Earlier this year, Maria Klawe persuaded Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella to spend a day at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Phoenix this October.
She dangled the prospect of his becoming the first man ever to be a headline speaker at the event. For the 8,000 female technologists and diversity activists planning to attend, Klawe herself may be the bigger draw.
Since she became president of Harvey Mudd College in 2006, the 800-student liberal arts college near Los Angeles has made tangible progress creating a blueprint for encouraging women to become computer scientists. Last year, more than half the school’s engineering majors were female for the first time. Women made up a record 47 percent of its computer science majors.