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Carlotta Berry Honored for Inspiring Women in STEM

Thursday, August 18, 2016
Carlotta Berry Robotics

STEM Role Model: Carlotta Berry, associate professor, inspires students to follow in her footsteps in electrical and computer engineering.

Electrical and computer engineering professor Carlotta Berry has been selected one of INSIGHT Into Diversity's 2016 Inspiring Women in STEM for her efforts to encourage the next generation of young people to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

The national publication annually highlights women making a difference in STEM fields through teaching, mentoring, research, and groundbreaking discoveries and innovations. A total of 37 women are featured in the September issue for serving as role models to students and professionals.

Berry co-founded Rose-Hulman's Building Undergraduate Diversity (RoseBUD) program, which encourages students from underrepresented groups toward STEM careers. The program, supported by the National Science Foundation, has helped increase diversity in the institute's student body, especially among electrical engineering majors.

She also has help organize Student Projects Advocating Resourceful Knowledge (SPARK), an event that brings together high school and college students to work on Rube Goldberg-themed projects, learn about the design process, and be encouraged toward STEM careers. SPARK is sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Halliburton, and ArcelorMittal.

Berry has been co-director of Rose-Hulman's multidisciplinary robotics academic program; been a volunteer and judge for FIRST Robotics program competitions throughout Indiana and the World Finals in St. Louis; and been guest speaker at Women in Engineering outreach events at Smith College (Massachusetts), Eastern Illinois University, and Tennessee State University. She has visited elementary, middle school, and high schools throughout Indiana and Illinois to encourage student interests in robotics, and wrote opinion pieces for The New York Times and the American Society of Engineering Education's Prism magazine that highlight national issues of professors of underrepresented groups, especially for women in electrical and computer engineering.

"I became an engineering professor 20 years ago while sitting in class and realizing that I had never had a professor who looked like me, acted like me, or even seemed interested in me," the associate professor says. "I wanted to change the face of engineering by showing that the profession could be cool, interesting, exciting, engaging, and, most importantly, diverse."