INDIANAPOLIS – Carlotta Berry, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, will receive the TechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award during TechPoint’s 22nd annual Mira Awards gala honoring the best of tech in Indiana.
Dr. Berry is a highly regarded, internationally-known engineering and robotics expert who is a vocal and relentless STEM education advocate, especially for underrepresented students like she was entering college in the late 1980s.
The Bridge Builder Award recognizes visionary leaders who are helping underserved student populations in Indiana gain access to experiential learning opportunities that inspire the pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“I became an engineering professor 20 years ago while sitting in class and realizing that I had never had a professor who looked like me, acted like me, or even seemed interested in me,” Dr. Berry said. “I wanted to change the face of engineering by showing that the profession could be cool, interesting, exciting, engaging, and, most importantly, diverse.”
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Berry worked with colleagues around the world to start two new non-profit organizations, Black In Engineering and Black In Robotics. Both organizations have a mission to bring awareness to systemic racism and inequity in STEM, build community, advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and connect with allies and sponsors.
Her research interests are in robotics education, interface design, human-robot interaction, and increasing diverse representation in STEM fields. She has a special passion for diversifying the engineering profession by encouraging historically marginalized and minoritized populations to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees. She feels that the profession should reflect the world that we live in in order to solve the unique problems that we face.
Dr. Berry, who will mark her 15th year at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology later this year, is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where she helped create the first multidisciplinary minor in robotics at the institute. She is the co-founder and co-director of the National Science Foundation-funded Rose Building Undergraduate Diversity program, which is lovingly referred to at the institute as ROSE-BUD. Dr. Berry and Associate Professor Deborah Walter created this unique scholarship and mentorship program in 2008 to broaden the participation of students in STEM fields.
Additionally, Dr. Berry is an advisor for the National Society of Black Engineers and a past president of the Technical Editor Board for the ASEE Computers in Education Journal. In 2020 alone, she has been honored with national and local recognitions including “30 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About” (robohub.org 2020); Interview of the Year Award, Purpose and Passion (Reinvented Magazine, 2020); and the FIRST Indiana Robotics Gamechanger Award (2020). In 2018, Dr. Berry received the “You Inspire Us” Leading Light Award from Women & Hi Tech for her groundbreaking work in inspiring women to pursue STEM careers.
“Carlotta has been an advocate and provider of STEM education for students for over a decade, helping bring competitive robotics to the forefront of education and helping support students who are typically not represented in STEM fields,” said George Giltner, president and CEO of TechPoint Foundation for Youth. “She has been a valuable partner of the Foundation and we are honored to recognize her efforts in the STEM community at the 2021 Mira Awards gala.”
Also during the virtual gala on April 22, TechPoint Foundation for Youth will launch a fundraising campaign to help support Digital Equity for Indiana students. The Foundation relies on the annual Mira Awards gala to help raise awareness and funding to support statewide programs that address critical needs in the Indiana tech and STEM talent pipeline.
Those interested in supporting Digital Equity in Indiana can visit the Foundation’s donation page: bit.ly/miragives21.