Skip to main content
Department of Computer Science

Karen Panetta

Secondary Appointment
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dean of Graduate Education, School of Engineering

Professor Karen Panetta

Karen Panetta

Secondary Appointment
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dean of Graduate Education, School of Engineering

Phone 617-627-5976
Halligan Hall, Room 236
161 College Avenue, Medford, MA
image and signal processing for security and medical applications, modeling and simulation, multimedia

Karen Panetta received a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University. As the first female electrical engineer to be given tenure in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, Panetta continues to promote the interests of women in her field. From 2007 to 2009, she was the worldwide director for IEEE Women in Engineering, the largest international professional organization dedicated to promoting women engineers and scientists, and she served as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Women in Engineering magazine. She is the faculty adviser to the Tufts student chapters of both the Society of Women Engineers and the IEEE, and is founder of the nationally acclaimed Nerd Girls program, which promotes engineering disciplines to young students. She is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and was awarded the 2013 IEEE Award for Distinguished Ethical Practices for exemplary contributions and leadership in developing ethics and social responsibility in students. She has received several NASA and National Science Foundation research grants, including the NSF CAREER Award. In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Panetta the Presidential Award for Science and Engineering Education and Mentoring.

Ph.D., Northeastern University
M.S., Northeastern University
B.S., Boston University
Professional Experience: 

Dean of Graduate Education, Tufts School of Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Tufts School of Engineering

  • 2009-present: Professor
  • 2001-2009: Associate Professor
  • 1995-2001: Assistant Professor

Design Consultant, MACOM/Tyco Electronics


Chief Research Scientist, BA Logix, Inc.


Consultant, General Scanning


Digital Equipment Corporation

  • 1991-1992: Principal Software Engineer
  • 1989-1991: Fault Simulation Project Leader
  • 1987-1989: Senior Software Engineer
  • 1985-1987: Diagnostic Engineer



Information Research Analyst, Gillette Company

Research Interests: 

Karen Panetta's research focuses on developing efficient algorithms for simulation, modeling, and signal and image processing for security and biomedical applications.

Selected Honors and Awards: 
  • 2013: Award for Distinguished Ethical Practices, IEEE
  • 2011: Presidential Award for Science and Engineering Education and Mentoring, National Science Foundation
  • 2011: Women of Vision Award for Social Impact, Anita Borg Institute
  • 2010: Major Educational Innovation Award, IEEE
  • 2010: Grand Award for Publication Excellence (for Nerd Girls video), Apex
  • 2010: Norm Augustine Award, National Academies of Engineering and Science
  • 2008: Named Fellow, IEEE
  • 1997: CAREER Award, National Science Foundation
Selected Professional Activities: 
Co-founder of the first Tufts School of Engineering start-up, BA Logix, Inc., based on Panetta's intellectual property
Tufts chapter faculty advisor, IEEE
Tufts chapter faculty co-advisor, Society of Women Engineers
Professional Memberships: 
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Society of Women Engineers
Association for Computing Machinery
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Society for Engineering Education
Teaching/Courses Taught: 
Microprocessor design
Digital logic and analog circuits
Digital system testing
Computer animation

Related Links