Ada Lovelace Day: Meet Maria Klawe

In support of Ada Lovelace day, YDN has asked the President of Yahoo!'s Women In Tech Group, Karolina Buchner, to offer a tribute to an inspiring woman in technology.

When attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference back in 2001, I first learned of Dr. Maria Klawe, and have been following her career since. As a fellow Canadian, I became a big fan.

Since 2001, Maria Klawe has gone from Dean of Science at the University of British Columbia, to Dean of Engineering at Princeton, and now President of Harvey Mudd College. But Maria is so much more than a brainy academic -- in addition to contributing to research in the areas of theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics, Maria also founded the Aphasia Project at Princeton, and focused her research on assistive technologies for people with cognitive deficits. She has also been involved in the women in tech community--helping to found CRA-W (the Computer Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women) and serving on the board of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

Left to right: Kim Capps-Tanaka, Maria Klawe, Karolina Buchner, Elizabeth Churchill

We were honoured to have her speak at Yahoo! last year about "Getting, Keeping, and Advancing Women in Technology," to raise awareness of the issues surrounding this topic. Maria gave geeks and non-geeks alike a lot to think about. Maria also graciously shared candid advice with the audience about career and personal development and offered us some great ideas for our own K-12 outreach work, educating young women about careers in technology. In helping to organize this event, I was lucky enough to meet Maria in person and was impressed both by how very sharp and very down to earth she is in conversation.

I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate Maria on her appointment to the board of directors at Microsoft, and I'm sure she's still wearing that much-loved "Code like a girl" t-shirt!

Karolina Buchner
Research Engineer, Yahoo! Search