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UMSI professor emerita receives top engineering honor

Friday, 02/09/2018

UMSI professor emerita Judith Olson has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, according to an announcement by the organization’s president on Wednesday, February 7. Election to the Academy is one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

Membership is awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education. Olson was cited for her leadership, technical innovations and development of systems that support collaborative work at a distance.

Olson joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1970 and held academic appointments in the department of psychology and at the Ross School of Business before becoming a charter faculty member of the School of Information in 1996. While at UMSI, she also served as associate dean of academic affairs. In 2008, she left to accept a position in the Informatics department at the University of California Irvine, from which she recently retired. She has remained an advisor to the School of Information since retiring from active faculty status.

“The National Academies were created by Congress and members serve as advisors to the federal government,” said UMSI Dean Thomas A. Finholt. “Election is rare and highly selective. This is wonderful news and we are delighted that Judy is being honored with induction into this distinguished company.”

She is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and holds a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Special Interest Group in Computer Human Interaction along with her husband Gary Olson. In 2011 she was awarded the ACM-W Athena Lecture, the equivalent of Woman of the Year in Computer Science.

The only other UMSI faculty member in recent times elected a member of the NAE is professor emeritus Daniel Atkins, who received that honor in 2014. The founding dean of the School of Information, Atkins retired from the university in 2015.

Individuals in the newly elected class will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on September 30, 2018.

- UMSI News Service