Jennifer Rexford Announced as the 2017 NCWIT Harrold and Notkin Award Recipient

Preview Image

Dr. Jennifer Rexford, Professor and Computer Science Department Chair at Princeton University, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award.

The award, sponsored by the NCWIT Board of Directors, recognizes faculty members from non-profit institutions who distinguish themselves with outstanding research and excellent graduate mentoring, as well as those who recruit, encourage, and promote women and minorities in computing fields. It is bestowed in memory of Mary Jean Harrold and David Notkin, in honor of their outstanding research, graduate mentoring, and diversity contributions.

Dr. Rexford will be honored at the 2017 NCWIT Summit on Women and IT, and her institution will be gifted $5,000 from NCWIT.

Dr. Rexford spent eight years as a researcher at AT&T Labs Research before joining the faculty at Princeton, from which she received her undergraduate degree, in 2005. From a research standpoint, she is best known for her advances in the field of computer networking, including her earlier work in network routing stability and more recent research that is commonly viewed as having played a central role in launching the field of software-defined networking (SDN).

“Jen has been a huge influence in my life,” said Sharon Goldberg, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Boston University, in her recommendation letter in support of Rexford’s nomination. “Jen put me on the path to my current career as an assistant professor in computer science at Boston University, and I am extremely grateful for the support that she has continued to offer me, even to this day, as an advisor and a mentor.”

Goldberg is among the 17 doctoral and eight master’s students whom Rexford has mentored during her tenure at Princeton.

As noted by Margaret Martonosi, professor of Computer Science and colleague of Rexford’s at Princeton, “One of Jen’s earliests acts regarding engineering diversity was a book she co-authored over 20 years ago as a Princeton undergrad (along with her friend and college roommate Yvonne Ng).” The book, titled She’s an Engineer? Princeton Alumnae Reflect, is a compendium of anecdotes, quotes, and experiences told to the authors by Princeton women engineering students and alumnae from the early years of Princeton co-education (roughly 1970 to 1990).

“Although officially I am chronologically and professionally senior to Jen, I very much count myself among the people who have benefited from her technical and mentoring skill,” added Martonosi. “All of us around her benefit from her insights and her skill at navigating technical, professional, and personal challenges.”

Dr. Rexford is the fourth recipient of the Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award. Recognizing the importance of strong mentorship in attracting and retaining females and minorities in technology fields, NCWIT has also created resources such as its Evaluating a Mentoring Program Guide, which provides a step-by-step plan with example metrics to assist both industry and academic organizations in evaluating and improving their mentoring programs.

In addition to her positions at Princeton, Dr. Rexford has numerous leadership roles in her field, including serving on the technical advisory boards of Barefoot Networks, Waltz Networks, and Gencore Systems, as well as the board and technical advisory group for the Open Networking Foundation. She is a member the Computing Community Consortium and a member of the Open Internet Advisory Committee of the FCC, as well as chair of its Mobile Broadband working group. She also serves as editor-at-large for the journal IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking.