Mary Fernandez: MentorNet

2016 Talks
John Meehan
no group
March 3, 2016, 5:38 p.m.

Mary Fernandez
Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 4:00 PM
Room 368 (CIT - 3rd floor)

Hidden in Plain Sight: Changing the Face of the U.S. STEM Workforce

In the past 10 years in the U.S., growth in STEM jobs was three times greater than non-STEM jobs. Despite the many opportunities available to STEM graduates, women, African Americans and Latinos are critically under-represented in the STEM workforce and especially so in computing – the fastest growing and least diverse STEM field. We will examine macro demographic and economic trends and micro phenomena of human psychology and sociology that contribute to the current deficit of diverse STEM talent. We will also discuss interventions – like mentoring – that can help to change the face of the U.S. STEM workforce. Ultimately, our vision is that increased access to STEM education and careers will provide all citizens with the opportunity to contribute to innovation and experience prosperity.

Dr. Mary Fernández (’85-ish, ScM’89, P’16, P’19) is President of MentorNet, a division of Great Minds in STEM. Great Minds in STEM is a national non-profit with a 27-year history of advancing STEM education in under-served communities. MentorNet is an open social network that provides the opportunity for all STEM students, nationwide and in all levels of higher education, to have access to mentors who are professionals working in STEM fields. MentorNet’s guided, one-to-one mentorships help all students – especially women, under-represented minorities, and first-generation to college – to persist and succeed in their fields. Since 1998, Mary has mentored 18 MentorNet mentees and dozens of graduate students while she pursued a career in computing research.

Before joining MentorNet, Mary had a 17-year career at AT&T Labs Research, as a research computer scientist specializing in database and information systems, then as the head of distributed computing research, and finally as assistant vice president of information and software systems research. Mary received A.B. and Sc.M. degrees in computer science from Brown University and the Ph.D. in computer science from Princeton University. She and her husband Adam Buchsbaum ‘87 have two daughters, who keep her up to date on Brown and the world.

Host: Professor Tom Doeppner

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