Career Profiles

Explore profiles of real professionals and students to learn how they got started, what they love about computing, and all about the fascinating work they do.

Jill Gostin

Senior Research Scientist, Atlanta, United States


Master of Science in Mathematics, Georgia Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Arts (mathematics), Greenville College
“Never be afraid to try something new. Opportunities don’t always just “appear”, sometimes you have to make them happen. Joining a professional society in whatever field you choose will help you create those opportunities!”

I loved math and numbers from birth, I think; I remember, maybe in kindergarten, being given a 3rd grade math workbook as a birthday present, and thinking it was the best present ever! During my elementary thru high school years, computers were becoming a bigger part of society. As I started college as a math major, it was a natural thing for me to include computer classes; I ended up with a minor in computer science. Those classes were a big selling point on my resume, and as I began my career, computers were integral to everything I did. Now, after many years in my field, my reliance on computing has expanded. High-performance computing hardware and software is essential to the system and software development and testing I do.

My day begins getting my kids off to school, driving to work thru the wonderful Atlanta traffic, then I start my day at work reviewing all the emails that came in overnight. Throughout the day, I manage programs, write proposals, design experiments to test software, run those experiments (sometimes in millions of runs), and assess the results. I write papers and presentations based on my assessments. I try to keep up with emails throughout the day, and at the end of each day I leave myself a list of things that need to be done the next day.

My major was mathematics; my job title is currently “Senior Research Scientist”. I enjoy the fact that I have varying responsibilities throughout each day. The focus of my research has also changed over time. It’s good to have a wide variety of experiences to draw upon. I also like the opportunities I have here to help others; I serve as the Chair of the GTRI Awards Council, helping others get the recognition they deserve for their work.

I began and completed my Master’s Degree while a full-time employee at GTRI. As part of my Master’s Degree program, I took some courses in Fractal Geometry. At that time, researchers were just beginning to explore the many ways that fractal geometry techniques could be applied to real-world applications. Before I graduated, I had to perform and present the results of a research project to the math department. I decided to integrate my work in radar systems with my new understanding of fractal geometry. At the time, I was investigating innovative, automated techniques for deciding what a radar had “seen”, based on the returned radar signature. For my project, I chose to use the Fractal Dimension of the returned signature as a new technique. I tested this technique using measured radar data. The technique was successful, and I was subsequently able to turn that initial research into several funded contracts.

I spend a lot of my free time participating in and volunteering for IEEE activities. I also love to sing, and sing in the Praise Band at my church. I’m an obsessive reader, often reading 4-5 books/ week.

EAB Awards 2013



2011 Sections Congress

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Explore profiles of real professionals and students to learn how they got started, what they love about computing, and all about the fascinating work they do.

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Sandra Lerner

It is difficult to imagine a time when computers were not capable of sharing information and resources with great ease. Sandra Lerner pushed the boundaries of network computing as one of the co-founders of Cisco Systems, which introduced one of the first commercially viable routers. The router was born while Sandra was working at Stanford University in the 1980’s after earning her Master’s degree there in Computer Science. To avoid the tedious task of transferring information between computers using floppy disks, she and co-founder of Cisco, Leonard Bosack, created a local area network, or LAN, between their campus offices using a multiprotocol router that Bosack developed. Shortly thereafter the pair started Cisco Systems, and began selling the router which was a success, because it could work with so many different types of computers. After Leaving Cisco in 1990, Lerner started the trendy cosmetics company Urban Decay and became a philanthropist and avid activist for animal rights.

Bletchley Park
Dr. Sue Black
Dr. Sue Black

Dr. Sue Black has demonstrated the power of social networking. She used Web 2.0 technologies to help raise awareness of, and critical funding for, Bletchley Park, the UK World War II center for decrypting enemy messages. She has also been an active campaigner for equality and support for women in technology fields, founding a number of online networking platforms for women technology professionals. A keen researcher, Dr. Black completed a PhD in software measurement in 2001. Her research interests focus on software quality improvements. She has recently won the PepsiCo Women's Inspiration Network award, been named Tech Hero by ITPRO magazine and was awarded the first John Ivinson Award from the British Computer Society. In 2011 Dr. Black set up The goto Foundation, a nonprofit organization which aims to make computer science more meaningful to the public, generate public excitement in the creation of software, and build a tech savvy workforce. Read Sue's blog about The goto Foundation:

@ symbol
Ray Tomlinson
Ray Tomlinson

Have you ever considered that someone, at some point, was in a position to choose what symbol would be used separate the user from their location in an email address? That person, it turns out, was Ray Tomlinson, and in 1971 he chose "@". Tomlinson is credited with demonstrating the first email sent between computers on a network, and when asked what inspired him to make this selection he said, “Mostly because it seemed like a neat idea.”

After completing his Master’s degree at MIT in 1965, Ray joined the Information Sciences Division of Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since then he has made many notable contributions to the world of network computing. He was a co-developer of the TENEX computer system that was popular in the earliest days of the Internet; he developed the packet radio protocols used in the earliest internetworking experiments; he created the first implementation of TCP; and he was the principle designer of the first workstation attached to the Internet.

James Dammann

If you have used a word processor today, moved your mouse on your laptop, dragged an object around on your smartphone, or highlighted a section of text on your tablet, you can thank Jim Dammann. In 1961 during his second year at IBM and just one year after completing his PhD, Jim created the concept of what today we all take for granted -- the cursor. This idea he documented in utilizing the cursor within word processing operations.

After retiring from IBM, Jim went on to inspire future generations of software engineers at Florida Atlantic University. His work there too demonstrated his creativity for he spent considerable effort enhancing their software engineering program by integrating ideas and feedback from local industries into the University curricular. Today, Jim lives in the Westlake Hills west of Austin Texas and spends most of his time in his art studio. He wrote and published The Opaque Decanter, a collection of poems about art, which provided a new view at part of art history.

King's Quest
Roberta Williams

Video games immerse users in a world of high tech thrills, stunning visuals, unique challenges, and interactivity. They enable users to become a warrior princess or a gruesome ghoul, create a virtual persona, or even develop worlds that other gamers can play on. But before the games of today became reality, they were the dreams of a few innovative individuals.

Roberta Williams is considered one of the pioneers of gaming as we know it today. During the 80’s and 90’s along with husband Ken Williams through their company On-Line Systems, she developed some of the first graphical adventure games. These included such titles as Mystery House, Wizard and the Princess and the popular King’s Quest series. Williams also helped introduce more girls and women to the world of gaming by bringing games developed from a woman’s perspective to mainstream market.

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