Dena Haritos Tsamitis has led the College of Engineering's Information Networking Institute (INI) as director since 2004. Her efforts have prepared the next generation of information networking, security and mobility professionals at Carnegie Mellon University. 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.
A student advocate and mentor of women in technology, Dena is passionate about increasing diversity in STEM fields. In 2005, she co-founded the student organization, Women@INI (WINI), to address the unique challenges faced by women in the male-dominated field of engineering. To extend WINI’s influence beyond the INI, she established a partnership with the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) on Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy. In addition to providing scholarship funds, the partnership offers invaluable networking and mentorship opportunities to develop women leaders in information security and privacy. Dena’s efforts have impacted INI students and alumni alike; in 2008, she established Graduate Organization@INI (GOINI) and in 2010, the INI Alumni Leadership Council.
Dena led efforts in Carnegie Mellon attaining three distinct federal designations as a National Center of Academic Excellence for its merits in information assurance and cyber defense (CAE-IA/CD), research (CAE-R) and cyber operations (CAE-Cyber Ops). Through these efforts, Dena is the principal investigator on the National Science Foundation (NSF) CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service (SFS) and the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP), and has been awarded approximately $23M in federal scholarships under these programs for students who serve our nation. She was also the principal investigator on the NSF Information Assurance Capacity Building Program (IACBP). The IACBP was an intensive summer program to help build information assurance education and research capacity at minority-serving colleges and universities. More than 81 faculty from 39 HBCUs and HSIs benefitted from this program.
Dena is a founding director of Carnegie Mellon CyLab, for which she spearheaded efforts in cybersecurity education, training and outreach. She established the MySecureCyberspace initiative to raise "cyberawareness" in Internet users of all ages through a portal, game and curriculum. Since its launch in 2005, the initiative reached over one million people in 167 countries, including more than 48K users in 30 countries of the Carnegie Cyber Academy and Game.
Dena has served on a number of college and university-wide committees, including Carnegie Mellon’s strategic planning committee for the previous three strategic plan cycles. She currently cochairs the College of Engineering Global Campus committee. As a guest speaker, Dena has presented on the topics of cybersecurity and transnational university partnerships at numerous events and conferences. Dena has also served on several advisory councils, including the Education Advisory Council for the U.S. Air Force's Cyber Innovation Center and the Advisory Board for the Master of Software Assurance Curriculum, and was a founding member of the Advisory Board for the Executive Doctorate at University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. 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.
For her achievements in information security and education, Dena received the 2008 Women of Influence Award, presented by Alta Associates and CSO Magazine. Carnegie Mellon honored Dena with the 2012 Barbara Lazarus Award for Graduate Student and Junior Faculty Mentoring in recognition of her leadership promoting equality and inclusion and her long-standing commitment to mentoring graduate students and faculty. In 2017, Dena was named as the first recipient of the Barbara Lazarus Professorship in Information Networking at Carnegie Mellon University.