I Am West Georgia
Job title: Associate Professor of Computer Science.
What I really do: Teach the math and concepts relating to computing, try to give the students an appreciation of computing as a science that goes beyond a skill requiring trial-and-error, mentor students, in particular, women in computing.
Years at UWG: Ten years.
One thing I would change about UWG: Set the thermostat to 80°F in the summer, but thanks to the energy conservation initiative I don’t need a jacket any more in my office during the summer.
I was born in: Germany.
Family members are: My two sons Stefan (7 years) and Kai (5 years), animals of all kind and shape (length limited to 2 inches). My extended family lives in Germany.
People describe me as: Quiet, serious (I am actually very funny, but nobody laughs at my jokes).
Most colleagues don’t know that: I first studied math because I thought computer science is boring.
Favorite things to do: If I get time, I like to hike, bike, travel, read, swim if the temperature is above 95°F.
Favorite quote: “We must become the change we want to see.” - Mahatma Gandhi.
Proudest accomplishment so far: Successfully completing the Ph.D. as a first-generation college student. (My parents have only 8th grade educations, which was the standard education in the German countryside at their time.)
Pet peeve: None.
Best advice ever received: If somebody gives you a hard time, typically the person is having a hard time. So don’t attribute another person’s actions to malice, just move forward on your own way.
Best advice for new faculty and staff: Learn about and learn from your colleagues' work, but find the niche that fits you.
What I most want to contribute to students: The understanding that success is not given to you by birth, but through hard work, persistence and passion.
The book everyone should read: None I know.
The movie everyone should watch: I haven’t watched any movie for a long time, except for an occasional children’s movie.
The person, dead or alive, I’d most like to meet: Ada Lovelace. She had an incredible passion for science that she pursued in spite of all the obstacles she experienced in her life.
Although you didn’t ask, I’d like to tell you anyway: In the mid '80s, nearly 40% of the bachelor’s graduates in computer science were women. In 2010, only 13.8% of the bachelor’s graduates in computer science were women. The underrepresentation of women is attributed to several factors, including the perceived geek-culture. We have founded the group CSWoW (Computer Science Women of West Georgia) of students, faculty, staff and professionals in computer science to counteract the increasing gender gap. Last year we attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, organized high-school visits, a computer science fair, and held various social events.
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