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UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) --- Research and Outreach
Home > Teachers & Administrators > C-STEM Conference > 2018 > Keynote and Plenary Speakers’ Biographies

Keynote and Plenary Speakers’ Biographies

Keynote Speech: Building a Diversified STEM Talent Pipeline in the Digital Age

Gary S. May, Chancellor, University of California, Davis

Gary S. May became UC Davis’ seventh chancellor on Aug. 1, 2017. He leads the most comprehensive campus in the University of California system, with four colleges and six professional schools that offer 104 undergraduate majors and 96 graduate and professional degrees. UC Davis enrolls about 37,000 students, brings in nearly $800 million annually in sponsored research and contributes at least $8 billion to the California economy each year.

An accomplished scholar and engineer, May came to UC Davis from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, where he had been for nearly three decades, most recently as dean of the institute’s College of Engineering — the largest and most diverse school of its kind in the nation.

Prior to being dean, May was the Steve W. Chaddick Chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and, previous to that, he was the executive assistant to then-Georgia Tech President G. Wayne Clough.

May is known as a dynamic leader with a passion for helping others succeed. He believes success is best judged by how we enhance the lives of others. Throughout his career, he has championed diversity in both higher education and the workplace. He developed and led programs to attract, mentor and retain underrepresented women and ethnic minorities in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

In 2015, President Obama honored him with the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM Mentoring.

In February 2018, May was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering — one of the highest honors in the field — for his innovations in educational programs for underrepresented groups in engineering and his contributions to semiconductor manufacturing research.

May has won numerous other honors for his research in computer-aided manufacturing of integrated circuits and has authored more than 200 technical publications, contributed to 15 books and holds a patent in this topic.

In 2010, he was named “outstanding engineering alumnus” of UC Berkeley, where he earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science.

A native of St. Louis, May is married to LeShelle R. May, a software engineer, and they have two grown daughters, Simone and Jordan.


Plenary Speech: Frontier Research, Practice, and Education on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT)

Cyra Richarson, General Manager, Microsoft 

Cyra Richardson is the General Manager of Business Development for Microsoft’s cross company initiative for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ecosystem. Her area of focus is on the AI ecosystem and SaaS enablement. One of the key programs is the Microsoft IoT & AI Insiders Program. Its goals are to increase grassroots awareness of Microsoft’s IoT products, to identify partnership opportunities and to accelerate the ecosystem. The Microsoft IoT & AI Insiders Lab is a fully staffed facility that will accelerate participants seeking to commercialize their IoT Solutions. Lab participants will have access to software and hardware engineering resources that will help them power through blockers to deliver scalable worldwide IoT solutions.

Cyra has enjoyed a long productive career in the industry. She started working at a market research startup in Philadelphia the fledgling IBM PC to cross tabulate large data sets at 14 years old. She interned at RCA/GE and the Library of Congress. Cyra specialized in data analysis and embedded systems at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. At the National Board of Medical examiners, Cyra built an embedded system to assess physicians for licensure. Avery international leaned on Cyra’s development skills to write firmware for industrial printers.

In 1990 Cyra joined Microsoft as a developer. During her tenue she lead several project on Microsoft Windows CE embedded operating system and development tools including Platform Builder. She’s parted with Microsoft from time to time to run her own startups. In 2010, Amazon recruited Cyra to run their Mobile Web Shopping experience. In 2013, Cyra rejoined as the Group Program Manager for Azure Intelligent System Services and for the three Windows 10 IoT editions.


Plenary Speech: The Equity Agenda, Defining and Addressing the Challenges that Seem so Simple

Shauna Hawes, Valley View Middle School

Shauna Hawes, a middle school teacher, has been a fascinated C-STEM admirer and participant since first meeting Dr. Cheng at a conference in 2012. A former “math-hating” student, she immediately saw the motivation that programming and robotics would bring to students challenged by and struggling with math. In addition to teaching various aspects of computer science and applications to 7th and 8th graders, she has run after school robotics programs with her middle school students and with the neighboring high school FIRST Robotics team. She has served over 250 students through successful summer camps based on the GIRL camps developed here at Davis. In addition, she has been named a C-STEM Teacher of the Year, was a finalist for California State Teacher of the Year, and most recently served on the Computer Science Strategic Implementation Plan Panel, working to develop a plan for implementing the newly adopted Computer Science standards in California.