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Jacobs School Associate Dean Jeanne Ferrante Receives 2007 Educator Pinnacle Award

 Jeanne
Jeanne Ferrante (at podium) challenges engineers to focus on teamwork and service at Athena Pinnacle Awards Ceremony April 20.
April 20, 2007 -- Jeanne Ferrante, professor of computer science and Associate Dean of the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering, today received the 2007 Educator Pinnacle Award from Athena, the leadership organization for women executives in San Diego’s technology, life sciences, and healthcare sectors. 

Athena Pinnacle Awards are presented annually to individuals and organizations who have made a significant impact on the development and promotion of skilled and talented women.

“Jeanne is a research pioneer and extraordinary role model who provides enormous inspiration to young women in computer science and in engineering,” says Fran Berman, Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center and professor of computer science at UCSD.

Ferrante was honored for her many successful efforts to encourage women to pursue 

 Lakeside
UCSD engineering students monitor water quality along San Diego River for the Lakeside Conservency, one of the community clients served through the Jacobs School's Teams in Engineering Service Program.
careers in engineering, and her leadership in support of women at UC San Diego.   Ferrante founded the Teams in Engineering Service (http://ties.ucsd.edu/) in 2004.  TIES is an innovative service-learning academic program that puts UCSD undergraduates and their technical and creative skills to work for San Diego non-profit organizations. Multi-disciplinary teams of UCSD students design, build and deploy projects that solve technology-based problems for their community clients.  Projects range from sensor-based smart furnishings for seniors in an assisted living community to adaptive toys for children with cerebral palsy. More than 100 students per quarter participate in the program which currently serves nine community clients.  While team engineering has become a hallmark of engineering education at the Jacobs School,  Ferrante aims to make community service an equal component. 

Ferrante is also the principal investigator of a new environmental education initiative.  She is working with UCSD engineering faculty,  a team of TIES students, and San Diego Supercomputer staff to help San Diego county middle school  students monitor the air quality, solar radiation, and other environmental factors surrounding their own schools; and to create a multi-player online science challenge game designed specifically to attract 12-15 year-old girls. 

“There is a critical leak in the talent pipeline, when girls lose their enthusiasm for math and science in the vulnerable years between 6th and 9th grade,” says Ferrante.   “We know that one of the best ways to keep girls engaged is to show them how engineering and computing connects with issues in their own lives.”

Ferrante has been a champion of female students, faculty and staff at UCSD and a strong leader promoting women’s interests on campus.  As a computer science professor, she co-founded and advises the UCSD Women in Computing group.  She serves as a mentor to female graduate students, nurturing them into successful careers in academia and industry.  In addition, Ferrante leads the  UCSD partnership with MentorNet, an organization that matches engineering and science students with mentors from industry, government and higher education for one-on-one, email-based mentoring relationships.

In her role as Associate Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering, Ferrante founded the UCSD Women’s Leadership Alliance, which promotes leadership development and recognition of women campus leaders. She has worked successfully to increase diversity of the engineering faculty, and for her efforts, she was recognized as UCSD Community Champion for Diversity in 2004.

A distinguished computer scientist, Ferrante recently received the prestigious 2006 SIGPLAN Programming Languages Achievement Award given by the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM). ACM praised Ferrante and her colleagues for their development of Static Single Assignment (SSA) as a "significant and lasting contribution to the field of programming languages."   Ferrante is also a Fellow of the ACM as well as the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

Ferrante received her Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1974. She taught for four years at Tufts University, before joining the computer science department of IBM’s  T.J. Watson Research Center in 1978. Ferrante remained on the research staff at IBM for sixteen years, until joining UCSD's Computer Science and Engineering faculty in 1994.  She served as department Chair from 1996-1999, and  has  been Associate Dean of the Jacobs School since 2002.

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