INI Director Receives Barbara Lazarus Professorship in Information Networking

March 27, 2017

By Jessica Corry, Carnegie Mellon University / 412-268-4829 /

Dena Haritos Tsamitis, director of the Information Networking Institute, is the first recipient of the newly established Barbara Lazarus Professorship in Information Networking.

Carnegie Mellon created the professorship to celebrate the legacy of Barbara Lazarus, associate provost for academic affairs, teacher, scholar and beloved member of the Carnegie Mellon community from 1985 to 2003. A nationally and internationally known scholar and activist, Barbara worked tirelessly for the equity of women in the workplace, and the well-being and flourishing of graduate students and junior faculty at the university.

With over a decade of work fostering diversity at the INI, including the founding of Women@INI in 2005, Dena exemplifies Barbara's commitment to promoting equality and inclusion. 

"I believe in the importance of creating a nurturing and inspiring environment that promotes and celebrates gender and cultural equality, both within and beyond the INI," said Tsamitis. "Barbara Lazarus was an early champion of the belief that culture matters. I am inspired by her example and honored to receive this professorship in her name."

In fact, this is the second time Tsamitis has received a recognition honoring Lazarus' legacy. In 2012, Tsamitis received the university's Barbara Lazarus Award for Graduate Student and Junior Faculty Mentoring for her work with women and underrepresented minorities and her commitment to creating a culture that supports all.

In celebration of the professorship, the INI offered two public events on Friday, April 21 embodying the spirit of diversity and inclusion for which Tsamitis is known. Valerie Plame, ex-CIA operative and best-selling author, discussed her experiences as a woman in the intelligence field followed by a panel discussion with industry and higher education thought leaders about the challenges and benefits of cultivating inclusion in STEM fields.

About Dena Haritos Tsamitis

Tsamitis has led the INI as director since 2004. Her efforts have prepared the next generation of information networking, security and mobility professionals. She joined the university in 2000, serving first as the INI's associate director in 2002 before assuming the role of director in 2004.

Under her direction, the INI has spanned globally to offer programs in Greece, Portugal and Japan and has led the innovative design of bicoastal programs offered at the Silicon Valley campus. As the INI's associate director from 2002-2004, Dena established a master's program in Athens that was the first Carnegie Mellon degree to be earned at a global location. Her research on transnational university partnership programs has influenced the framework and delivery of numerous degree programs offered through innovative delivery models.

Under her leadership, Carnegie Mellon earned three distinct cybersecurity designations from federal agencies as a National Center of Academic Excellence for its merits in information assurance and cyber defense, research and cyber operations. Dena is the principal investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service (SFS) program and has been awarded approximately $23M in federal scholarships for students who have gone on to serve the nation. She is also a founding director of Carnegie Mellon CyLab, for which she spearheaded efforts in cybersecurity education, training and outreach.

Currently, Dena serves on the EWF Board of Advisors, the American College of Greece Board of Trustees, and the Norfolk State University Information Assurance Research, Education and Development Institute Advisory Board. Carnegie Mellon honored Dena with the 2012 Barbara Lazarus Award for Graduate Student and Junior Faculty Mentoring. She also received the 2008 Women of Influence Award, presented by Alta Associates and CSO Magazine.

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