Logo: University of Southern California

Maja Matarić Honored at the Anita Borg Institute’s Women of Vision Awards Banquet

ABI recognizes Prof. Matarić's innovative work in socially assistive robotics
By: Megan Hazle
June 04, 2013 —

On May 9, at a banquet in Santa Clara, the USC Viterbi School's Maja J. Matarić was presented with the Anita Borg Institute’s 2013 Women of Vision Award in Innovation. Professor Matarić is the Chan Soon-Shiong Chair in Computer Science, Neuroscience and Pediatrics, founding director of the USC Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems, as well as the vice dean for research at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. She received the award in recognition of her innovative work in socially assistive robotics.

The awards banquet was attended by 1000 guests, the largest "Women of Vision" event to date. The first speaker of the evening, Matarić was introduced by Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer at Facebook. In her acceptance speech, Matarić thanked the Anita Borg Institute, the colleagues who nominated her for the award, and her loved ones, including her mother who attended the awards banquet with her. She then spoke about her personal experiences and her career philosophy, which she described as "kind of like 'lean in,' but a lot pushier."

"Nothing, absolutely nothing that I have achieved . . . has been achieved without quite a lot of pushing and effort on my part," she told the audience during her speech. "When I do push, it turns out I can achieve almost anything. And that's not because I'm me, it's because that's what it takes, and we all can do that. So, push! Don't take 'no' for an answer."

Diane M. Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group (DCSG) for Intel Corporation, was the event’s keynote speaker, and Chris Shipley, co-founder and CEO of Guidewire Group, acted as the master of ceremonies. Genevieve Bell, director of interaction and experience research at Intel Labs, and Vicki Hanson, professor of inclusive technologies at the University of Dundee, also received Women of Vision awards at the banquet, in the categories of Leadership and Social Impact, respectively.

The Anita Borg Institute works to advance women in computer science and engineering roles globally. The Institute’s Women of Vision Awards banquet is hosted by its board of trustees and honors women making significant contributions to technology through outstanding achievements and important contributions in innovation, positive changes to the way technology serves society, and leadership. One winner is selected in each category: Innovation, Leadership and Social Impact.