News

Josephine Williamson celebrated as influential leader

EECS director of operations Josephine Williamson is one of 18 unsung heroines at UC Berkeley being honored this month as part of the Berkeley 150W project.  Williamson, whom Vice Provost Tsu-Jae King Liu describes as “an exemplary builder of positive working relationships,” knows the department inside and out.  She began her relationship with EECS as an undergraduate workstudy, helping students, faculty, staff and visitors, behind the Soda Hall front desk.  After graduating and exploring some other career options, she returned to campus as the manager of budget and planning in the College of Engineering, and was hired away two years later to serve as EECS's manager of financial services.   She has been in her current position as director of operations for almost ten years, and was recognized for her leadership skills with a Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Award (COSA) in 2017, the Berkeley Chancellor's highest staff honor.  Williamson is treasured by her staff  as a compassionate and positive leader who has created a supportive, nurturing work environment that has remained strong even during difficult times.  She has taken steps to make the department more welcoming to a greater diversity of people, and has created a more open, convivial, and respectful culture for everyone.  "During my years at Cal, I learned that it is not only important to recognize our strengths, but also to seek out areas where we need to change and further develop," she says.  "It’s important to create a safe place for people to share stories, listen and reflect in order to come together as a team."

EECS 150W: Sheila Humphreys and WiCSE

In celebration of 150 Years of Women at Berkeley, the EECS Director Emerita of Diversity (and Berkeley 150W History Project co-chair) Sheila Humphreys tells the story of  Women in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (WiCSE), the first student group at an American university created to support and increase the number of women in those fields.   WiCSE was born when the political foment of 1970s Berkeley met the burgeoning field of computer science in Evans Hall.  Humphreys charts WiCSE's path from the formation of the first women's clubs at Berkeley one hundred years before, to its 40th reunion in 2018.  WICSE has established itself as a permanent force in EECS: a powerful voice for women students, a model of peer engagement and support, and a pipeline for women into the fields of EE and CS.  Humphreys' life-long mission to diversify the global population of computer scientists and engineers is the subject of July's Notable Women of EECS profile.

Gary May: "George Floyd could have been me"

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, has penned an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle titled "UC Davis chancellor: George Floyd could have been me" in which he observes that "at a traffic stop, no one knows I am a chancellor. No one knows I have a doctorate."  He explains that building an inclusive society that recognizes and respects people of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and a wide variety of political views, gender identities, and personal experiences, will increase our capacity to "make discoveries and solve problems."  "It requires collective effort," he writes.  "It requires each one of us, in our own way, working to make a difference, whether that’s through video recording, peaceful protest or working to change procedures that reflect bias."

professor ruzena bajcsy

Ruzena Bajcsy wins 2020 NCWIT Pioneer in Tech Award

EECS Prof. Ruzena Bajcsy has won the 2020 NCWIT Pioneer in Tech Award which "recognizes technical women whose lifetime contributions have significantly impacted the landscape of technological innovation, amplifying the importance of capitalizing on the diverse perspectives that girls and women can bring to the table. "   Bajcsy pioneered a new area of study within the field of robotics called Active Perception and was the first to argue that robots should be able to autonomously control the movements of their own sensors and other apparatus for interacting with their environment. She  is known for creating the  first 3D computer atlas of the human brain, which revolutionized brain surgery by allowing doctors to more accurately locate tumors.  Bajcsy also pioneered the process of elastic matching "in which computers match defined points in the human body with standardized medical images, enabling non-invasive diagnostics of the brain and other organs."  Like other winners of the award, Bajcsy serves as a role model whose legacy continues "to inspire generations of young women to pursue computing and make history in their own right."

Susan Graham: the sole woman professor in Berkeley EECS for 17 years

CS Prof. Emerita Susan Graham, the first and only woman professor in the EECS department for 17 years,  is the subject of a profile in the Daily Cal in honor of the 150th anniversary of women at Berkeley.  Graham arrived in the CS department (then part of the College of Letters & Science) in 1971, became the first woman professor in the College of Engineering in 1973 when the CS department merged with the EECS department, and remained the only woman on the EECS faculty until the arrival of Avideh Zakhor in 1988.  Graham, who played a key role in the development of Berkeley Unix, is known for her work in software tools, programming language implementation, high-performance computing and software development environments.  She is the "Ace of Diamonds" in the "Notable Women in Computing" playing cards and appears in the "Notable Women in Tech" online solitaire game.

Ruzena Bajcsy wins 2020 RISE! Women Leader Award

Ruzena Bajcsy has won a 2020 RISE! Women Leader Award from the UC Berkeley Gender Equity Resource Center in the Division of Equity and Inclusion.  RISE! Leader Awards highlight "the exceptional endeavors and efforts of women leaders as they continue to support and empower our community of Berkeley women through their participation and representation" and recognize women who have demonstrated "strong leadership, care and love for the community, as well as, inspired resilience in other women."  Bajcsy was honored at the RISE! Celebrating Women, Community Love and Leadership celebration on March 4th.

Women In Tech at Berkeley

The 4th Annual Women In Tech Symposium, part of the Women In Tech Initiative (WITI) will be held at UC Berkeley on Friday, March 6, 2020.  The theme will be "Reimagining Cybersecurity for All."  Many members of the EECS community will be involved, including: alumna and Prof. Dawn Song (PhD '02) - opening remarks; WITI@UC co-founder and dean of Engineering Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu - fireside chat; Prof. Raluca Ada Popa - Panel: What’s at Stake? Global and Systemic Cyber Threats;  and CITRIS Director Prof. Costas Spanos - Athena Awards presentation. Tickets will be available until Monday, March 2nd.

EECS kicks off Berkeley 150W with ten "first" women

In celebration of the anniversary of 150 Years of Women at Berkeley (150W) in 2020, the EECS department will profile a number of remarkable women who have studied or worked here.  This month, Berkeley EECS is highlighting ten trailblazing women who were the first to reach important milestones over the past 50 years.  Learn how professors Susan Graham, Avideh Zakhor, Shafi Goldwasser and Tsu-Jae King Liu, and alumnae Kawthar Zaki, Carol Shaw, Paula Hawthorn, Barbara Simons, Deborah Estrin, and Susan Eggers, broke through glass ceilings on campus, in their fields, in industry, and in the world.

Celebrating 150 Years of Women at Berkeley

2020 is the 150th anniversary of the first year women students were admitted to UC Berkeley.  EECS Emerita Director of Diversity and unofficial department historian Sheila Humphreys is co-chairing the History Steering Committee for the year-long campus celebration, for which she will be collecting, creating and archiving information about the history of the contributions of women to UC Berkeley.  The EECS department will post stories throughout the year, highlighting the extraordinary women of EECS and the impact they have made on our community and the world.  If you have any information or ideas to share, please contact 150w@berkeley.edu or upload them to the 150W History Project website.

Kirk Tramble, one of three generations of Cal Bears

Alumnus Kirk Tramble (B.S. EECS 1993) is both the son and father of proud UC Berkeley alumni.  His father, Thomas, earned a B.A. in Sociology/African American Studies in 1971, and his son, Gabriel, graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies in 2018.  The family is profiled in a Cal Alumni article which compares their experiences as Black students at Cal during three different eras.  Kirk arrived on campus at a time when academic support for students of color was at an all-time high, and watched as everything changed after the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996, when the percentage of black students dropped from 8% to 2%.  “The response [to Prop 209] was to ultimately shut down many of the programs that were the highest serving programs for African Americans on campus,” he said.  He and his father now administer a scholarship offered by the African American Initiative to encourage and support Black students at Cal.