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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.

2003Rita Rodriguez

2003 Habermann Award Awardee Program Director in the Division of Experimental and Integrative Activities in the CISE directorate at NSF

Rita Rodriguez is recognized for her impact on minority students, faculty, and institutions throughout the country by constantly striving to improve the quality of programs at minority institutions. Her energy and devotion in helping the members of underrepresented groups in the computing science community is well known.

Dr. Rodriguez is a Program Director in the Division of Experimental and Integrative Activities (EIA) in the CISE directorate at NSF. She began her NSF career in 1995 in the CISE Office of Cross-Disciplinary Activities. She immediately took over the direction of the Minority Institution Infrastructure (MII) Program and CISE’s international involvement-including the NSF-CONACyT Program for collaborative research with Mexico.

Under the direction of Dr. Rodriguez, the MII Program clearly emphasized depth rather than breadth in its considerations, and this became clear to applicants and reviewers alike. The program sought to strengthen research and academics in these predominantly minority institutions by creating true models that improved “the pipeline” from undergraduate to Ph.D. over the long term. The guidance Rodriguez has provided to institutions emphasized investments with potential for significant long-term impact. She collaborated with program directors of different divisions and directorates to multiply the available financial support for these institutions, improving minority opportunities and fostering wider research interactions in CISE activities. Through collaboration with other NSF divisions and directorates, Dr. Rodriguez brought many millions of dollars into the CISE women and minorities computing communities in joint support.

Since returning to EIA in 2001, Dr. Rodriguez has once again been on the forefront of the NSF programs dealing with women and minorities. She has put in extra effort to promote these programs, to encourage PIs, and to assure that funding reaches as many well-qualified members of the CISE community as possible.

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