Because of Them
Clockwise from top left: Dr. Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein, Dr. Magaly Spector, Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth and Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham.
At UT Dallas, the stories of women who have shaped the University are numerous and rich.
Whether in a laboratory or a classroom, the accomplishments of women over the past 50 years here — from scientific breakthroughs to personal triumphs — have blazed a bright trail for others to follow.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we highlight a handful of the many pioneers who — through their perseverance, tenacity and talent — have left their indelible mark on UT Dallas, their students, the greater community and the world.
Dr. Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein
You may know her name because of the Galerstein Gender Center on campus. But did you know that Dr. Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein was UT Dallas’ first female dean?
Galerstein oversaw the School of General Studies, now the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, from 1975 to 1987. She paved the way for more women to enter or return to college by creating a program called “Maturity College” at UT Dallas, offering more evening classes and creating a welcoming environment.
“I really strongly believe that you can’t have too much education,” Galerstein once told a newspaper reporter.
Galerstein taught Spanish and comparative literature and also served as the first chairperson of the City of Dallas’ Commission on the Status of Women.
The Galerstein Gender Center is named in her honor and the Carolyn Galerstein Endowed Scholarship supports undergraduate students in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.
Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth
Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth has dedicated much of her career to helping ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten.
Ozsváth, the Leah and Paul Lewis Chair of Holocaust Studies, is founder and director of the Holocaust Studies Program and has written extensively about Holocaust literature and the Holocaust in Hungary.
As a Jewish child growing up in Hungary, Ozsváth and her family survived the Holocaust thanks largely to her family’s Christian nanny who provided food and support and safe houses to help them escape. She recounted her experiences growing up under the threat of the Holocaust in a 2010 memoir, When the Danube Ran Red.
Last year, Ozsváth told The Dallas Morning News that she teaches about the Holocaust “not just because of her experiences, but because it focuses on morality and ethics as no other event of recent history can.”
Ozsváth also has introduced audiences to the literature of Hungary by translating many poems and short stories from Hungarian and German into English. The beloved professor has taught at UT Dallas since 1983.
Dr. Magaly Spector
One of UT Dallas’ greatest champions of diversity and gender equity has been Dr. Magaly Spector.
Spector launched the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, serving as its first vice president from 2008 to 2014. She founded the Diversity Lecture Series, the Diversity Scholarship Program, the Faculty Mentoring Program, the Diversity Awards Gala and numerous other initiatives.
Among her numerous awards is a 2017 Tech Titans Award for her work with the Young Women in Science and Engineering (YWISE) Investigators program, which she founded in 2012 to encourage young women from underprivileged backgrounds to explore STEM careers.
“A major goal of my life has been to increase and enhance the educational opportunities of college students pursuing careers in science and engineering, and in particular underrepresented minorities and women,” Spector said when she arrived at the University in 2008. “I strongly believe that the diversity of our people is a source of innovation and competitive advantage.”
Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham
You may not know her name, but Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham has probably helped protect your cyber life.
A professor of computer science at The University of Texas at Dallas and one of the world’s leading experts in data security and data mining, Thuraisingham is well-known for protecting billions of pieces of data while finding proactive ways to prevent potential threats.
Thuraisingham was among the first in the nation to discuss privacy violations and data mining. At UT Dallas, she and her research team have pioneered new ways to detect threats and laid the framework for secure information-sharing using cloud services.
An advocate of women in technology, Thuraisingham has been described as the woman behind the growth of UTD’s cybersecurity program.
“Given the opportunity, women can excel in any subject,” said Thuraisingham, the Louis A. Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Professor and executive director of the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute. “I have taught high school students in the past and noted that motivated girls are equally as good as motivated boys in mathematics and computer science.”
Thuraisingham co-chaired the Women in CyberSecurity Conference in 2016 and received the Dallas Business Journal 2017 Women in Technology Award. She joined UTD in 2004 after 24 years in industry, government and academia.