Maria Klawe is currently Dean of Engineering and a professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. She moved to Princeton in January 2003 from the University of British Columbia where she served as Dean of Science from 1998 to 2002, Vice-President of Student and Academic Services from 1995 to 1998, and Head of the Department of Computer Science from 1988 to 1995. Prior to UBC, Maria spent eight years with IBM Research in California, and two years at the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. (1977) and B.Sc. (1973) in Mathematics from the University of Alberta.
Maria has made significant research contributions in several areas of mathematics and computer science including functional analysis, discrete mathematics, theoretical computer science, interactive-multimedia for mathematics education, and human computer interaction. At UBC she founded and directed (from 1992 to 2002) the EGEMS project, a collaborative project on the design and use of computer games in enhancing mathematics education for grades 4 to 9. During the decade from 1993 to 2002 EGEMS developed several innovative and successful prototype games, and did seminal work in identifying important factors in the design of effective educational software. EGEMS research also studied the role of gender in technology-based learning environments and identified significant gender differences in how students interact with computers and software. This research was extended under the auspices of the NSERC-IBM Chair for Women in Science and Engineering that Maria held from 1997 to 2002, and the SWIFT (Supporting Women in Information Technology) project on how to attract and retain women in information technology careers.
Maria is a co-founder of the Aphasia Project, a joint UBC- Princeton multidisciplinary research project investigating how technology can be designed to support individuals with aphasia in their daily life. Aphasia is an acquired cognitive disorder that affects a person's ability to speak, read, and write as well as understand spoken words. The project uses a participatory design approach to explore how hand-held based applications that combine images, text, and sound might improve the level of autonomy and quality of life for aphasics.
Maria was one of the founders and is currently Chair of the Board of Silicon Chalk, a Vancouver-based company producing software to support interactive learning and collaboration in classes where each student has a wirelessly communicating laptop computer (see www.siliconchalk.com). She is Past President of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) in New York, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT) in Palo Alto, and a Trustee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, and the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics in Los Angeles.
Maria has served on many boards and advisory councils of other organizations. These include the American Mathematical Society, the Computing Research Association, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Maria was elected as a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery in 1995. Her recent awards included Wired Woman Pioneer, Canadian New Media Educator of the Year, the University of Alberta Distinguished Alumni Award, and honorary doctorates from Queen’s University, the University of Waterloo, and Ryerson University.
Maria likes to spends her spare time with her two children (Janek, 22 and Sasha, 19), and husband, Nick Pippenger (a theoretical computer scientist). She is also a dedicated watercolor artist, runner, kayaker and electric guitarist.