President Honors CRA-W for Mentoring Students

May 7, 2004

President George W. Bush awarded the Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) the 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) for "significant achievements in mentoring women across educational levels." The current CRA-W co-chairs are Carla Ellis (Duke University) and Mary Jean Harrold (Georgia Tech).

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John H. Marburger, III, presented CRA-W representative Dr. Jan Cuny and CRA-W Co-Chair Dr. Mary Jean Harrold with the citation at a noon ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. CRA-W was one of just eight institutional winners of the annual award, given to those organizations identified as "exemplars" and leaders in the national effort to more fully develop the Nation's human resources in science, mathematics and engineering.

The award cites CRA-W's work providing "hands-on research experiences, mentoring, role models and information exchange to women pursuing careers in [the] field." CRA-W programs seek to increase the number of women involved in computer science and engineering, increase the degree of success they experience, and provide a forum for addressing problems that often fall disproportionately within women's domain.

In a message from the President read by Marburger at the ceremony, Bush noted that new technology was redefining the American workplace and that, "in order to stay on the leading edge we must insure the participation of people from diverse backgrounds and experiences."

"The programs recognized today will serve as role models [in that process]," the President's message said.

"I'm incredibly pleased that the long-term work of CRA-W has received this recognition," Harrold said. "CRA-W's success is owed to a long progression of women in computing who gave and give of their time and effort to share their knowledge and experiences with the next generation. As the President noted, the country will be well-served by continuing to increase the participation of underrepresented groups."

"The problem is particularly acute in computing," Cuny said. "Five of the 10 fastest growing occupations in the next decade will be computer related, but women make up less than a third of the IT workforce and an even smaller percentage of the academic pipeline. This underrepresentation represents a loss of talent and creativity that we will need shaping the future role of technology in society."

In addition to the Presidential Citation, the award also includes $10,000 to be used by CRA-W to further its efforts. In addition to the eight institutional awards, the President also named nine individual awards for 2004.