Sheila M. Humphreys

University of California, Berkeley | Berkeley, CA | 2012

Sheila M. Humphreys Portrait Photo

The official biography below was current at the time of the award. Awardees may choose to provide their latest biographical information on their profile page.

Dr. Sheila M. Humphreys is recognized as a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring for her enduring programs to advance the education and careers of women and minorities who are underrepresented in engineering and computer science.

Dr. Humphreys’ mentoring spans three decades. Her activities address critical issues in recruitment, retention and graduation of women and minorities in electrical engineering and computer sciences.

In 1982, after joining the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) at the University of California, Berkeley (UC, Berkeley), Dr. Humphreys co-founded a ground-breaking program, the Computer Science Reentry Program, with two UC, Berkeley alumnae. This program provides an alternative path to graduate school for talented post­ baccalaureate reentry women and minorities. Of the students who participated, ten earned Ph.D. degrees and 39 earned M.S. degrees.

In 1985, Dr. Humphreys founded a graduate-level minority recruitment and retention program in EECS that is the root of UC, Berkeley’s success in graduating minority engineering Ph.D.s. She and the chair of EECS also established a collection of programs for both minority and non-minority students called Excellence and Diversity Student Programs.

Dr. Humphreys’ program development at UC, Berkeley includes the Virtual Development Center (funded by the Institute for Women and Technology) which focuses on the technological needs of disabled women. On a campus-wide level, she served with the Berkeley Edge Program, supported by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, with the goal of tripling the number of minority doctorates in science and engineering.

Knowing that research opportunities are important features in successful mentoring, Dr.Humphreys organized the Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research (SUPERB) in 1990, followed by a companion program for students in information technology. Seventy-six percent of the first cohort of SUPERB students reported that before the program they felt uncertain about their chances at graduate work, but after the SUPERB program, they were certain that they would go on to graduate work. The “admit” rate of SUPERB students to Berkeley’s graduate program in electrical engineering and computer science was three times that of non-SUPERB students. The SUPERB program has now been in existence in EECS at UC, Berkeley for more than 20 years and has graduated 195 participants.

In 1999, Dr. Humphreys received the A. Nico Habermann Award from the Computing Research Association, “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of underrepresented groups in computing research.” She is on the national leadership team for the NSF Empowering Leadership Alliance and an invited member of the Computing Research Association working group which produced the report “Recruitment and Retention of Underrepresented Minority Graduate Students in Computer Science” (August 2000). She is the UC, Berkeley representative to the National Coalition for Women in Computing and is a member of the Berkeley Coalition for Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering.