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INSIGHT: Two Viterbi Professors Recognized As Top 100 Inspiring Women in STEM

Insight Into Diversity magazine recognizes contributions of Maja Matarić and Urbashi Mitra
Viterbi News
September 25, 2015 —
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine recognizes contributions of Maja Matarić and Urbashi Mitra

Two faculty members at USC Viterbi, Maja Matarić and Urbashi Mitra, were recognized as the TOP 100 Inspiring Women in STEM by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The September 2015 issue of the magazine pays tribute to one hundred women whose work and achievements inspire a new generation of young women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Viterbi Vice Dean for Research, Maja J. Matarić, an internationally-regarded robotics researcher, a professor of computer science, neuroscience and pediatrics, and the founding director of USC Viterbi’s interdisciplinary Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center (RASC), was nominated for her commitment to excellence in research and mentoring at all age levels, with a particular focus on female and under-represented students and faculty groups.

Professor Matarić has worked with over twenty K-12 teachers on personalized teacher training, a dozen K-12 schools on STEM outreach events, and over 30 high school students and 70 undergraduate researchers. Matarić was recognized for placing 100 percent of her female PhD students and postdoctoral students in tenure-track and computing positions as well as the culture of mentoring she has established. INSIGHT also recognized Matarić role as a founding leader of the new field of socially assistive robotics which focuses on developing human-centered technologies for populations with special needs including children with autism, stroke survivors and patients with Alzheimer’s.

Matarić has received numerous mentoring awards including the USC Provost’s Mentoring Award (2011) and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring (2011). She received the Anita Borg Women of Vision Award in Innovation (2013) and was also selected as MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 (1999).

The second USC Viterbi honoree is Professor of Electrical Engineering Urbashi Mitra, a leader in the field of communication and information theory whose work focuses on the development and analysis of algorithms for wireless communication systems. Professor Mitra’s was singled out for her career of mentoring, including implementing the UC Berkeley Society of Women Engineers program that enabled female students to “Shadow an Engineer” to provide real-life engineering and mentoring experiences. Since joining the faculty at USC in 2001, Mitra has continued to support both female students and faculty. As the Viterbi Women in Science and Engineering Committee Chair, she mentored untenured Viterbi women faculty members and developed best practices on how to increase the number for diversity applicants for faculty positions. For her outstanding work, she received the USC Mellon Mentoring Award (2008), the Viterbi Dean’s Service Award (2009), and the USC Remarkable Woman Award (2009).

In addition to being a skilled mentor and advocate for women in STEM, Professor Mitra has made pioneering contributions in the field of communications and information theory. She is highly involved in the broader engineering community, serving as member of the IEEE Information Theory Society's Board of Governors (2002-2007, 2012-2017) and the IEEE Signal Processing Society’s Technical Committee on Signal Processing for Communications and Networks (2012-2016). She is the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological and Multi-scale Communications and is the recipient of numerous technical awards and distinctions including the IEEE Communications Society Distinguished Lecturer (2014-15), and the National Academy of Engineering’s Lillian Gilbreth Lectureship (2012).

A third USC Professor, Anna Krylov, who is a professor of chemistry in the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences was recognized for her work ensuring that women researchers are well represented at professional conferences.

To see the full list of honorees, visit: http://www.insightintodiversity.com/wp-content/media/digitalissues/september2015/index.html