FIRST FEMALE TO RECEIVE PhD IN COMPUTER ENGINEERING AT IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
Major and graduation year: Computer Science, BS ’84; Computer Engineering Engineering, MS ’86, PhD ’89
Pioneering for women in ECpE: Diane Rover, professor of electrical and computer engineering and former associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Engineering, was the first woman to earn a PhD in computer engineering at Iowa State University. Rover says she was not aware of this distinction until recently. “At the time, I was focused on my studies and projects, and I didn’t really question the environment. I had supportive people around me. I was very fortunate to have excellent mentors, both men and women. It first dawned on me that there really weren’t many women PhDs nationwide after I graduated, when I started receiving calls from universities doing faculty searches.”
Fulfilling her goals: Rover says she enjoys interacting with students and is impressed by the talents, accomplishments, and ambitions of students in the College of Engineering. “I work extensively with staff who support programs and services for students, and their dedication to helping students grow and succeed is very gratifying. It’s very fulfilling to be part of a team of faculty and staff committed to developing the next generation of engineering graduates.”
Recruiting the next generation: Rover is using two significant grants from the National Science Foundation for recruitment and retention of engineering students. One grant provides $2 million to Iowa State and Des Moines Area Community College to increase the number of engineering graduates. The other grant provides $600,000 primarily for scholarships. “These grants are helping to keep our graduates at the forefront of the engineering profession,” Rover says.
Boosting diversity: One goal of Rover’s work is to increase the diversity of engineering graduates, including minorities and women. Rover says a complex pipeline attracts and retains women and minority students in engineering. She adds that in ECpE areas, we have urgent needs to broaden participation. Rover’s work is intended to achieve that.