Texas Tech University

Karp, Ponnusamy Receive Prestigious 100 Inspiring Women in STEM Award

George Watson

June 23, 2015

The award, presented by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, recognizes the work by individuals in STEM and who serve as inspirations to others.

Tanja Karp

Two women at Texas Tech University have been honored for their efforts to enhance participation on individual STEM field while inspiring others to pursue careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Tanja Karp, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Logeswari Ponnusamy, a doctoral student in Environmental Toxicology at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH), were named to the list of 100 Inspiring Women in STEM Award by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

The award recognizes 100 women who inspire a new generation of women to consider careers in the STEM fields through their work and achievements. They do so through mentoring, research and teaching.

“The growth of STEM programs requires individuals in these fields who can not only inspire generations of students but who can draw from all areas of society to enhance the quality of education,” Texas Tech President M. Duane Nellis. “Dr. Karp and Logeswari exemplify the qualities Texas Tech seeks in its faculty and students.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity has been a leader in promoting diversity both in education and the workplace for the past 40 years, connecting employees with businesses and institutions that embrace a diverse and motivated workforce. Through articles on recent diversity trends and relevant news, interviews with leaders and diversity experts, it strives toward a goal of a more inclusive culture both in business and academia.

Karp, a faculty member at Texas Tech since 2000, is focused on engineering education and increasing interests for STEM disciplines in K-12 through robotics. Each year she organizes the Get Excited About Robotics (GEAR) competition which brings in approximately 700 elementary and middle school students from across the region and allows first-year engineering students the opportunity to work on their skills while mentoring local students.

Logeswari Ponnusamy

“I am extremely thankful to my colleague Richard Gale, who felt my work was deserving of nomination,” Karp said. “Through this award, national recognition is given to the Texas Tech University K-12 robotics pipeline for students in West Texas that my colleagues and I have developed and grown during the last 10 years. I would not have been successful if it were not for the network of teachers, colleagues and students who shared my enthusiasm and vision and significantly contributed to the success of the program.”

Karp is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a faculty adviser for the Texas Tech student chapter of SWE.

“I am pleased but not surprised for the recognition for Dr. Karp as a role model for all students, men and women alike,” said Al Sacco, dean of the Whitacre College of Engineering. “Dr. Karp is a dedicated, passionate educator who seeks every opportunity to excite, motivate and inspire all students. I am very proud to call Dr. Karp my colleague. She is a fantastic role model for all engineering faculty and our female engineering students, in particular.”

Ponnusamy is working in the laboratory of Kamaleshwar Singh, an assistant professor of environmental genomics and molecular carcinogenesis in The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH). In addition to her mentoring others in the STEM areas, she has used her experiences growing up in a rural area of India to pursue a career in cancer research while spreading scientific literacy.

Her current research is on the molecular mechanisms associated with the development of resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs, specifically in the treatment of breast cancer.

“I am extremely honored to receive the INSIGHT into Diversity STEM national recognition as an early career researcher in STEM,” Ponnusamy said. “This award is the recognition of my efforts in moving forward in the right direction of pursuing my dream of inspiring the younger generation. It motivates me to move further to contribute something meaningful to the community. Receiving this honor as a student of Texas Tech University means so much to me.”

She also is an associate council member for the American Association for Cancer Research, serves on the membership committee of Women Graduates USA and is on the global outreach and advisory board for the online Global Education Conference Network that advocates for boundary-free education.

“As an international woman student, Logeswari's motivation to pursue advanced education in a global platform by breaking cultural barriers inspires and empowers school children and young women,” Singh said. “She deserves this recognition.”