Renowned computer scientist, scholar to speak at CSUSB


Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont and world-renowned computer scientist and scholar, will speak at Cal State San Bernardino on increasing number of women in technology careers.

Maria Klawe

Maria Klawe

Part of CSUSB’s Gerald M. Scherba lecture series, the presentation will be on Thursday, Jan. 31, beginning with a reception at 5 p.m. in the Santos Manuel Student Union Rooms 217/218, followed by the lecture at 6 p.m. in the student union theater. The lecture is free and open to the public. Parking is $5 per vehicle on campus.

Klawe, who is the first female president to lead HMC since its founding in 1955, has been a leading scholar and scientist in the field of computer science and technology both nationally and internationally. She has made significant research contributions in several areas of mathematics and computer science, including gender issues in information technology, functional analysis, discrete mathematics, theoretical computer science, human-computer interaction and interactive-multimedia for mathematics education.

“What I find astonishing about Dr. Klawe’s accomplishments at HMC is how she has managed to raise the percentage of female computer science students from 12 to 40 percent,” said Kerstin Voigt, professor and director of CSUSB’s School of Computer Science and Engineering.

“And she’s done this by making Python the first programming language that computer science students encounter in their early courses. Such results are intriguing and encouraging, not only to computer science, but also to other STEM disciplines with disproportionately low numbers of participating females.”

In a December interview with Rochester Institute of Technology, where she presented, Klawe said that she “felt like an imposter for much of her career as a woman in the male-dominated field of computer science.” Today, as president of HMC, she works to bridge the gender gap, finding best practices to attract and retain women in the field of computing.

Prior to joining HMC, Klawe served as dean of engineering and professor of computer science at Princeton University. There, she led the School of Engineering and Applied Science through a strategic planning exercise that created an exciting and widely embraced vision for the school, and has led a similarly ambitious strategic planning initiative, “HMC 2020: Envisioning the Future” at Harvey Mudd.

Klawe joined Princeton from the University of British Columbia, and previously spent eight years with IBM Research in California, and two years at the University of Toronto.

Klawe is one of just 10 members of the board of Microsoft Corp., and she also serves on the boards of Broadcom Corp. and the nonprofit Math for America. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a trustee for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, and a member of both the Stanford Engineering Advisory Council and the Advisory Council for the Computer Science Teachers Association.

Born in Toronto, Canada, she became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009. Klawe earned her bachelor’s, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Alberta in mathematics.

The Gerald M. Scherba Endowed Program Lecture Series is presented by CSUSB’s College of Natural Sciences and co-sponsored by the School of Computer Science and Engineering student club. The series is designed to offer the public a clear understanding of the natural sciences and what they contribute to the world.

The series is named after Cal State San Bernardino founding faculty member Gerald Scherba, the first science professor hired in 1962 by then-San Bernardino-Riverside State College founding president, John M. Pfau. The university opened in 1965.

Scherba first served as chair for the Natural Sciences Division. In 1968, he became the first dean of academic affairs at Cal State San Bernardino. In 1984, he was named director for the California State University Field Station for Research and Education in Zyzzx, Calif. He retired in 1994 and passed away in 2001.

For more information about the lecture, contact CSUSB professor Kerstin Voigt at (909) 537-5326.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit