Linda Ott Inducted into the College of Computing Honor Academy

Linda ott

Dr. Linda Ott, one of the first Michigan Tech Department of Computer Science faculty members, was inducted into the College of Computing Honor Academy on April 4, 2022.

Currently the chair of the Computer Science department, Ott started her career at Michigan Tech in 1987. She is recognized for a lifetime of work advancing the Department of Computer Science and more generally broadening campus-wide participation in computing. Among her accomplishments is her work to grow the CS department, now the second-largest major on campus.

“Linda is the heart and soul of computer science at Michigan Tech,” says Dennis Livesay, the Dave House Dean of Computing. “Linda’s legacy is within our alumni, our growing prominence, and our exciting future.”

Ott was closely involved in the formation of the Department of Computer Science, established in 1987. She was also instrumental in the establishment of Computer Science and computing-related degree programs including the M.S. in Computer Science (1987), the Ph.D. in Computer Science (1991), the Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering (1994), and the B.S. in Software Engineering (2002). She worked with the Electrical Engineering department to establish the B.S. in Computer Engineering in 2000.

Ott was the CS department lead in the construction project that resulted in the renovation of the Van Pelt Library and the construction of Kanwal and Ann Rekhi Hall, completed in 2008.

She also chaired the Department of Computer Science from 1996 to 2010, during which the majority of current CS faculty were hired. In the 2009-2010 academic year, she led an initiative to include the computing disciplines in the University’s Strategic Hiring Faulty Hiring Initiative (SFHI), which added a number of additional computing-focused faculty positions. This computing-focused SFHI significantly broadened the influence of computing on campus, ultimately leading to the formation of the College of Computing, for which Ott was a long-time advocate.

Ott has devoted a large chunk of her time and energy at Michigan Tech opening the eyes of women and girls to the joys of a computer science education. For her efforts, she was named the first recipient of Michigan Tech’s Diversity Award in 2014.

She leads current Computer Science department outreach initiatives including the successful Women in Computer Science program, one of the University’s annual Summer Youth Programs (SYP), and the annual Google-sponsored workshop, “Exploring Computer Science Research,” which explores research opportunities with undergraduate college students.

Ott initiated the Michigan NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Awards, which has recognized high school girls for their computing skills and interests since 2013. She is a co-founder of the bi-annual Michigan Celebration of Women in Computing conference, established in 2007, which aims to support female computing students.

Ott was a recipient of the 2015 “100 Inspiring Women in STEM Awards” awarded by the Insight Into Diversity magazine. The award is presented as a tribute to women whose work and achievements not only encourage others in their individual STEM fields, but also inspire a new generation of young women to consider careers in STEM.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Ott taught Advanced Software Engineering at Siberian State Aerospace University in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. She also taught Ethical and Social Aspects of Computing to students at Beijing Normal University – Zhuhai in Zhuhai, China.

Ott’s research interests are in software engineering, including software processes, software measurement, and software engineering education. She also has interests in the ethical and social aspects of computing. She has been a co-PI on more than $1.5 million in grants from industry and the National Science Foundation.

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