Today, the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology will recognize Under Secretary Kristina Johnson with their Women of Vision Leadership Award. The Institute, which was founded in 1997 by renowned computer scientist Anita Borg, gives the award each year to a woman who "has led an important technology development or innovation, made a significant contribution to the technology industry, and someone who inspires others." Learn more about the Anita Borg Institute by visiting their website.
This won't be the first time Under Secretary Johnson is recognized for her leadership in the scientific community. In 2008, she became the first woman to receive the John Fritz Medal, the highest award in engineering. Under Secretary Johnson has 45 U.S. patents and patents pending (129 internationally), and her work with smart pixel arrays distinguished her as a leader in the field of optics.
Ground-breaking physicist Marie Curie once said, "You cannot help to build a better world without improving the individuals." Under Secretary Johnson has certainly embodied this ideal by nurturing the next generation of scientists and engineers during her years in academia. She recognized early on that women and minorities were vastly under-represented in the fields of science and engineering, and as Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, she helped triple the number of women faculty.
Under Secretary Johnson's focus on education has carried over to her work at the Department of Energy. She was a champion of the Administration's new RE-Energyse program -- or Regaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge -- whose mission is to work with the National Science Foundation to empower young women and men to pursue careers in science and engineering. Learn more about Under Secretary Johnson's work by reading her bio.
Thanks to role models such as Under Secretary Johnson and dedicated organizations like the Anita Borg Institute, women have more than doubled their participation among U.S. science and engineering graduates over the last three decades. We look forward to building on this momentum in the months and years to come.
Saba Abebe is a Special Assistant at the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy (DOE) and represents DOE on the White House Council on Women and Girls