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Gift Establishes Endowed Professorship of Computer Science at NKU

Northern Kentucky University now has its first endowed faculty position awarded to a woman in the College of Informatics.

A gift from Dr. Carol Swarts established the STRAWS Endowed Professorship of Computer Science.

“Dr. Swarts has long embodied all of the qualities that we value most in our community,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “Her inspiring generosity in support of faculty research, scholarship and engaged learning advances student success in remarkable ways.”

The university described Swarts as a longtime friend of the university and said that her philanthropy continues to advance the success of NKU students and faculty.

She wanted to underscore the university's commitment to building the visibility and prominence of women in science and technology career fields, something the College of Informatics has spent more than a decade working on, a news release said.

NKU and Dr. Swarts announced Dr. Alina Campan, a professor of computer science, as the inaugural STRAWS Professor of Computer Science on Thursday.

"Many of the early computer science pioneers were women, but we still see underrepresentation across the board," said Swarts. "We live in a world that presents us with many challenges around technology, privacy, social media, and disinformation. NKU's College of Informatics is confronting these challenges with extraordinary faculty members like Dr. Campan. It's my privilege to support her research and professional development."

Campan's research on data mining and data privacy earned a Yahoo Research Best Paper award in 2008. She collaborates with faculty in journalism, computer science and statistics to understand the spreading of disinformation on social media. In the classroom, Campan redesigned NKU's general education course that introduces students to writing code.

"Dr. Swarts's generosity will truly inspire women in science," said Campan. "Investing in computer science as a part of STEM education will strengthen our abilities to develop opportunity pipelines in this highly future-focused field."

-Staff report

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