Carlotta Berry Honored for Inspiring Others in STEM

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Carlotta Berry teaching in a classroom

Carlotta Berry, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, received Indianapolis’ Women & Hi Tech’s Leading Light award for her efforts to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.

Indianapolis’ Women & Hi Tech organization has presented its 2018 Leading Light award in the “You Inspire Us!” category to Carlotta Berry, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, for her efforts to encourage young people to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

Berry was recognized Oct. 4 at a special biennial gala event celebrating women of achievement in STEM fields. This year’s awards brought a record number of nominations for women who are innovators in their industries, and have shown expertise, professionalism, leadership and service throughout their careers.

Rose-Hulman biomedical engineering professor Renee Rogge was a finalist for Outstanding Educator in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math category; and several Rose-Hulman students were nominated for scholarships sponsored by Women & Hi Tech.

Berry co-founded Rose-Hulman’s Building Undergraduate Diversity (RoseBUD) scholarship 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 computer, electrical, software engineering and computer science majors.

She also has helped student scholars organize Student Projects Advocating Resourceful Knowledge (SPARK), an annual campus 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; an award-winning volunteer and judge for FIRST Robotics program competitions throughout Indiana and the championship event in St. Louis; and a guest speaker at Women in Engineering outreach events at Smith College (Massachusetts), Eastern Illinois University and Tennessee State University. She has organized STEM activities for central Indiana Girl Scout groups, and visited elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Indiana and Illinois to encourage student interests in robotics.

Berry also 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,” Berry says. “I wanted to change the face of engineering by showing that the profession could be cool, interesting, exciting, engaging, and, most importantly, diverse.”

Rogge, the past Samuel F. Hulbert Chair of Biomedical Engineering, has been recognized as Rose-Hulman’s outstanding teacher (2018) and academic scholar (2014), and involved dozens of students in a variety of groundbreaking research projects in biomaterials, biomechanics and body modeling. Some of these projects have been conducted in the Orthopedic Biomedical Engineering Laboratory on campus, with the Joint Replacement Surgeons of Indiana.

Women & Hi Tech members work to connect female STEM professionals and to change the landscape of women represented in STEM so that it is equally inclusive to all.