Transgender Activist Is Honored and First Female President of a Ugandan Engineering Organization Is Elected

These and other members were featured in the news

10 January 2017

IEEE Life Fellow Lynn Conway received an honorary doctorate in engineering from the University of Victoria, B.C., Canada. She was honored for her pioneering work in computer architecture and her transgender activism.

Conway was born a boy and has chosen not to publicly disclose her birth name. During the 1960s she worked as a computer engineer at IBM, in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. She invented generalized dynamic instruction handling, which is used by most modern computer processors to improve performance. After Conway underwent gender transition surgery in 1968, she was fired from IBM. She rebuilt her career with her new name and identity.

Conway went on to work at Xerox PARC, in Palo Alto, Calif., where she was credited with a number of contributions. They include what’s now known as the Mead & Conway revolution, a very-large-scale integration (VLSI) design that was crucial for the development of microelectronics. She and IEEE Fellow Carver Mead published a textbook, Introduction to VLSI Systems (Addison-Wesley, 1978), that became a best seller.

Conway retired and came out as transgender in 2000. She has since worked to assist other transgender people going through transition and to expand transgender rights.

Fellow Joanne Bechta Dugan received the 2016 IT Leadership Award from La Salle University, in Philadelphia. The award, presented annually, recognizes an individual who has made a positive impact on business, government, education, or society through the advancement of information technology.

Dugan is a professor and director of the computer engineering department at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. She directs research on the development of computer systems designed to tolerate hardware and software faults. She earned a Ph.D. in computer engineering in 1980 from La Salle.

She is a member of the IEEE Computer Society and IEEE Women in Engineering.

Senior Member Brock LaMeres has been named director of the new Montana Engineering Education Research Center at Montana State University, in Bozeman. The center, which opened in September, aims to facilitate interdisciplinary research and to encourage students to pursue an engineering degree, motivate them to stay in the program until graduation, and help them find jobs.

LaMeres, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university, is a member of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems and IEEE Education societies.

Senior Member Nhlanhla Mbuli was named Engineer of the Year by the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers. The award is given to a member of the SAIEE who has worked to promote electrical science and its applications to the benefit of the institute, its members, and the Southern African community through involvement in the organization’s affairs.

Mbuli, who has volunteered for SAIEE for more than two decades, is a grid-planning specialist at Eksom, an electric utility in Johannesburg. He is a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society.

Member Dorothy Okello was profiled in The Independent, a newspaper in Uganda.

Last year she was elected the first female president of the Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers. She is a senior lecturer in the department of electrical and computer engineering at Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda. She is also director for innovation at the ResilientAfrica Network, a partnership of 20 universities in 16 countries that aims to use science and technology to help local communities.

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