Dr. Carla Brodley, currently the Dean of the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University (NEU), is the recipient of the 2016 Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award.
Sponsored by the NCWIT Board of Directors, the award recognizes faculty members from non-profit institutions who combine outstanding research and accomplishments with excellence in graduate mentoring, as well as those who advocate for recruiting, encouraging, and promoting women and minorities in computing fields. It is given in memory of Mary Jean Harrold and David Notkin, in honor of their outstanding research, graduate mentoring, and diversity contributions.
Dr. Brodley will be honored at the 2016 NCWIT Summit on Women and IT, and her institution will receive a $5,000 gift from NCWIT.
In a letter of recommendation from a colleague at Tufts, Dr. Brodley said it would be a “great honor” to be nominated for the award, as she knew both Mary Jean and David, and she has “deep respect for their professional accomplishments and for their commitment to mentoring at all levels.”
Prior to her role at NEU, Dr. Brodley was a professor of the Department of Computer Science and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Tufts University. It was during her time there that she was nominated for the prestigious award.
“There is absolutely no way I would have pursued my PhD, if it were not for Carla,” said Byron C. Wallace, an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin in the School of Information and the Department of Computer Science. “Carla continued to take time out of her impossibly busy schedule to meet with me and discuss potential research ideas. (She) took the lead on writing a proposal, mentoring me in grantsmanship. Ultimately, this proposal funded my PhD.”
In her last 20 years of work, Dr. Brodley has graduated 11 PhD students, more than any other faculty member in the Computer Science Department at Tufts University, and she is still mentoring two students, one of whom will graduate this spring.
Awarding Dr. Brodley and past recipients with the Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award continually highlights the importance of developing positive mentor and mentee relationships throughout all stages of a student’s education. According to Million Women Mentors, four in 10 female students interested in STEM career fields report having a mentor in their life, yet only four percent of these female students were encouraged to pursue their STEM field by a mentor.
Jennifer Dy, an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University and another one of Dr. Brodley’s PhD students, offered a prime example of how having Dr. Brodley as her mentor has been instrumental in her success in research and academia.
“Whenever I felt that my research was not going anywhere, she somehow helped me find light and direction… Even her emails were encouraging and motivational,” said Jennifer. “The relationship between a PhD student and her advisor is a special one. Carla has been an important part of my growth in research and in life.”
More than three in four female high school students interested in STEM fields who already do have mentors feel that they will be successful in pursuing a career in STEM. That’s why NCWIT has created resources like NCWIT Tips: 8 Ways to Give Students More Effective Feedback Using a Growth Mindset to help mentors and educators alike make the most impact during their time with students. It is also why NCWIT has and will continue to give out the Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award, as a way to highlight exemplary mentor and mentee relationships.
Currently, Dr. Brodley mentors the junior faculty at NEU and has also created mentoring activities for all NEU PhD students. A Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Dr. Brodley holds many leadership positions in computer science and her chosen research field of machine learning and data mining including co-chair of the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), co-chair of AAAI, and serving as an associate editor of the Journal of AI Research, the Journal of Machine Learning Research, and Machine Learning. Furthermore, she is also on the editorial boards of JMLR, Machine Learning, DKMD, DARPA’s Information Science and Technology (ISAT) Board, and member-at-large of the Information Computing and Communication Section of AAAS. She has also served on the Defense Science Study Group, the Computer Research Association Board of Directors, the AAAI Council, and she co-chaired CRA-W from 2008-2011.