The UT Dallas Computer Science’s Grace Series ushered in the new year with UT Dallas’ very own, Dr. Inga H. Musselman, Interim Provost for the University of Texas at Dallas and a distinguished professor of chemistry. On January 24th, Dr. Inga Musselman’s Grace Series talk titled, “It’s a Beautiful Life,” brought in a room full of computer science, software engineering, and even chemistry students who were eager to learn more about Dr. Musselman’s journey as a female leader, researcher, and chemist.
The Grace Series Talks feature a wide range of speakers including UT Dallas Computer Science and Software Engineering alumni, UT Dallas CS/SE professors, as well as other distinguished female technologists in the field. Drs. Pushpa Kumar, Janell Straach, and Linda Morales conceived the idea of the UT Dallas Grace Series as a result of attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) Conference a few years ago. The conference, fittingly named after the woman who helped pioneer computer programming, Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, involves a series of presentations designed to bring research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Every year, GHC brings together the community of women technologists, highlighting the best minds in computing and spotlighting the contributions of women to computing. The UT Dallas Computer Science Grace Series lectures are fashioned after the GHC Conference format.
The evening began with opening remarks and introductions by Drs. Gopal Gupta, Pushpa Kumar, Janell Straach and Mrs. Mary Jane Partain, Director of the Living Learning Communities at UT Dallas. Mrs. Partain’s opening remarks addressed the new living learning community, Women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), which is being piloted next fall. The goal of the program is to increase retention of female students by offering a community of peers to provide support, a team of faculty for mentorship, coursework with an academic connection, and co-curricular programming to reinforce professional development.
Following the opening remarks, Dr. Inga Musselman warmly welcomed and thanked the full room of students and faculty members for coming to her Grace Series talk. In the course of her talk titled, “It’s a Beautiful Life,” Dr. Musselman used the theme of beauty and motivation to talk about her love for her work, research, family, and the journey she took to get to where she is now. Dr. Musselman explained her passion for chemistry, specifically on the development and application of microscopy and microanalysis methods for the study of materials structure in the areas of gas separations, fuel cells, and bionanotechnology. She has continued her research within the UTD Membranes Lab with Drs. John Ferraris, Kenneth J. Balkus, and their research students. She observed that she often finds beauty within the lab and its intricate layout.
Towards the end of her talk, Dr. Musselman urged the students to seize every moment saying, “Use your time here to take advantage of everything that UT Dallas has to offer, seek out opportunities, take some risks, accept new challenges, and celebrate the beauty that is all around you.” Dr. Musselman was full of inspiring thoughts throughout her talk, leaving her audience with the overarching advice to students to try to find beauty in everything that they do, whether it is in work, leisure, research, surroundings, family, and friends.
Since the inception of the UT Dallas Grace Series in the spring of 2015 a total of ten inspiring women have spoken including: Drs. Bhavani Thuraisingham (click here for her story), Lily Wu (click here for her story), I-Ling Yen (click here for her story), Ranran Feng (click here for her story), Sanda Harabagiu (click here for her story), Rym Zalila-Wenkstern (click here for her story), Dr. Inga H. Musselman, and distinguished industry technologists like Dr. Jo Zhang of Fujitsu Laboratories of America (click here to read her story), Lymari Ames of Cisco Systems (click here to read her story), and Romelia Flores a IBM Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor (click here to read her story).
Pictured from the left: Drs. Linda Morales, Janell Straach, Pushpa Kumar, Inga H. Musselman, Bhavani Thuraisingham and Gopal Gupta.
ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 2,100 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,000 MS master’s students, 150 PhD students, and 86 faculty members, as of Fall 2016. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.