Leading the Way: Women in Computing & Data Science

Tanima Chatterjee

Clinical Assistant Professor of Computing & Data Sciences + Director of Undergraduate Studies

  • PhD, Universtiy of Illinois, Chicago
  • Collaborated with molecular biologists at Yale University on the use of elaborate graph theoretic concepts
  • Research focus embodies a transdisciplinary approach
  • Empowers others by sharing her story and helping others realize their inner strength

Empowering professional experience: I came to this country 10 years ago as a 23-year-old to pursue my PhD with not a single known face here. There were days when giving up and going back to the comfort of family seemed like the best option. I stayed, I persevered, and here I am today as a part of BU CDS. This entire journey made me into the woman I am today. It was a lesson that I shall always carry with me: 'This too shall pass and there's always light at the end of the horizon..." Just keep pushing!

How to pay it forward: I have had students confide in me about their difficult experiences and sharing my own experience and challenges as a student helps them realize that they are not alone and we are no different from them. But, if we decide, nothing can dim our light! Learn more about Professor Chatterjee.

Ziba Cranmer

Director, BU Spark!

  • Multi-disciplinary innovator passionate about technology driven social impact
  • Early practitioner of sustainable business innovation at Nike Inc.
  • Led a nationwide initiative supporting public sector innovators in combatting trafficking through technology
  • Empowers others by helping them find their passion

Empowering professional experience: It wasn’t until I saw the impact technology could have on the issues I care about, that I found the courage to delve into the world of computer science. It was a topic that I was deeply intimidated by, and like most people, I needed a push to jump into something that made me uncomfortable. This is probably why I am so passionate about bringing opportunities for students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems because I know there are others who, like me, are extrinsically motivated by the opportunity to make impact. What I’ve come to believe is that finding your “why” or finding what drives you, will give you the motivation to learn and grow.

How to pay it forward: Help people figure out what brings them purpose and joy, and help them find their "why" so they can tap into that motivation to learn, grow, and overcome the obstacles they will inevitably face on their journey! Learn more about Ziba Cranmer & BU Spark!

Ana Fiszbein

Assistant Professor of Computing & Data Sciences + Biology; Innovation Career Development Professor

  • PhD, University of Buenos Aires
  • Trained as a postdoctoral fellow in computational biology at MIT
  • Focused on understanding the mechanistic connections between transcription and splicing in human transcriptomics, and their dysregulation in cancer
  • Empowers others by creating open, welcoming envrionments and uplifting people of diverse backgrounds

Empowering professional experience: As a woman in science who comes from a developing country, I am specially aware of many of the challenges minorities face in our field. During my training, there were days where I felt I had to choose between having a family and being a scientist. But here I am today, trying to empower women with guidance and advice from my own experiences: although hard sometimes, it is possible to be a scientist and a mother, and enjoy both! My grandfather was a mathematician who believed in equal access to education for all and founded the first University Press in Latin America with the slogan “books at the price of 1kg of bread”. Many years later, and from a very different position, my grandfather’s values and his goal to promote access to education for all remain a key driving force of my career.

How to pay it forward: Actively recruiting women, mothers, and people from diverse backgrounds and promoting an open, safe, and welcoming environment for all. Learn more about Professor Fiszbein.

Kira Goldner

Professor of Computing & Data Sciences + Shibulal Family Career Development Assistant

  • PhD, University of Washington
  • Postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University on algorithmic mechanism design and approximation algorithms
  • Research focuses on furthering the mathematical foundations of “mechanism design for social good"
  • Empowers others by encouraging them to think differently about underrepresnted groups and how they can make an impact

Empowering professional experience: The most empowering professional experience I've had was attending a conference called "Women in Theory" at the end of my second year of graduate school. The conference is purely technical. Researchers with amazing records gave outstanding introductory talks. Attendees learned, gave lightning talks, and met other researchers in their field.  The only difference between this and any other conference is that all of the participants and speakers are women.

How to pay it forward: I think that as members of an underrepresented group, we automatically "pay it forward." Instead, I encourage people to "pay it forward" toward underrepresented groups that they are not a member of, to try and help shoulder the burden of those who already have fewer opportunities and have to fight harder. Read more about Professor Goldner.

Learn more about the CDS faculty community.

Maureen McCarthy, BU Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences Director of Communications