Dr. Karen Panetta is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tufts University and Director of the Simulation Research Laboratory at Tufts University. She is also the co-founder of BA Logix Inc. and serves as the company’s Chief Research Scientist. Dr. Panetta received the B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University. She was the first female electrical engineer given tenure in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.
Before joining the faculty at Tufts, Dr. Panetta was employed as a computer engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation. Her research in Simulation and Modeling has won her research team five awards from NASA for “Outstanding Contributions to NASA Research” and “Excellence in Research”. She is a NASA Langley Research Scientist “JOVE” Fellow, is a recipient of the NSF Career Award and won the 2003 Madeline and Henry Fischer Best Engineering Teacher Award. Dr. Panetta was also awarded a Mass High Tech All-Star by Mass High Tech Magazine. She is the recipient of the 2006 Boston University Outstanding Alumni Award and was a recipient of the “Be The Change” award from the Massachusetts Conference for Women and awarded the 2008 Science Club for Girls, “Galaxy Award”.
Karen is an IEEE Fellow and is the Worldwide Director of the IEEE Women In Engineering. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the award winning IEEE WIE Magazine and Editor-In-Chief of the IEEE Boston Reflector newspaper. Karen is also the advisor for the Society of Women Engineers student chapter at Tufts University. She is the Chair for the IEEE Educational Society, Central New England Section and has been the advisor for the Tufts IEEE Student Chapter for 14 years. As the IEEE advisor, Karen has helped her students organize IEEE SPAC (Student Professional Awareness Conferences), participate in; interdisciplinary engineering competitions, IEEE student paper and design competitions and the IEEE Micromouse robotics competition. Her students have won awards in all categories, including a silver medal for their IEEE student chapter website. She is the IEEE Boston Section Student Activities director and is the IEEE Boston Section Treasurer.
Dr. Panetta serves on the Boston University Engineering Alumni Board and is a board member for the Center for Balance by Design. She is also a member of the ACM, SWE, SPHE, AWIS, ASEE and the Society for Computer Simulation.
Dr. Panetta is dedicated to promoting women in engineering and has created the nationally acclaimed “Nerd Girls” program, where undergraduate engineers research renewable energy topics and serve as role models for younger students. This program is aimed at breaking down the barriers that prevent women from entering the engineering disciplines and bridging the gap between attracting girls into engineering and sustaining them through their engineering curriculum. It strives to help undergraduate students build confidence in their skills, while preparing them for professional careers. The Nerd Girl program has successfully promoted engineering to students, educators and government officials. Dr. Panetta and her team have presented their work to over 10,000 school children and educators. The team is also the recipient of the Alt-Wheels Festival “Best Exhibit” for their renewable energy research in transportation.
Believing that real world experience is critical for engineering education, Dr. Panetta maintains consulting positions in industry and brings her experience back to the classroom. She is a Design Consultant for Tycoelectronics,M/A-Com Inc. and advises the National Academy of Engineering, Massachusetts school systems and Science Museums across the United States to inspire engineering and technology education to youth.
She currently teaches core computer engineering courses and is developing the multimedia curriculum at Tufts. Karen likes cute fuzzy animals (alive please). Her bunny Hannah Jumper can't jump anymore because Karen also likes to feed cute fuzzy animals.