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CAM Featured Alumna: Lilian Wu

Class of 1974 (Advisor: Louis Billera)
Program Executive, IBM Global University Programs

IBM Career:

  • Program Executive, IBM Global University Programs (2002 – Present)
  • Consultant, Technology Strategy Development, IBM Corporate (1999 – 2002)
  • Researcher, Mathematical Sciences, IBM Research (1975 – 1999)


External Boards and Committees::

  • Member of university boards of the New School in New York City and the KECK Graduate Institute for Applied Life Sciences, a Claremont College. Former board member of Fordham University and the President’s Council of Olin College in Massachusetts
  • Member of non-profit boards of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Public Agenda and Tufts Medical Center’s Quality of Care Committee.
  • NSF Advisory Committee Member of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. Former NSF Advisory Committee member of the Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering, Engineering Directorate, and Committee on international Science and Engineering
  • Member of President Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and former member of DOE’s Secretary of Energy's Laboratory Operations Advisory Board and AAAS's Committee on Public Understanding of Science and Technology
  • Chair (Emeritus) of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Institute of Medicine’s National Research Council Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine

I have always found the real world, its organizations and people, complex and intriguing. Throughout my career in industry, the problems I have worked on have been interesting and challenging with answers from applying a wide range of mathematics.

There is a common image of what it is like to work in industry -- little room for creative thinking or thinking for oneself and instead it is a world that is boring and little room for creativity. On the contrary, I found the IT industry with its rapid change has never been dull. I have worked on rethinking how to forecast and plan the number of personal computers to manufacture as their viable lifespan shortened, pricing electricity contracts when the utility industry deregulated, invest and managing portfolios of research projects.

I have also found that balancing my work with service to my communities by serving on NSF and National Academy committees as well as university and non-profit boards have been a great source of satisfaction.

CAM was a wonderful open place for me. During my time at CAM I learned to be open, to find interesting problems in the world around me and to learn how far ranging mathematics can be. CAM prepared me well for my life after CAM.

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