On May 16, 2005, Richard Ladner, Boeing Professor of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) at the University of Washington, was one of nine individuals to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) at a White House ceremony. Ladner, who is well known for his work in computer science theory, was recognized for his long-time support of women and people with disabilities in computer science.
Computing Research News
“Expanding the Pipeline” is a regular column in Computing Research News. The column serves both as a vehicle for describing projects and issues related to women and underrepresented groups in computing. The column is guest-authored by individuals who share their insight and experiences from their active participation in programs designed to involve women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in education and research. Patty Lopez is the column editor.
The fact that women, minorities, and persons with disabilities remain significantly underrepresented in CISE-related disciplines diminishes us all in our research and education activities, to say nothing of our personal lives. NSF and CISE have long worked to change this situation, but we believe new and strengthened efforts are essential and we are now focusing our attention on doing that.
As we are all aware, the percentage of women in computer science and computing engineering is declining. Often faculty shrug off this disparity as lack of aptitude by women students. Computer science, however, is the only scientific discipline that is not increasing the percentage of women students. Mathematics, for example, has almost reached parity at the undergraduate level. With overall declining enrollments, we need to reach out to make computing and computing research an attractive discipline to be pursued by the brightest students. This is everyone’s responsibility.