DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science SEAS Dean's Update

Acting Dean Sina Rabbany on Faculty Hires and Growing the Number of Women in STEM Fields

It is a month into the school year, the weather is cooler, and the leaves are turning color. Now is when universities assume their most characteristic appearance, when paradoxically the melancholy reflective face of autumn is simply a backdrop for the blooming of knowledge taking place in the confines of classrooms and laboratories.

Here at SEAS, our teaching staff has been augmented by several new hires in different disciplines, each bringing a fresh intellectual perspective to our school. Ed Currie has already had a distinguished career in the development of microcomputing, has been a chief executive of several high-tech companies, has co-founded and edited multiple industry publications including PC Magazine, has written a textbook on embedded design, and is working on two more books. He adds great luster to our Department of Computer Science. Alex Pesch comes to us from a post-doctoral stint at Cleveland State University, where he specialized in the control of machinery, and he will bolster our mechatronics emphasis in the Mechanical Engineering program. Ted Segal recently obtained his PhD from Princeton University in Civil Engineering, where he explored structures made from unconventional materials. As a member of Engineers Without Borders, he has mentored students analyzing a pedestrian rope bridge in Morocco. He will be teaching courses in structures and foundations. Angeliki Zavou specialized in Cloud Security for her PhD at Columbia University, and will be developing the Cyber Security concentration for undergraduates and graduates in Computer Science.

One of the issues that all of us in the science and engineering fields face is increasing the number of women students in our programs. While women constitute 28% of our faculty in SEAS, they account for only 20% of our 610 undergraduate students. (I do note as a sign of progress that 33% of second-year engineering students taking the first courses in mechanics and in electrical circuits are women.) In furtherance of increasing that percentage, we are sponsoring two events in October. The first, on Wednesday, October 7, is a luncheon which Professor Mauro Caputi will be holding for the female students in his first year engineering course, where they will interact with female faculty, upper-level students, and alumnae. The second is Ada Lovelace Day, named in honor of the 19th century mathematician and pioneer in computer programming. This year it is being held on Tuesday, October 13, and Danielle Horowitz, a successful 2005 alumna in Computer Science, will speak in the morning to high school students and in the afternoon to the general Hofstra community.

I am looking forward to these events, and in the meantime I hope that all of our students are enjoying the autumnal scenery, and that they are all diligently preparing for the first barrage of big exams that October inevitably brings.

 

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