2024 NCWIT Higher Ed Recognitions Award Recipients Announced

Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award

NCWIT is excited to name Dr. Klara Nahrstedt, the Grainger Distinguished Chair of Engineering Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as the recipient of the 2024 Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award

“Klara is an outstanding researcher and mentor to her own PhD students and PhD students in a wider circle around her. She has built a highly successful research group, leading to many pioneering directions in the area of multimedia systems and networking, as well as highly successful researchers in leading academic and industrial organizations and companies,” one recommender wrote.

Color photo of Dr Klara Nahrstedt wearing glasses and smiling toward the viewer

Dr. Nahrstedt has mentored and graduated 36 PhD students, with many going on to become faculty members at major research universities as well as leaders in their respective research communities. Her research interests are directed toward:

  • 3D tele-immersive systems
  • Cyber-physical system security for electric vehicles
  • Distributed systems and networking
  • Edge-cloud systems and advanced edge-cloud-based cyber-infrastructures for scientific instruments
  • Health systems
  • Quality of service
  • Resource management in Internet and mobile systems
  • Real-time security in wireless networks for trustworthy power grids
  • Trustworthy multimedia

In addition, Dr. Nahrstedt is an ACM Fellow, AAAS Fellow, IEEE Fellow, and National Academy of Engineering member who has won many best paper awards and has 35,000 citations, as well as dozens of research-based awards. As a mentor, she supports students across undergraduate, graduate, and post-doc programs to help them find their own paths and enjoy completing their research degrees. Her inclusive advising practices center around creating a sense of community and belonging for diverse mentees. She will be honored at the 2024 NCWIT Summit in Kansas City, Mo., and will also be awarded $10,000 to her institution to continue her important work.

About the Award

The Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award is sponsored by the NCWIT Board of Directors and recognizes faculty members from non-profit institutions who distinguish themselves through outstanding research and excellent graduate mentoring, as well as those who recruit, encourage, and promote women and minorities in computing. It is given in memory of Mary Jean Harrold and David Notkin, to honor their outstanding research, graduate mentoring, and diversity contributions.

Joanne McGrath Cohoon Service Award

NCWIT is excited to name Dr. Nicki Washington, Director of the Identity in Computing Lab and the Cue Family Professor of the Practice of Computer Science and Professor of the Practice in the Program of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University, the recipient of the 2024 Joanne McGrath Cohoon Service Award.

“Dr. Washington has been a fervent advocate for graduate students and early career scholars to have a platform and access to positions of power to raise our concerns and enact change. She has advocated (and fought!) for our inclusion in decision-making committees, has provided us with a platform through her organization, Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education (AiiCE), and continuously engages the broader CS education community in dialogue around issues of equity and justice,” a recommender wrote.

Color photo of Dr Nicki Washington a Black woman and leader smiling toward the viewer

Dr. Washington’s work to make computing more inclusive for people marginalized by race and gender is exemplary of how scholars can foster systemic change. She is well-known in the fields of computer science (CS), CS education research, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for her work as:

Author of “Unapologetically Dope: Lessons for Black Women and Girls on Surviving and Thriving in the Tech Field,” a book which serves as a “love letter” with practical advice for Black women navigating academic and professional CS environments and maintaining an authentic self.

Designer and professor of the Race, Gender, Class (RGC) & Computing Course, an undergraduate course at Duke that teaches social justice concepts (race, class, gender, intersectionality, bias, etc.) in a CS context, which has reached hundreds of collegiate students.

Director of the Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education (AiiCE), an NSF INCLUDES Alliance dedicated to broadening participation in computing through a collective impact approach. AiiCE works across sectors spanning K-16 education.

Founder and Director of the Cultural Competency in Computing (3C) Fellows Program, which has trained 320 faculty, administrators, and staff from 80 organizations in 5 countries on systemic change, policies, and personal practices for inclusion.

Dr. Washington’s national and international impact are impressive, and her work considers all aspects of the systemic change model and intersectionality in meaningful and profound ways by disrupting deficit attitudes and approaches. Her research and practice engages learners and challenges them to critically consider their roles and interwoven systems in creating inclusive cultures for women and other minoritized groups, and calls us to action to enact lasting individual and systemic change. She also reaches broad audiences embedded in all levels of power throughout the tech ecosystem, from K-12 students and educators to professors, administrators, and staff, and into the workforce. 

In addition, Dr. Washington conducts influential, original research as director AiiCE and helped set ABET accreditation standards for DEI and accessibility criteria. Fellows who completed her 3C Program speak highly of their personal transformation and growth, and of their empowerment to make sustainable systemic change in their home institutions and beyond. She will be honored at the 2024 NCWIT Summit in Kansas City, Mo., and will also be awarded $10,000 to her institution to continue her important work.

About the Award

The award, sponsored by AT&T, honors distinguished educators and staff who have effectively challenged and changed the systems that shape the experiences of women undergraduates in postsecondary computing programs. Award recipients demonstrate exceptional commitment to, and success in, creating long-lasting systemic change that improves the environment for all students who identify as women. The award is given in memory of Dr. Joanne McGrath Cohoon’s outstanding research and advocacy work to broaden and enrich women’s participation in computing.

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