The "T" in STEM: Irene Greif
In 1975, +Irene Greif
became the first woman to receive a PhD in computer science at +Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
. She grew up with a strong love of mathematics, thinking she'd become a teacher. When she first arrived at MIT, in 1965, she was one of only 50 women in a class of 1,000. She took various mathematics and engineering courses. These two fields went on to feed her innovation as a computer scientist at +IBM
, where she worked from the mid-1990s until her recent retirement.
Greif led research on automation in offices, among other projects, drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives from her team, that included systems engineers, ethnographers, anthropologists, sociologists and different kinds of designers. Her work focused on getting computer systems integrated with social systems. She used her senior position in her organisation to support other women, including work-life balance programs to assist working mothers and "making sure women's voices were heard at review meetings."
In many ways, she was a pioneer in her approach to technology:I think I also learned a lot about how different people think, by switching from the engineering mentality to math and back and forth, and it probably helped me in my career, in that it made me good at interdisciplinary kinds of work.It's a being-true-to-yourself thing, and having some integrity about what you're doing, that I feel good about... I think it served me well also, ending up in corporate labs where you're always trying to transfer ideas. So you have a brilliant idea, you write a great research paper about it, but how do you decide: Is this the moment to fight for transfer? So, product group's not ready, do I stick with it, or do I give up and go on to the next thing? You just always have to be reevaluating, rethinking. People are always asking me, how do you do tech transfer? And there isn't one way; it's what's right at that moment.
Read more: http://goo.gl/wE2eDb #internationalwomensday #women #computerscience #engineering #mathematics Text on photo:
I had always liked math... I liked logic problems, which I think probably drove me to computer science.- Irene Greif 1st woman to get a PhD
in Computer Science from MIT