Pride 2022

proud innovators title behind rainbow flag

The College of Engineering recognizes the impact of the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month

Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a turning point in the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Pride Month recognizes and celebrates the impact that LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual or allies, and others) individuals have had on history. It also serves as an opportunity to uplift the voices, recognize the culture, and support the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The College of Engineering is honoring Pride Month by recognizing and celebrating members of the LGBTQIA+ community who have made or are currently making remarkable contributions to engineering and related STEM disciplines and inspiring others in the process. We believe that diversity is truly indispensable in the College of Engineering (COE) and that richly varied perspectives and lived experiences enhance creativity and innovation.


Ben Barres
Ben Barres' groundbreaking discoveries of the crucial roles played by glial cells in the brain revolutionized the field of neuroscience. He found that glial cells played a central role in sculpting and maintaining the brain’s wiring diagram. As the first openly transgender scientist in the National Academy of Sciences, Barres, who transitioned at the age of 43, became an advocate for inclusion and gender equity in STEM. He lobbied the U.S. National Institutes of Health to strengthen rules protecting woman scientists from sexual harassment and frequently spoke about his unique first-hand experiences with gender discrimination as a trans man scientist. He told a story that while presenting as a woman prior to transitioning, he was the only person in a class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to solve a difficult artificial-intelligence problem. The professor scoffed and insisted his boyfriend must have done the work. He also advocated for the rights of postdocs working in academia. When he passed away in 2017 at the age of 63, his colleagues and students praised Barres for both his pioneering research and his advocacy for gender equality in science.
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Phill Conrad is a teaching professor in UCSB’s Computer Science Department and within the College of Creative Studies. He teaches core undergraduate courses, acts as a liaison between the two colleges, and serves as the faculty undergraduate advisor for computer science majors. Conrad is also focused on discovering better ways to promote and measure learning in lower-division computer science, software development, and discrete math courses. While at UCSB, Conrad, who is gay, has received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCSB Academic Senate and twice been selected by graduating seniors as the Computer Science Department’s Outstanding Faculty Member. Conrad is also the president of the board of directors for the Santa Barbara Gay Man’s Chorus, an organization he helped to establish, along with Professor Nicole Lamartine from UCSB’s Department of Music. His husband, Bob Nieder, is on the staff at the UCSB Library. Conrad has also served on the Computer Science faculty at the University of Delaware and Temple University.
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Lynn Conway is a trans woman who is considered one of the pioneering developers of computer chip design and supercomputer technologies. She is credited with the invention of generalized dynamic instruction handling, a key advance used in out-of-order execution, which is employed by most modern computer processors to improve performance. Conway invented dimensionless, scalable design rules, which greatly simplified chip design and design tools. She left MIT in 1957 after the medical climate would not allow her desired gender transition, and she was fired from her job at IBM in 1968 after she informed them of her intention to transition. It was IBM’s loss, as her later work at Memorex, Xerox, and DARPA revolutionized the microchip industry. In 2020, IBM apologized for firing her.
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Jon Hall has been a prominent supporter of the Unix/Linux systems and a leading proponent of open-source software. He worked with Linus Torvalds, the principal developer of the Linux OS, to make the Linux kernel 64-bit and portable across hardware architectures. Hall was the head of the Computer Science Department at Hartford State Technical College, where his temper earned him the nickname “Maddog.” Currently, he is the board chair of Linux International. In honor of Alan Turing’s 100th birthday, Hall came out as gay in a June 2012 article in Linux Magazine. 
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Mary Ann Horton is a trans woman who received her PhD in computer science at UC Berkeley where she was a key contributor in the early UNIX development days. She worked persistently on the evolution of UUCP (Unix-to-Unix Copy) and the first email attachments. While working at Bell Labs, she led the UUCP Mapping Projects and brought .com domains to UUCP email. Horton also led the growth of Usenet, an early social media network in the 1980s. As a trans activist, she lobbied her then employer, Lucent Technologies, to become the first large company to include “gender identity, characteristics, or expression” in its EEO nondiscrimination policy, and later to cover gender-affirming hormones and surgeries in its health insurance. At San Diego Gas and Electric, she designed SCADA control systems to make the power grid more reliable, secure, and compliant with regulations.
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Jay D. Keasling, who is gay, is a professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering at the UC Berkeley. He is also a senior faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the chief executive officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute. Keasling’s research focuses on engineering chemistry inside microorganisms, an area known as metabolic engineering, for production of useful chemicals or for environmental cleanup. His laboratory has developed or adopted many of the latest analytical tools to troubleshoot genetic manipulations. Keasling was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2010 for developing synthetic biology tools to engineer the antimalarial drug artemisinin. In addition to his numerous academic-related awards, he was also named the LGBTQ+ Engineer of the Year by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals in 2010. 
