Dr. Ferrara Received 2019 AWIS Judith Pool Award

May 1, 2019

The Association for Women in Science (AWIS), founded in 1971, is the leading organization that advocates on behalf of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. AWIS has helped guide Congress, the United Nations, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, institutions and other professional organizations on decisions and best practices to achieve gender diversity and positive system transformation in STEM.

AWIS is a grassroots network with chapters in all 50 states. In the Bay Area, there are AWIS chapters in Monterey Bay, Sacramento Valley, East Bay, San Francisco and Palo Alto.

Judith Pool, PhD was the founder of National AWIS in 1971 and served as the first co-President. She was also the founder and first chairwoman of the Professional Women of Stanford Medical School. Dr Pool was an exceptional research scientist with international recognition for her contributions in hematology (blood coagulation) and physiology (membrane potential of single cells). Dr. Pool was promoted to full Professor in 1972, one of the first two women to attain this rank at Stanford Medical School. In addition to her significant contributions to science and women in science, Judith Pool was married and raised three children. She died of brain cancer in 1975 at the age of 56.

Dr Katherine Ferrara, Ph.D. – 2019 recipient of the Judith Pool Award

Dr. Katherine Ferrara joined the Department of Radiology at Stanford University in 2018. Before coming to Stanford, Professor Ferrara spent years building and shaping the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of California, Davis into a highly successful program. Dr. Ferrara was recruited to UC Davis to found the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and she served a five-year term as the department’s first chair, from 2000 to ’05.  Prior to UC Davis, Dr. Ferrara held appointments at the University of Virginia and New York’s Cornell Medical College, while maintaining an associate professorship at Sacramento State. Her engineering BS and MS degrees in EE are from Sacramento State and her PhD in Electrical Engineering is from UC Davis. Prior to her engineering career, she received a BS and certification as a physical therapist and worked as a pediatric physical therapist.

Dr. Ferrara’s current research is focused on cancer diagnosis and "image-guided drug delivery," a form of individualized therapy where imaging methods are used to guide and monitor the localized, targeted delivery of cancer therapeutics. She received the IEEE Achievement Award in 2012 for her work in ultrasonics. In 2014, Dr Ferrara was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for her contributions to the theory and applications of biomedical ultrasound technology. Professor Ferrara became IEEE Distinguished Lecturer in 2017, and received the inaugural Leadership in Molecular Imaging Award in 2018.

In 2011, Professor Katherine Ferrara was presented with an Outstanding Mentor Award from the Consortium for Women and Research at UC Davis. The award honors faculty members who have engaged in sustained and successful mentoring of women at the university. Dr Ferrara was nominated by students and faculty peers, many of whom wrote lengthy and quite moving letters of support.

In support of her nomination for the 2019 Judith Pool Award, graduate students and postdocs gave examples of Kathy’s mentoring philosophy and style. They called out her efforts to send them to conferences, taking the time to personally introduce them to scientific leaders, recommend them for awards. Her ability to foster independence, and strongly advocate for work-life balance made her an exceptional and inspiring mentor.

Congratulations, Dr. Ferrera!