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archivesA. Nico Habermann Award

CRA makes this award, usually annually, to a person who has made outstanding contributions aimed at increasing the numbers and/or successes of underrepresented groups in the computing research community. This award recognizes work in areas of government affairs, educational programs, professional societies, public awareness, and leadership that has a major impact on advancing these groups in the computing research community. Recognized contributions can be focused directly at the research level or at its immediate precursors, namely students at the undergraduate or graduate levels.

1997Andrew Bernat

1997 Habermann Award Awardee Founding Chair, Computer Science and Engineering, UTEP

Dr. Bernat is the founding chair of his department, and he has created what is arguably the best computer science department at a minority institution. The UTEP CS department has an active research program, with competitive funding from NSF and AFOSR. The department was one of the first to be awarded a minority infrastructure grant from NSF/CISE.

The UTEP undergraduate program is CSAB-accredited, and the graduates of the UTEP bachelor’s and master’s CS programs are to be found in CS doctoral programs at leading universities (Michigan, UT Austin), and at major corporations. Dr. Bernat has also been a leader in the organization of CS departments at minority institutions (ADMI). He has held several ADMI offices, and he has written grant proposals on behalf of ADMI that have been funded. He has organized ADMI meetings that have made it possible for department chairs at minority institutions to hear talks by leading figures in the CS research community.

Dr. Bernat is also extremely active in CS education. He is a member of the Educational Activities Board of IEEE-CS, and he is a participant in an NSF-funded project to reform the introductory CS curriculum (the principal investigators are Allen Tucker of Bowdoin, Keith Barker of Connecticut, and Joe Turner of Clemson). He is also a co-author of a published introductory CS textbook that has its roots in the Bowdoin component of the NSF project). Dr. Bernat has been unique in his successful effort to bring a predominantly minority institution to the CS research frontier.

Dr. Bernat’s academic training and professional experience before he came to UTEP in 1982. He received the BS in physics from Harvey Mudd College (1970) and the MS (1973) and PhD (1976) in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. He held research positions in astronomy at Kitt Peak and other observatories. Dr. Bernat is currently director of the NSF-funded Model Institutions of Excellence project at UTEP. He is a major player in the NSF-supported joint US-Mexico workshops on computer science and engineering, and he organized the first of these workshops, held in El Paso in 1994.

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