This page documents the people and history of computer science at Bryn Mawr College (cs.brynmawr.edu). See also the frequently asked questions at WhatIsComputerScience. For links to the history of computer science see ComputerScienceHistory.
Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College ventured into a two-college Computer Science program in 1987-88. Prior to that, faculty in other disciplines, most notably Jay Anderson (Chemistry), Maria Louisa (Weecha) Crawford (Geology), John Pruett (Physics), George Zimmerman (Chemistry), and George Weaver (Philosophy), taught occasional computational courses. Starting in 1988, students were allowed to Minor in Computer Science at Bryn Mawr College. Perhaps the first Independent Majors in Computer Science were Jaya Kanal and Laura La Gassa (Class of 1987). Deepak Kumar joined the Mathematics Department in 1993.
In Spring 2000, Bryn Mawr College, under the leadership of its current president, Nancy Vickers, embarked on a plan to expand the Computer Science program. In 2001, Douglas Blank joined the Computer Science program. Dianna Xu joined the program in 2004. The program became an independent entity from the Mathematics Department in 2004. In 2004 a new Minor in Computational Methods was designed and approved by the college.
Computer Science became a regular major at the college in Fall 2005. Audrey Flattes and Sara McCullough were the first to graduate with a B.A. in Computer Science from Bryn Mawr College in 2006.
In 2004-05 we also created a new Minor in Computational Methods. The Minor is designed to encourage students across the college to augment their own Majors with computational methods applied to their own disciplines. In 2006, Ben Kosky, a Haverford College students, a Cities Major was the first to graduate with a Minor in Computational Methods.
The current state of the program can be viewed by clicking the link above.
The following is a list of graduates from Bryn Mawr who either graduated in computer science, or went on to do important work in computer related areas.
Julia Ward (1923 - 1942)
Julia Ward graduated from Bryn Mawr as a History major in 1923. She began working for Bryn Mawr College in 1923 as a residence-hall warden and subsequently held a variety of deanships at the college. She earned her PhD. in history from Bryn Mawr in 1940. She left the college to join the Signal Security Agency, the US Army's cryptologic organization, in 1942, as a librarian in the agency's reference section. Ward transformed the section from a poorly organized unit of limited scope into a highly respected organization to which other federal agencies came for information. She was one of the highest ranking female officers of the National Security Agency (NSA) until her death in 1962.
In June 2002, Julia Ward was inducted into the NSA's Cryptologic Hall of Honor at the National Cryptologic Museum in Baltimore, MD. She was honored for outstanding contributions to American codebreaking during World War II and the years immediately following it. A commemorative plaque recieved by the college mentions that she, "set reporting standards and used early information-management techniques to support cryptology."
Martha Evens (1955)
Martha graduated summa from BMC in 1955 with a major in Math (and having taken many courses in Greek). She shared the European Fellowship (with Nancy Degenhardt, Greek major). Martha was President of the Classics Club and played field hockey and basketball.
Martha's first meeting with a computer was in the summer of 1957 when she received an MA in Mathematics from Radcliffe and was hired as a "Mathematician" by Oliver Selfridge at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. The computer at that moment was an IBM 709, which became a 7090 when Martha went back to Lincoln Laboratory in the summer of 1958. She did get to take a class in FORTRAN II using the first FORTRAN compiler shipped out of IBM in 1958.
Martha notes: "I also drove the two boxes of cards containing the first Lisp Interpreter from MIT to Lincoln Lab as a favor to a friend - and only later realized what a big part Lisp was to play in my life and work."
In the late 1950's, Martha worked on the first ever spelling correction program at MIT's Lincoln Labs. She finished her PhD in Computer Science from Northwestern University in 1975. Subsequently, she became a member of the Computer Science faculty at Illinois Institute of Technology and has been there ever since. During her illustrious career at IIT, Martha has served as advisor or coadvisor of over 100 PhD students.
