Beth Trushkowsky is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College. Her current research interests focus on investigating using crowdsourcing within query processing systems such as a database management system to broaden the scope of questions users can ask about data. Trushkowsky has also worked on scalable database systems and cloud computing. She received her BS degree in Computer Science from Duke University and her MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science from UC Berkeley.
With groups creating programs to encourage females to consider STEM, what is the biggest barrier to entry that is still prevalent today?
A big challenge we have today is cultivating environments in which everyone can succeed, regardless of their gender, race, and/or other aspects of their identity. Even if programs succeed in piquing the interest of people traditionally underrepresented in STEM, the programs' impact is undermined if people's experiences pursuing that interest in school or work are hostile and unsupportive.
What or who inspires you?
I draw a lot of inspiration from my friends and colleagues in computer science, particularly those in my cohort or who are slightly more senior than me. Hearing about their incredible work and celebrating their accomplishments inspires me to keep working hard on my own goals. I also value them as mentors who are or have recently been in my shoes.
What is your proudest moment/accomplishment?
Recently I gave a talk to a group of high school women about my experience being multiracial and a woman in STEM. Several students came up to me after the talk to say that they appreciated hearing about my experiences and could relate to the identity issues that I discussed. I was glad that I was able to show by example the breadth of what a computer scientist can look like while also commiserating with the students about the impact of the lack of diversity in STEM.