Malgorzata “Margaret” Marek Sturgill, BSCS 1989
Inducted in 2021
Malgorzata “Margaret” Marek Sturgill is the daughter of University of Kentucky emeritus professor of computer science Victor Marek; however, her interest in computers arrived independently of her father’s profession. While the Marek family was spending a year in Venezuela, a school-wide strike left 15-year-old Margaret with nearly nothing to do. While at her father’s office, she noticed a computer that was ignored by everyone. Her father handed Margaret manuals for the machine, and she took to it instantly and never looked back.
During her first year at the University of Kentucky, Sturgill informed professor Ken Kubota, then in charge of computing facilities for Math Sciences, that she wanted to work as the department’s systems administrator. He promptly handed Sturgill a thin book on C programming, told her to learn it and complete a project for him. Because Sturgill knew three computer languages before she arrived at UK, she satisfied his requirements and earned the job. Sturgill spent three years as systems administrator, where she enjoyed the access to computer equipment, particularly computer games.
In addition to earning her bachelor’s degree in computer science, Sturgill also received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UK. Shortly after graduating, she began a doctoral program in computer science at the University of Utah, from which she received her Ph.D. in 1997.
Sturgill joined HP as a product engineer after finishing her Ph.D. In 1998, she left to become chief operations officer of Ataman Software Inc., which had been founded by her husband, Brian (BSCS ’87, MSCS ’89). In 2007, she rejoined HP Labs, first as a visiting scholar and later as a research engineer. She worked on several company-wide projects involving software architecture in anti-counterfeiting, machine learning and cloud systems. While at HP, Sturgill has received 32 patents for her work and contributed to 25 peer-reviewed papers.
In 2020, Sturgill became a systems architect at HP’s Transformation Office. Earlier this year, she took a role as senior systems architect PS Software Data Science group in HP’s Personal Systems division, which produces the company’s home computers and workstations.
Sturgill serves on the advisory committee for the Poudre School District’s computer science advisory board as well as the Front Range Community College computer advisory board. She volunteers at a variety of STEM-related programs, including Harmony Tech Camp, Hour of Code and CodeWars. She has also performed volunteer service for WISH (Women Investing in Strategies for Health) and a charitable prosthesis group for breast cancer survivors and patients. Sturgill is a long-term program committee member of the Association for Computing Machinery Symposium on Document Engineering.
Sturgill and her husband live in Fort Collins, Colorado, and have one daughter.