Perry Fizzano earned a B.S. degree in computer science from Widener University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from Dartmouth College. He has been a faculty member at Western Washington University since 2007. Perry has done research in areas such as algorithms, optimization, bioinformatics and computer science education. Perry was a principal investigator on one NSF S-STEM project aimed at increasing the representation of women in computer science and math. During the span of the grant from 2011-2017 the percentage of women in his department increased from 10% to 20%. Currently, he’s serving as a co-PI on another NSF S-STEM grant aimed at preparing low-income students for careers in computer science or math. Further, the new S-STEM grant includes an educational research project aimed at understanding what most contributes to students’ sense-of-belonging, self-efficacy and computing identity.
Since taking over as chair of computer science at WWU in 2013, the department has more than tripled in size, increasing from an average of 45 graduates per year to over 150 graduates in 2017. Moreover, he has served on ten search committees and has helped to increase the diversity of the faculty in WWU’s CS Department. He’s also led several changes in the department aimed at improving the culture to encourage the success of a wider variety of students.