Carlotta Berry Building Bridges in STEM Education

Friday, April 23, 2021
Carlotta Berry

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Carlotta Berry received the TechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award during TechPoint’s 2021 Mira Awards gala, an event honoring Indiana’s best of tech.

A 2020-21 sabbatical leave has had Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Carlotta Berry spending time inspiring positive change within the Black in Engineering community, encouraging more diversity in robotics education and earning the esteemed Lawrence J. Giacoletto Endowed Faculty Chair for her commitment to excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Berry added to that impressive list of achievements on April 22, receiving the TechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award during TechPoint’s Mira Awards gala event honoring Indiana’s best of tech.

“We’re proud to see Dr. Berry getting much-deserved recognition for being a longtime leader in STEM education, especially in getting youths interested in engineering through robotics,” said Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons, a former TechPoint board member. “Her passion for teaching and enthusiasm for helping others are contagious as an educator, mentor, academic adviser, and faculty colleague.”

The Bridge Builder Award recognizes visionary leaders who are helping underserved student populations in Indiana gain access to experiential learning opportunities that inspire the pursuit of careers in STEM.

“Dr. Berry is a highly regarded, internationally-known engineering and robotics expert who is a vocal and relentless STEM education advocate, especially for underrepresented students like she was entering college in the late 1980s,” stated TechPoint in announcing this year’s Bridge Builder Award.

George Giltner, president and CEO of TechPoint Foundation for Youth, says, “Carlotta has been an advocate and provider of STEM education for students for over a decade, helping bring competitive robotics to the forefront of education and helping support students who are typically not represented in STEM fields. She has been a valuable partner of the Foundation and we are honored to recognize her efforts in the STEM community at the 2021 Mira Awards gala.”

Berry co-founded Rose-Hulman’s Building Undergraduate Diversity (RoseBUD) program, encouraging students from underrepresented groups toward STEM careers; helped student scholars organize an annual SPARK! campus event that has high school and college students working on hands-on projects; and has been a volunteer and judge for FIRST Robotics competitions throughout Indiana.

Those efforts have led has brought Berry recognition among Women in Robotics’ 30 Women in Robotics You Need to Know About – 2020, one of INSIGHT Into Diversity’s Inspiring Women in STEM, a Leading Light Award from Indianapolis’ Women & Hi Tech organization, and FIRST Indiana Robotics’ 2020 Gamechanger Award. A profile about her featured in Reinvented magazine was named the publication’s top story of 2020.

Berry says, “I became an engineering professor 20 years ago while sitting in class and realizing that I had never had a professor who looked like me, acted like me, or even seemed interested in me. I wanted to change the face of engineering by showing that the profession could be cool, interesting, exciting, engaging, and, most importantly, diverse.”

A member of the Rose-Hulman’s faculty since 2006, Berry has taught courses from mobile robotics to human-robot interaction to electrical engineering design. She also is an adviser for the National Society of Black Engineers and a past president of the technical editorial board for the American Society of Engineering Education’s Computers in Education professional journal.

Learn more about Berry in her Rose-Hulman profile.