University alumna and technology CEO Michelle Munson to share her story with campus, community May 8-9
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
MANHATTAN — Kansas State University alumna Michelle Munson is returning to her alma mater and native state to trace the journey that began on her family's farm near Junction City and led her to become a computer industry entrepreneur.
Munson will present "A Decade of Aspera: my story of creating a new technology company and what (if anything) mattered about being a woman" for the Women's Studies Advisory Board's annual lecture Thursday, May 8, in the Landon Room at the Holiday Inn at the Campus, 1641 Anderson Ave., Manhattan.
The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour, followed by dinner, the lecture and recognition of this year's winner of the Founders' Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Women's Studies, Adena Weiser, senior in women's studies, Manhattan. Tickets are available for the dinner and lecture for $45 by contacting Kim Garver at 785-532-5738 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Munson's talk will be of interest to all audiences, including those without an engineering and science background, and campus and community members are invited to attend, according to Angela Huber, associate professor of women's studies.
Munson's entrepreneurship began in her senior year at Kansas State University when she started a company to provide a rural community with Internet service. She graduated in 1996 with degrees in electrical engineering and physics. She was a Goldwater scholar for achievement in science and mathematics, and later a Fulbright scholar at Cambridge University where she received a postgraduate diploma in computer science.
Munson, who now lives in Berkeley, Calif., is president and CEO of Aspera, where she and co-founder Serban Simu developed Aspera's trademarked fasp transport technology which is widely used by iTunes, BBC, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Hollywood film companies to move large video files hundreds of times faster than other methods. Earlier this year, the technology won an Engineering Emmy for transforming the digital media industry. Before founding Aspera in 2004, Munson was a software engineer in research and startup companies, including the IBM Almaden Research center.
Munson also will speak on campus at 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 9, in Town Hall at the Leadership Studies Building. Her presentation is free and open to the public.
Munson's visit to the university is sponsored by the Women's Studies Advisory Board, which is composed of alumnae and local business, government, academic and community leaders. The board was founded by Julie Hostetler in 2009 to support the mission of the women's studies department. In spring 2011, after a successful fundraising campaign, the board awarded the first Founder's Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Women's Studies. The board also established the Women's Studies Advisory Board Lecture Series to bring distinguished speakers to the university who will educate students and community members about women's achievements, issues and the benefits of women's studies. Munson is the fifth speaker in the lecture series.