Elaine Weyuker
Elaine Weyuker
Software Engineer, Independent Researcher and Consultant
NJ

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Close Up
  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    I conduct research at AT&T labs, specializing in software testing and metrics - the goal is to develop ways of assuring the dependability and performance of software. AT&T has roughly 450 million lines of software that do everything from running the telephone network to handling billing, and most of these systems run continuously. It is a real challenge to develop techniques to make sure that it all works correctly and efficiently!
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    Bronx High School of Science; B.S. in Mathematics from State University of New York in Binghamton; Ph.D. in computer science from Rutgers University
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    I was a professor at New York University for 18 years before I moved to AT&T. Although I was happy at NYU, I have been even happier at AT&T since I have access to AT&T's large software systems and get to try out my ideas on these systems.
  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    The biggest challenge I face in my career involves the relatively small numbers of women I meet at most professional events. I have endured some sexism, and it sometimes took all the courage I could muster to speak up when people made inappropriate assumptions based on gender, but it was important, and I am glad that I have tried to make things better for women in the field.
  • Please tell us a little about your family.
    I have a teenage daughter who is lots of fun (usually) who has accompanied me to every conference and workshop I've attended since she was born.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    I conduct research at AT&T labs, specializing in software testing and metrics - the goal is to develop ways of assuring the dependability and performance of software.
  • Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    I love to swim, bike, and hike. I also knit and design sweaters.
Biography

I grew up in the Bronx, New York, attending public schools. Luckily, after successfully completing an entrance exam, I attended the Bronx High School of Science, where about one-fourth of the students were female. After high school, I went to the State University of New York in Binghamton, where I majored in mathematics. I graduated after 3 1/2 years and worked for eight months as a computer programmer for Texaco. I had never even seen a computer before joining Texaco so I spent some of that time teaching myself to program. I went to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, which was one of the few schools in the country to offer a degree in computer science at that time. At Penn, there were several hundred male students and only a handful of women students. It was very isolating. After completing my master's degree, I took a job as a systems engineer at IBM. After a year, I started teaching at a small college in the City University of New York. I was the entire Computer Science department, and got to teach many different subjects. After six years, I returned to get a Ph.D. at Rutgers University. After completing my dissertation on the Theory of Computation, I became a professor at New York University. Although my first publications were in theory, I soon changed my research focus to software engineering, and specifically software testing. Most of my research has focused on making software highly reliable and dependable. It is a real challenge to develop techniques to make sure that it all works correctly and efficiently! I have now published about 170 papers in journals and refereed conference proceedings. After 18 years at NYU, I moved to AT&T so I could have access to AT&T's large software systems and get to try out my ideas on these systems. I have been very lucky all of my life. I got lots of encouragement from my parents and teachers. I had scholarships and fellowships to help pay my way throughout school. The biggest challenge I face in my career involves the relatively small numbers of women I meet at most professional events. I have endured some sexism, and it sometimes took all the courage I could muster to speak up when people made inappropriate assumptions based on gender, but it was important, and I am glad that I have tried to make things better for women in the field. I have mentored a number of women starting out in their careers, and I have found it very rewarding. The biggest professional accomplishments have been being named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the IEEE, and an AT&T Fellow, and especially being made a member of the National Academy of Engineering. I have also won several major awards. I chaired the ACM Women's Council from 2004 - 2012 with a mission to encourage girls and women to study/work in computing. I love to swim, bike, and hike. I also knit and design sweaters. I have a daughter who is now a PhD student in Cognitive Science. You can see her in my photo. My Mom, also in the photo, was a Phi Beta Kappa mathematics major who graduated from college in 1936! The last person in the photo is my husband who I met in graduate school. He also has a PhD in Computer Science is is often my primary research collaborator.

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Volunteer Opportunities
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.