Sally Yeates Sedelow (1960)
Sally Yeates Sedelow (with her husband Walter A. Sedelow Jr.) pioneered methods of automated analysis of language and discourse, stylistic analysis, lexical databases (Roget's Thesaurus) and computer applications in the humanities.
Sally is Professor Emerita from the University of Arkansas. She graduated with a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College in 1960 and was subsequently first researcher, then consultant at the System Development Corporation (1962 - 1967); Associate Professor of English and of Computer & Informaton Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1966 - 1970); Director of the Techniques and Systems Program of the National Science Foundation (1974 - 1976); Director of the Intelligent Systems Program of the National Science Foundation (1976 - 1977); Professor of Computer Science and of Linguistics at the University of Kansas (1970 - 1985); Professor of Computer Science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (1985 - 1995).
She and Walter retired from Kansas in 1985 and moved to Arkansas, where they taught at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock for ten years. She edited "Current Trends in Computer Uses for Language Research" in 1976.
Elaine Surick Oran (1966)
Dr Oran received a B.A. Degree in both Physics and Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College in 1966, an M.Ph from the Department of Physics at Yale University and a Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Yale University.
Dr. Elaine Oran has contributed significantly to the advancement of the engineering profession by pioneering a computational technology, which has unified engineering, scientific and mathematical disciplines into a methodology for solving complex reactive flow problems. As Sr. Scientist for Reactive Flow Physics at the US Naval Research Lab (NRL) she has led a team that has invented and implemented many of the individual algorithms and the modern computer methodology for accurate numerical simulation of reactive flows. Applications areas include combustion, rocket and jet propulsion, reentry and microdynamic flows, material engineering and atmospheric physics and astrophysical phenomena. This methodology, derived and widely published by Dr. Oran and her colleagues, delineates problem solutions in many areas in addition to the combustion and aerospace fields. Because of the nearly universal nature and importance of reactive flows, Dr. Oran's work has opened the way for other investigators to follow and undertake definition of a broad range of previously unexplained reactive flow phenomena.
Dr. Oran is a Senior Scientist at the US Naval Research Lab. She was inducted into the Women in technology International Hall Of Fame in 2002.
Jane Robinson had just decided to learn Computer Science and start a second career when she was diagnose with a rapid-growing tumor. Jane died shortly after.
Jane Terry Nutter (1972)
Terry graduated from Bryn Mawr with a B.A. in Philosophy in 1972. She finished her PhD in Logic (advisor: John Corcoran) in the Philosophy Department at SUNY Buffalo in 1980. In 1984 she earned a Master's in Computer Science (also at SUNY Buffalo) and wrote an influential thesis on Default Reasoning in AI Systems (advisor: Stuart Shapiro). From 1981 to 2001 she was on the faculty of various Computer Science Departments: SUNY Buffalo, Tulane University, Virginia Tech, University of Connecticut, University of Mississippi, and Oklahoma State University).
Ann Dixon (1983)
Ann graduated from Bryn Mawr with an A.B.in English in 1983, and later earned a M.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania in Computer and Information Science in 1994. She was Assistant Director of Academic Computing at BMC for several years (1987 - 1993)and then Senior Director, School of Arts and Sciences Computing, at Penn. She co-founded the Serendip website (serendip.brynmawr.edu/) in 1994, and can still be found working there serendipitously.
Simson Garfinkel (1981 - 1983)
Simson was a special student at Bryn Mawr between 1981 and 1983, during which time he did independent research at the computer center and was a student staff member in the Office of Computing Services. After leaving BMC Simson became a journalist who followed the computer industry, wrote several books, and eventually earned a PhD in computer science from MIT in 2005. Simson's work in the field of computer security can be found on his website (www.simson.net).
Amy Biermann-Hughes finished her PhD in Computer Science in Fall 2002.
Additionally, Chris Erwin (Physics) who took several Computer Science courses finished her MS in Computer Science (Brown University) and has been working at Raytheon since graduating from Bryn Mawr.
In the not too distant future (add your name here!)
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