustworthy cyberspace, cyberlearning and future learning technologies, and big data. He reintegrated the Office of Cyber Infrastructure (OCI) with CISE. Farnam served as co-chair of the NITRD subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology, providing overall coordination for the R&D activities of 17 government agencies. He often testified before congress and gave about 100 presentations at universities and conferences.

Former NSF director and current CMU president Subra Suresh writes “Farnam is both a visionary and the pragmatist, and this combination of qualities has allowed him to be effective in whatever he undertakes.”

Tom Kalil, OSTP Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation states “During my more than thirteen years of service at the White House for two Presidents, I have had the opportunity to work with many individuals from the computer science research community who have been willing to serve in leadership positions at federal agencies such as NSF, DARPA, and the Department of Energy. Farnam has been second to none as measured by the breadth and depth of his impact on the direction of the field, and his ability to partner effectively with the research community, and his peers at NSF and other agencies, and the White House. His leadership and hard work has resulted in increased federal investment in critical areas such as Big Data, robotics, cyberphysical systems, cybersecurity, cyber-learning, next-generation networking, and CS education.”

Ann Quiroz Gates

A. Nico Habermann Award
Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)

2015 Ann Quiroz Gates

For over two decades, Gates has been a leader in initiatives that support Hispanics and members of other underrepresented groups in the computing field. She is perhaps best known for leading the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI), an alliance of 13 institutions whose work has had large and sustained positive impact on recruitment, retention, and advancement of Hispanics in computing. Mentoring is a key component of CAHSI’s approach, which builds support networks that address both academic and cultural issues for students at all stages of their college and postgraduate education and on to leadership positions. Gates helped establish the Affinity Research Group (ARG) model for research mentoring and peer support; the evaluation of its effectiveness and dissemination of the findings has led to its adoption at institutions outside of CAHSI. Through an NSF ADVANCE program, Gates has also promoted the recruitment, retention, and advancement of female faculty at her home institution, UTEP. She has greatly enabled the success of many students through her personal mentoring of over 150 Hispanic students and research supervision of over 70 students. Gates’ influence has extended to other initiatives and communities, including the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), CMD-IT, and the AccessComputing Alliance. The scale and impact of Gates’ contributions is truly exceptional, particularly in support of Hispanics who account for 25% of the U.S. population, but less than 7% of bachelors degrees in computing and less than 2% of PhDs.

2015 CRA Distinguished Service and A. Nico Habermann Awardees Announced