In 2015, Dr. Meera Blattner-Kamegai received the Outstanding Service Award from Brandeis National Committee.
KIHEI, HI, October 10, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Meera Blattner-Kamegai, PhD, with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Blattner-Kamegai celebrates many years' experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Dr. Blattner-Kamegai is a computer scientist and educator. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 14, 1930. Her father was William Duncan McCuaig and her mother was Nina Spertus Klevs. Her childhood passion was for art, and she attended the Art Institute of Chicago art school classes for children throughout her early years. She attended the University of Chicago, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Ph.B.) in 1952. During her undergraduate years, she developed an interest in mathematics. In 1950, while still a student, she married George Backus, an astrophycist. The marriage was brief and after graduation she had to make a decision to continue in mathematics or in art. She entered the Art Institute of Chicago School of Art but felt that she was not receiving the education in art she desired and she continued to study with Chicago artist Rudolph Weisenborn. Despite her focus on art, she realized that mathematics was actually her primary interest. So she returned to the University of Chicago to work on her M.S. in Mathematics. To pay for her expenses, she worked as a part-time lab assistant for Professor Enrico Fermi, the Noble Prize-winning physicist, and co-authored a paper in physics with J. Lord and M. Schein.
In 1956, Dr. Blattner-Kamegai married Robert James Blattner, who was completing his Ph.D. in mathematics and had just accepted a faculty position at the University of California, Los Angeles. While living in Los Angeles, she took a job writing a chrystallographic program for Professor K.N. Trueblood in order to stay home with her young children, Douglas, Robert, and William. While working with Dr. Trueblood, she co-authored a paper on chrystallographic computer programs. She decided to continue her education and completed an M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Southern California in 1966. Then she entered the new computer science program at the University of California, Los Angeles, and working under the direction of Professor Sheila Greibach completed her Ph.D. in 1973.
From 1973 to 1974, Dr. Blattner-Kamegai was a research fellow at Harvard University, and went on to become an assistant professor at Rice University in 1974. Her research work in those early years was in the area of theoretical computer science with her publications in the area of Formal Languages and Automata. During this time, she collaborated largely with S. Ginsburg, T. Head and M. Latteux. In 1979 to 1980, she served a year at the National Science Foundation as Program Director of Theoretical Computer Science. She then accepted an offer as an associate professor in the Department of Applied Science in the University of California, Davis (at that time based in Livermore). Dr. Blattner-Kamegai was the first tenured woman in the Davis School of Engineering and became a full professor in 1991. She married Dr. Minao Kamegai, a senior research physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1985 in a Shinto wedding and became a stepmother to his daughters, Stephanie and Sharon.
After Dr. Blattner-Kamegai joined the Davis faculty, she changed her area of research to multimedia user interfaces. She and her students became known for their work in the area of audio in the computer interface, developing "earcons," the sound equivalent of icons. The seminal paper in this area was "Earcons and Icons: Their Structure and Common Design Principles," by M. M. Blattner, D.A. Sumikawa, and R. M. Greenberg, published in Human-Computer Interaction in 1989. There were many uses for audio in the interface for those with disabilities and sound as another source of communication in scientific applications. Much of Dr. Blattner-Kamegai's research at this time was done with E. P. Glinert. In 1992, she and Roger Dannenberg co-edited a book, Multimedia Computer Interfaces, published by the ACM Press and Addison-Wesley. The book was translated into Chinese and published in China in 1994.
Dr. Blattner-Kamegai was the Chair of the Computer Science Program in Livermore from 1989 to 1994. She started the distance learning computer science program in her department, and she developed and started new courses in multimedia, including artificial intelligence. She chaired committees of many graduate students, both doctoral and masters.
Dr. Blattner Kamegai received many honors and awards. She received funding from the National Science Foundation and multiple other sources. She visited other universities and research centers, including the University of Paris in 1980 and Tsukuba Science City in Japan in 1988 where she and her husband were foreign researchers. She was an Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Hospital from 1977 to 2000. She chaired a number of international conferences for the Association for Computing Machinery and the IEEE Computer Society, as well as other conferences, and she served on the editorial boards of multiple journals. She was active in the Society of Women Engineers, both as a vice-president and a faculty advisor. She was a frequent contributor to professional journals and in demand as a speaker.
When Dr. Blattner-Kamegai retired in 2000 as Professor Emerita, she and her husband moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to be near her oldest son, Douglas Blattner, and his family. She started several companies, Color Wheel Creations and Digital Touch Media, to continue her interest in multimedia user interfaces. During this time, she became interested in renewing her Jewish faith and became president of Temple Beth Am in 2006. One of her most satisfying achievements was to facilitate the transformation of the foundering Temple Beth Am into the new Temple Sinai in 2007. She was a Bat Mitzvah shortly thereafter and continued her Jewish studies throughout the time she remained in Las Vegas. She then turned her attention to Brandeis National Committee, an organization committed to providing philanthropic support to Brandeis University because of their commitment to academic excellence, social justice, social diversity, and service to the community. She was president of the Las Vegas Chapter for three years and then served on the national committee for two years. In 2015, she received the Outstanding Service Award from Brandeis National Committee. She was active in other organizations as well. She is committed to animal welfare and contributes to numerous animal welfare organizations.
After 19 years of retirement in Las Vegas, Dr. Blattner-Kamegai and Dr. Minao Kamegai desired to make a change of lifestyle. Dr. Kamegai had been an undergraduate at the University of Hawaii, and he has fond memories of Hawaii. In 2019, they moved to Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. They have 10 grandchildren who have now grown up and lead busy lives of their own.
In recognition of outstanding contributions to her profession and the Marquis Who's Who community, Dr. Blattner-Kamegai has been featured on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website. Please visit www.ltachievers.com for more information about this honor.
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