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After earning her PhD in materials science and engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, Arianna Morales has spent more than twenty years as a research scientist at General Motors. Her technical contributions in materials science have helped GM develop lightweight alloys to achieve fuel economy standards mandated by global regulations. She developed novel sheet metal designs that exhibited properties in aluminum that rivaled the strength of steel. Morales is proud of both her Latina heritage and her status as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. She and her wife, Stacey Cassis, married in 2014. Morales has become an advocate for inclusion and equity and serves as a board member of GM PLUS (People Like Us), the employee resource group for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies at GM. The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professional honored Morales in 2019, presenting her with the LGBTQ+ Engineer of the Year Award.
sally ride photo
On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman and the youngest American astronaut in space. Her duty was to operate the robotic arm on board the Challenger SPAS-1. She later became the director of the California Space Institute at the UC San Diego, and started her own nonprofit, Sally Ride Science, to inspire children to pursue their interests in science and math. At the time of her death in 2012, Ride had been in a 27-year relationship with her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy. When President Barack Obama awarded Ride the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously, O’Shaughnessy, who is chair of the board of directors of Sally Ride Science, accepted the medal on her behalf. 
scott shell in front of white wall
M. Scott Shell is a professor and vice chair for graduate education in the Chemical Engineering Department at UC Santa Barbara. The Shell research group develops novel molecular simulation, multiscale modeling, and statistical thermodynamic approaches to address problems in biophysics and soft condensed matter. He has been an active advocate for climates of inclusion via his roles in Graduate Division diversity initiatives and through many department efforts, spanning climate surveys to inclusive graduate recruiting practices for faculty to inclusivity trainings for graduate students. Shell has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Computational Molecular Sciences and Engineering Forum (CoMSEF) Impact Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Outstanding Graduate Mentor and Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCSB Academic Senate.  His husband, Andrew Masuda, is the Director of Marketing for the College of Engineering.
audrey tang photo
Audrey Tang, who is trans, made a name for herself as an open-source hacker, dedicated to the principles of democratic governance and transparent working practices. In 2014, she supported the Sunflower Protests, creating a hacking method so that protest videos could be shared across Taiwan. Two years later, the Taiwanese government hired her and made her the youngest person, and first trans person, to hold a position in the Executive Yuan, the executive branch of the Chinese government. Her projects included an educational program to teach young people how to recognize fake news. Most recently, the digital minister led an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak by fighting misinformation through radical transparency. With her support, accurate and reliable information from the Taiwanese National Health Service remained accessible to the public through an open data-backed application. 
turing photo black and white
A mathematician, computer scientist, logician, philosopher, and cryptanalyst, Alan Turing is widely considered the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. He formalized the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, one of the world’s first computers. During World War II, Turning worked for the Government Code and Cypher School, Britain’s codebreaking center. He developed a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, playing a critical role in cracking intercepted Enigma coded messages and enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial battles. Despite his incredible efforts, which were credited with shortening the war in Europe by more than two years and saving 14 million lives, he was convicted of “gross indecency” in 1952 because being homosexual was a crime in Britain at the time. Today, seventy years after his death, Turing is considered one of the world’s most influential scientists. He received a posthumous pardon from the Queen in 2013. The Association for Computing Machinery annually presents the A.M. Turing Award, often referred to as the "Nobel Prize of Computing." The prize carries a $1 million prize and is named in honor of the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing. 
chris van de walle
Chris Van de Walle is the Herbert Kroemer Chair and Distinguished Professor of Materials at UCSB. His research group performs computational work to develop a fundamental understanding of the physics and chemistry of materials in order to improve existing materials and discover new ones. An elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, Van de Walle, who is gay, is also a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Materials Research Society, and the American Physical Society. For the past five years, he has been named a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics. Researchers on this prestigious list have demonstrated significant and broad influence in their fields and rank among the top one percent of their field, based on the number of times their papers have been cited by their peers. 
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Edith Windsor is best known as a gay right activist who was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 landmark Supreme Court United States v. Windsor case, which overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and led to the legalization of same-sex marriage. The Obama administration and federal agencies extended rights, privileges, and benefits to married same-sex-couples because of the decision. What’s less known is that Windsor was a computer programmer and an engineer, working with the UNIVAC at Combustion Engineering, Inc. She worked the graveyard shift as a programmer, helping physicists interpret data presented by new computers. Later, she worked at IBM for sixteen years, where she became known for her top-notch debugging skills and rose to the rank of senior systems engineer, then the company’s highest technical position. Windsor died in 2017 at the age of 88.