GetHeadline="Francioni receives Presidential Award"
Currents Magazine - Fall 2005 > Back Issues > Currents Magazine - Fall 2004 > Francioni receives Presidential Award
Francioni receives Presidential Award
||President Bush honors WSU Computer Science Chair as a role model for women in the computer science field.
Caption: Professor Joan Francioni receives presidential recognition for her achievements in the field of computer science.
Winona State University Chair of the Department of Computer Science, Dr. Joan Francioni, received recognition from the President George W. Bush for her part in helping achieve the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The award was given to the Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W).
"I feel honored that the work was recognized at the national level and by the President's office," said Francioni, "and I feel encouraged that people see our work as a worthwhile cause."
CRA-W is a committee within the Computing Research Association (CRA) made up of approximately 17-20 people from different academic and industry departments of computer science, computer engineering and related fields. The goal of CRA-W is 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 industry problems that often fall disproportionately on women.
Francioni has been a member of CRA since 1997. She joined CRA-W after recognizing there was a lack of women in the computer science field.
"I have been aware of the small number of women in the computer science field for years," said Francioni. "For example, when I was in graduate school there was only one other female. Out of 12 professors in the computer science department at WSU I am the only woman, and even in the classes I teach there are relatively few women." The 2003 Presidential Award cites CRA-W's work providing "hands-on research experiences, mentoring, role models and information exchange to women pursuing careers in the field." The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director, John H. Marburger, III, presented CRA-W representatives with the award at a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., on May 6, 2004.
Carla Ellis, co-chair of CRA-W from Duke University, says Winona State University should be extremely proud of Francioni's contributions to the work of CRA-W in encouraging women undergraduates to pursue research in computer science.
"She has led one of the key programs that this award recognizes, namely, the Collaborative Research Experiences for Women project," said Ellis. "Through her involvement in CRA-W, Professor Francioni has had an impact on a great number of women undergraduate computer science majors."
While the work of the committee isn't specifically for WSU, the impact can be felt at Winona State University. The aim of the committee is to increase the number and success of women in computing research and higher education across the country. Francioni's role helps bring awareness regarding the lack of women in computer science fields to WSU's campus, and it also allows WSU's voice to be heard.
"Serving on this committee," said Francioni, "allows me to put forward some of the concerns and issues faced in small liberal arts colleges at a national level."
In a message from President Bush read by Marburger at the award ceremony, Bush noted new technology was redefining the American workplace and that, "in order to stay on the leading edge we must ensure the participation of people from diverse backgrounds and experiences."
Minnesota Congressman Gil Gutknecht commended Francioni for her commitment to research and helping young people. "As vice chairman of the U.S. House Science Committee, I understand the need for more women to become involved in science and technology fields," said Gutknecht. "Dr. Francioni is an outstanding example for young women to follow."
CRA-W was one of just eight institutional winners of the annual award, given to those organizations identified as leaders in the national effort to more fully develop the nation's human resources in science, mathematics and engineering. In addition to the Presidential Citation, the award also includes $10,000 to be used by CRA-W to further its efforts.
Last Modified: Friday, October 06, 2006 11:18 by Rhone Richard