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Topic: Stanford names Persis Drell 1st female dean of engineering
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Stanford names Persis Drell 1st female dean of engineering
Posted: Jun 21, 2014 9:05 PM
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From the San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, June 5, 2014. See
Stanford names Persis Drell 1st female dean of engineering

By Kristen V. Brown

Stanford has hired the first female dean of its school of engineering.

Persis Drell, 58, is a former director of the SLAC National
Accelerator Laboratory and a professor of physics at Stanford's
School of Humanities and Sciences.

Drell will assume her new post Sept. 1. She will be the ninth dean
since the School of Engineering was founded in 1925, succeeding Jim
Plummer, who led the school for 15 years.

In a field where women are vastly outnumbered by men, Stanford hiring
a woman to head its engineering school can be seen as a small step.
But it's also a big deal. A major obstacle standing in the way of
women pursuing engineering and computer science studies is that they
don't think of it as something that girls do. Studies have shown that
while boys associate computers with words such as "interesting" and
"video games," girls associate them with terms like "typing," "math"
and "boredom."

Having more visible female engineers is a step toward changing the
perception that engineering is a masculine field, and a woman heading
a school that has educated the brains behind many of Silicon Valley's
most innovative companies is a good start.

Stanford and UC Berkeley have attracted more women to their revamped
computer science programs.

At Stanford, female computer science enrollment has grown from 12.5
percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2013. At Cal, for the first time
since at least 1993 - as far back as university records are digitized
- there were more women than men in its beginning computer science
class last spring.

Stanford President John Hennessy said Drell "is an accomplished
researcher who has demonstrated expert leadership in guiding
innovation in science and technology."

She helped transform SLAC from a lab mostly dedicated to research in
high-energy physics to one considered a leader in other scientific
disciplines. Drell, an accomplished particle physics researcher, has
received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Science Foundation
Presidential Young Investigator Award.
Kristen V. Brown is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: kristenvbrown

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