Abie Award Winners, Change Agent

Ana Regina Cavalcanti da Rocha

2010 Winner of the Change Agent ABIE Award

Dr. Ana Regina Cavalcanti da Rocha, is an Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Graduate School of Engineering, Computer Science Department and Technical Coordinator of the Brazilian Reference Model for Software Process Improvement. For decades, Ana has been a change agent for Brazilian women in software engineering. Since the 1980s, she has given software engineering unprecedented visibility in Brazil and beyond, created a software quality culture, initiated a vast series of workshops and programs to assess and enhance software quality, and tailored successful software  engineering practices for adoption by Brazilian businesses small and large. In doing so, she has also addressed two essential problems: lack of educational and professional opportunities for women, and daunting levels of Brazilian poverty. Her scores of women students have subsequently achieved industrial and academic success. And by offering opportunities to those who would not otherwise have them, she has inspired dozens of start-up companies and programs throughout Brazil.

Dr. Cavalcanti da Rocha has devoted her career to providing opportunities to students, especially women, and particularly from the rural areas of Brazil who have little access to education and technology. She has empowered these women to return home after their studies, to provide similar opportunities to their own students and colleagues.

Through her efforts Brazil’s software and software engineering have credibility throughout the world and her software engineering innovations are applied in places that most need them. For instance, a cardiology institute for the poor in Salvador has worked with her students to design and develop Expert System in Cardiology enabling physicians in rural areas to diagnose myocardial infarctions. Her network of women computer scientists is growing at an accelerated pace, now that her former students are themselves in senior positions, encouraging the next generation of women to carry on her tradition of education and excellence.

Dr. Cavalcanti da Rocha has a Bachelor of Mathematics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a Masters and PhD in Computer Science from Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. She coordinated projects for the Brazilian Navy, Brazilian Air Force, the Electoral Brazilian Tribunal, Brazilian Petroleum Company, and Brazilian National Bank for Development and others.  She has been the advisor of 22 Doctor of Science Thesis, among which 11 were women. She was also the advisor of  90 Master Thesis, among which 39 were women.  She has published 7 books, 4 book chapters, 18 papers in Journals and almost 300 papers in International and Brazilian conferences.