[Published originally in the September 2004 edition of Computing Research News, Vol. 16/No. 4]
UBC Professor Wins CRA-W Award
The Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2004 Anita Borg Early Career Award that will be presented at the Grace Hopper Conference in Chicago, Illinois in October. This year's recipient is Joanna McGrenere, Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia.
The award honors the late Anita Borg, who was an early member of CRA-W and an inspiration for her commitment in increasing the participation of women in computing research. Dr. McGrenere is the first recipient of this award to be given annually by CRA-W to a woman in computer science and/or engineering who has made significant research contributions and who has contributed to her profession, especially in the outreach to women. This award recognizes work in areas of academia and industrial research labs that has had a positive and significant impact on advancing women in the computing research community and is targeted at women who are relatively early in their careers (no more than 10 years past the Ph.D.).
Dr. McGrenere has made outstanding contributions to the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Particularly relevant to this award is her leadership on the Aphasia Project—a large, multi-disciplinary effort spanning several academic fields, institutions, and organizations in participatory technology research and design. Anita Borg, who suffered from aphasia as a result of brain injury from her cancer, was the first participant of McGrenere's Aphasia project. The technology aided Anita (and now others suffering from aphasia) to continue with daily activities. Two of the ideas that Dr. McGrenere's group is developing are an icon-based recipe book and a digital planner.
In addition to Dr. McGrenere's research, she has also excelled at supporting women in computer science. As a master's student at UBC she worked with elementary teachers and young girls to learn how to make computing activities more attractive to young girls. As a Ph.D. student at Toronto she served as a speaker to promote computing careers to women and girls, organized a group to attend Grace Hopper, and set up a "buddy program" for entering women graduate students. As a junior faculty member at UBC, she continues to mentor and support women in computer science at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and chairs the department's Focus on Women in Computer Science committee. She is the only junior faculty member at UBC to chair a substantial departmental committee.
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